My god has the time flown by…. 2018 is over in just a few hours – well 8 hours to be exact. At least here in England (as I’m writing, it will probably already be 2019 when this post it published).
Sunday I returned back home after spending my Christmas in Denmark with my family. Each and every year I go there to celebrate this time of year, even though, I’ve passed 30 I’m still not grownup enough to be able to spend this magical time of year anywhere else. Maybe one day… but clearly this year wasn’t it!
The longer I’m living abroad the more I learn just how different everyone’s Christmas is. I mean when you don’t know any different, you just assume that everyone celebrate the same way you do. Or at least I did. Obviously, each family have their own traditions. But for the most part I think most households in Denmark celebrate more or less the same way.
So how do we celebrate? Well for starters we celebrate Christmas Eve and not Christmas day. That’s right, we get to celebrate, eat the good food and
most importantly, open our presents on the 24th of December. For most people the evening starts around 6pm where you sit down for the feast of the year.
What’s on the menu for such a festive meal? At my dad’s we get:
- Main course: duck roast, white boiled potatoes, small caramelised potatoes, the worlds best brown sauce (made on some of the juices from the duck). And then there’s all sorts of extras like salty crisps.
- For desert we have something like rice pudding, but mixed with whipped cream and a lot of chopped almonds. On top of it we get a sweetened cherry sauce, just because it’s yum!
The chopped almonds are especially important. Why? Because it’s not just a delicious dish! It’s the most competitive dish you’ll probably get all year. In this big bowl of Ris A’la Mande you’ll place 1 or 2 whole almonds, and the lucky one (or ones) to find it, get an additional present. Usually something fun and small, like some chocolate etc. But don’t let the little thing fool you, because in my dad’s house it’s serious business. You have to be strategic about where you scoop up the Ris A’la Mande. This year (for the second year in a row I might add) I found the whole almond again. And with it I won some chocolate and bragging rights. Totally worth the stomach pain from over eating!
When we’ve all extended our bellies as much as possible from this magnificent feast, it’s time for some exercise. I kid you not. You see first we place all the presents under the Christmas tree, then we dance around it (in reality we just hold hands and walk around it), whilst singing Christmas carols. I know in some countries (and some households in Denmark) people go door to door and sing carols, we don’t do that. And it’s not traditional to do so in Denmark. We stay inside so no one hear how badly we (read I) sing off key.
Once we feel like we’ve been through enough carols, it’s time for the last one Nu Er Det Jul Igen (translated: Now It’s Christmas Again). For some reason this song takes you through the entire house. The circle breaks, and we form one long line and run from room to room whilst repeating the same 6 sentences: nu det jul igen, nu det jul igen og julen varer helt til Påske. Nej det er ikke sandt, nej det er ikke sandt for ind i mellem kommer Fasten (translated: now it’s Christmas again, now it’s Christmas again and Christmas lasts all the way to Easter. No that’s not true, no that’s not true for in-between we’re fasting).
Apologies for the bad photo of our tree, the lights on the tree confused my camera and decided to look like stripes instead. Sigh – a born photographer I am not.
I realise all this to some might make it sound like we’re a bunch of weirdos in Denmark, and you might not be wrong. But I’ve had so much fun writing this. I actually got the idea because every year my very English boyfriend scratches his head and looks at me like he doesn’t even know me, when I tell him about my Christmas. But you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Christmas is a time for love and traditions (and love of traditions), and I love my crazy family and our traditions.
Now you’ve heard how I celebrate Christmas, I would love to hear how you guys celebrate. What’s tradition in your country? What makes it special in your family? So let’s chat in the comments!
Happy New Year and