Tag Archives: christmas

Chop your own Christmas tree


During December, especially during the weekend, you will see a lot of cars driving around with Christmas trees either on their roof or in trailers (or even in the car!). This to me is one of the ways that the arrival of Christmas in Denmark is marked, especially since in Malta we typically made do with plastic Christmas trees (and garish lighting…according to Michael!).

Since moving to Denmark I have made sure that we have a Christmas tree every year, even in the years we were not to spend Christmas in our own house. Previously we bought a ready-cut tree. However, since we now have our very own house we decided to ‘upgrade’ to a tree we chose and chopped down ourselves.

Where to chop down your own Christmas tree

Chopping down your own Christmas tree is called ‘Fæld selv’ in Danish. Driving around the countryside you will often find signs during late November/December pointing the way to places where you can do this. If you receive ‘Sonderborg Ugeavis‘ you can also find a page of adverts on one of the pages (on pg. 9 this week, but for some reason this page is missing on the online version). Otherwise, in general, most places are located on Kær, near Augustenborg, near Nordborg, in Syd Als and Vester Sottrup.

The Experience

We opted to go and look for our tree on Kær, since this was the closest to us. We borrowed a trailer from our lovely neighbour (an upgrade from putting the tree inside the car as we have previously done, and contending with tree needles all year round) and off we drove till we found a place close to the airport. We parked our car and walked to the Christmas tree field.

Christmas Tree Sønderborg

Once you arrive at the field you then have free reign to walk over the place till you identify the perfect tree for you. Everyone will have their own preferences…wide at the bottom, full on top, 2m high, 1 m wide or whatnot. We saw a perfect tree as soon as we walked in, but thought we’d look a bit further. Nevertheless, we returned to the first tree we saw!

And the tree is cut

Once you identify the perfect tree you can then pick up a saw and go at the tree trunk till the tree is free. You then drag it over to the field entrance, where the owner is there ready to take your money (200 DKK in this case) and also put your tree in a net to make it easier to carry. At the place we visited we also could get some cake and a tractor was there ready to carry you back to the car.

Christmas Tree Als

The result? A Christmas tree in our front room, all ready to be decorated, receive presents, and to be danced around in the coming days!

Rock and Roll Christmas from the tax minister

It is not everyday we see a Danish minister of government bring out the rock and roll guitar. But the current minister of tax, Benny Engelbrecht, loves to sing so he decided to create a Christmas greeting in the form of a music video with his hobby band “Benny and the True Taxmen”.

Benny Engelbrecht is from Adsbøl outside Gråsten and has played music for many years. After becoming minister he has also jumped on the stage, most recently in Gråsten at the Apple Festival.

Christmas Inspiration at Frøken Fin

Danes love Christmas. As November starts progressing you will start seeing small decorations popping up here and there in people’s homes. A lot of these decorations, especially decorations connected to the Advent wreath, often come decorated in items from nature, such as moss, branches and pine cones.

Making such items are not a tradition from where I come, not least because we don’t have forests from where to go and pick up most of the ‘nature’ elements used to decorate most of them. Since I moved to Denmark I have made one with Michael’s mother every year, but then I typically just feel overwhelmed in the process, not least because I don’t know the dos and don’ts that the Danes seem to know instinctively. Therefore, besides that once a year, I mainly admire them from afar.

Most Danes seem to learn how to do such items as kids by doing with their parents. However, there are always new things coming out, so through colleagues I have discovered ‘Christmas Inspiration’ evenings at one of Sonderborg’s florists/home decor stores: Frøken Fin. I went to the first day of inspiration evenings with my colleagues to check what this is all about.

The evening consisted of around 45 minutes of being shown different ways of combining different bases (glass, copper, zinc), nature objects (pine cones, moss, branches) and decorative items (lights, ribbons, candles) to make pretty objects to decorate your house with over the winter and Christmas period. Following the demonstration there was then glogg and biscuits and we could walk around the shop and buy stuff (if we wanted to).

Christmas in Sonderborg

I must admit that even though they must have kept it simple the basics were not covered (e.g. Where do you get the moss from? Candle safety? Keeping the arrangements looking fresh), but this was an inspiration evening after all not a course. Also, talking to my colleagues it seems like the answers to all these questions are instinctively known by them, so maybe I was the only one slightly lost (the event being in Danish probably didn’t help either).

Nevertheless, a very pleasant evening being exposed to a way of decorating your house that is quite Danish (at least from a Southern European point of view). If you are interested in joining there are more events coming up during November:

  • Monday 10. Nov at 18.00 and 20:00
  • Wednesday 12. Nov at 18.00 and 20:00
  • Thursday 13. Nov at 18.00 and 20:00

If you want to join just call the shop on 7442 2225 or visit the shop itself on Ringgade, The event is free and up to 20 individuals are allowed each time. It made for a very pleasant evenings, especially as there was no hard sell to buy items in the shop. So if that is something that worries you, don’t need to worry. But do take some money with you, as you will probably be inspired to buy something!


Get creative at Sonderborghus

Sonderborghus is one of the main music venues in Sonderborg, hosting a variety of well-known and lesser known Danish and international acts. We have, in fact, already mentioned them on our 99 things to do list for both jazz and rock. However, Sonderborghus offers more than just music, as I came to discover on a ‘girls night out’ with colleagues recently.

What had been a hidden secret to me until very recently is the workshops in the basement of Sonderborghus. There you can get your hands dirty with some glass work (above), pottery or even multi-material creative projects. The amazing thing is that, besides the regular courses on offer, you can also just go down on your own and work at your own pace on your own projects, while getting access to the materials you need for a minor outlay, as well as cheerful guidance from the staff.

This being before Christmas the plan of action was to populate our Christmas tree by making porcelain decorations. This is the first time Michael and I will have a Christmas tree at home which means that I had loads of work to do. With the guidance of two of my colleagues, who had already been on courses there, it was more than easy to do. We could buy the porcelain clay there (50DKK/1kg: this covered all costs, including firing of the porcelain in the kiln, shown below), we had access to a variety of shapes for making decorations, and we also had access to all the tools we needed to make our decorations.


In total I used around 500g of porcelain (25 DKK) and made around 50 different items for our Christmas tree, some of which you can see below. Needless to say, our Christmas tree is well populated now! It is good to note that the items are not typically fired on the same day, but we were asked to go pick them up around one week later. So do keep this in mind if you want the items for a specific event.


Other than that, the workshops is open on Tuesday and Wednesday 10-22, Thursday 13-18 and Friday 10-15. Do confirm opening hours at the Sonderborghus website, since these may change, or other events may be going on. Other than that – go ahead and enjoy yourselves. Perfect for a family outing or evening out with friends.

Enjoy the Atmosphere at Krusmoelle

Once upon a time, farmers in the area were forced to make use of the services offered at Krusmoelle by the law of the land. Nowadays there is no such law, but judging by the amount of people there on a Sunday morning in mid-November, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference!

Krusmoelle, now owned by Nina and Henrik Loff, was once in the ownership of dukes in the region, and also the King! The mill, unfortunately, lost its function between the two world wars as farmers started to mill their own products. This lead to the situation we have today where the buildings are used by the owners for a variety of purposes.

Camera Roll-917

Every year over 30,000 guests visit the mill, either to browse through the lifestyle shop, eat in the cafe, or try their hands in the creative and craft workshops based in the buildings. A highlight in the event calendar since the very beginning 26 years ago has been the Christmas market in November and December. Loving Christmas and all that goes with it as I do, this was a perfect introduction to the mill!

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The Christmas market offers visitors an opportunity to buy a very wide selection of Christmas decorations and winter/related items. As expected, there are numerous angels, stars, nisser (elves) and (this being Denmark) candle-related items, as well as items such as house shoes and soft furnishings. A new highlight from this year is the ‘Culinary Christmas’ section of the exhibit where you can feast your eyes on as much Christmas related food as possible (as well as get a taste of a few selections).

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This was the perfect introduction to Christmas for me. I can see myself returning year after year even if only to take in the atmosphere and gaze on all the items I wish I could buy but know I could not feasibly fit into our apartment! You can visit every day from 10am to 6pm during the Christmas season.

Read more on their website.

Paper boxes

Papirmuseets By in Grasten #13/99

Papirmuseets By, or Paper Museum Town, is the retail outlet for Karen Marie Klip. In spite of its name, it is not a museum in the traditional sense. Although it is essentially a shop, there is much more than shopping to be had.

The shop is set up to showcase various ideas for things to make out of paper. In this way it does function as a museum, justifying the name. Besides showcasing the ideas, you can also buy the resources needed to make similar items. The items vary from table settings, to gift wrappings, and whole displays such as a Christmas town, Advent calendar or Christmas train.

My favourite were undoubtedly the gift boxes. I always struggle with what to place gifts in (the few times I actually buy gifts)! This is especially so when giving someone a cash gift or a voucher, or even something small. The varied paper on offer as well as the different shapes surely satisfy most of such problems.

Paper boxes

Besides the shop and display there is also an area with tables and resources for courses or for people to assemble what they buy. I think this is a very useful feature, considering that I would probably not have too good an idea of where to start. There is also a small cafe if you want something to eat or drink. And if you’re bored of paper? There is always the  12,000 m2 of garden to enjoy.

Decorated streets

Christmas Events in Sonderborg

Towards the end of November we had written about the switching on of the Christmas lights in Sonderborg. However, since then, we have barely mentioned any of the Christmas-related activities in Sonderborg.


First of all, Christmas in Sonderborg means later shop-opening times, including opening on Sunday. Having just arrived from London, where shops are open much later and there is not much distinguishing weekends from weekdays, this was a good transition time for us to get here!

Speaking about shopping and having previously written about our visit to Flensburg, we shouldn’t forget that Sonderborg has its own Christmas market. The Christmas market was located in the square between Ronhaveplads and Perlegade, giving it quite a small footprint. However, there was still enough stuff to interest us and we walked away with some delicious mead from Mjodladen.

However, coming from a country with no snow, I was most excited by the ice-skating rink next to the harbour. We never made it as we had other plans, but its on our 99 things to do in Sonderborg list, and I promise you – we will try it out next year!

christmas arrangements

December with the Danes

Danes LOVE their Christmas. This means that all of December is jam-packed with Christmas-related events. It takes a bit of time to get your head around all of them, but this is what I have figured out so far.


The Julefrokost is the Danish traditional Christmas lunch/dinner, typically with all the bells and whistles: herring (below), snaps, leverpostej (liver pate) and the rest. You will probably have a Julefrokost event with most of the people you know in some way or another. I had one with work colleagues, the Newcomers Network and Michael’s family.

Yellow herring


Not sure how this differs from the Julefrokost above, but at work we had one of each! The Julekomsammen, or Christmas get together, was a smaller affair for a group within the department (the chemistry group) with a Turkish theme. I have also been told that often everything is called a Julefrokost, so maybe this name is only used when differentiation between two similar events for similar groups of people is required.

For such events it seems to be common that you are asked to bring two gifts with you (not costing too much – it was set at 20DKK for the one I attended). A game is then played where the gifts and people move around the table according to some predetermined instructions (either a set of purpose-made cards or die scores). You then take whatever you end up with at the end of the game.


Julehygge is the Christmas decoration making event. Danes meet up to make Christmas decorations together at someones house (or, in our case, drink and eat a lot while attempting to appear busy making the decorations). Now, however, if you go to such an event you should try to figure out WHAT you will be doing beforehand.

Angel and Heart

Danes separate out their Christmas decorations into two. The first is Julepynt, or Christmas clippings, where decorations are made out of paper like the one in the image above. These events may also be called Juleklip. The other type is arrangements they make with a candle and green leaves and other such things. This is what they call ‘dekoration’ and you can see one below. As the ‘dekoration’ often have pine needles (which sounds suspiciously similar to pynt to me!), and decorations bring images of paper-made stuff, you can probably easily see why I can never figure these two out!

Christmas decoration

Advent Calendar

Advent calendars in Denmark are big! For the past years I have been receiving a scratch card advent calendar from Michael’s parents. However, in the office it is all over the place! Colleagues talking about giving a gift to their kids every single day of December in the ‘advent calendar’ sock, another colleague has a chocolate advent calendar where he gets one chocolate a day, so it seems that gifts are on everyone’s mind. I am not immune to it either: a group of us have given 3 gifts each to a pile and every day one person is assigned to take a gift from the pile. *yeay* to gifts!

Anything else?

So is that all? Have I missed any of the big December-related Danish celebrations? If so I guess I would have to wait another year, but do let me know and I can start getting prepared from now!