Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Glaedelig Jul"
Tree Type: Traditional
Decorations: Hearts woven from strips of red and white paper are commonly found on most Danish Christmas trees. Created in Denmark's national colors, when made as baskets these hearts often hold treats for the children. Christmas trees in Denmark often feature fruit, sweets, nuts, small Danish flags and dozens of lit candles. Doves symbolizing peace and humanity's responsibility to care for animals, paper angels representing Christ's birth, white muffs standing for warmth and cornucopias filled with nuts and candy ornament Denmark's tree at the Museum as well.
Traditions: Advent, the period comprising the four Sundays before Christmas, plays an important role in Danish Christmas celebrations. One candle is lit on the Advent Wreath each Sunday, children discover treats as the open the doors on their Advent calendars each morning in December, candles burn shorter each day and Advent television programs recount holiday stories as Christmas Eve approaches. In many families, the decorated Christmas tree does not make its appearance until Christmas Eve, when doors are unlocked and children are permitted to see its glowing candles and treat-filled hearts.
Children traditionally set bowls of rice pudding in the attic on Christmas Eve to pacify the Nisse, a mischievous old man who dresses in grey pants, wooden shoes, and a red pixie hat. Children who want their presents to be delivered and their decorations to remain intact give the Nisse pudding every year to keep his usual pranks under control!
Danish families "dance" around the tree singing Christmas carols before the Christmas dinner begins with rice pudding. One whole almond is hidden in the pudding, and the family member to find it is awarded a special prize, often a small pig molded from fine marzipan. Adults often drink specially brewed Christmas beer or a warming mixture of red wine, spices and raisins as the family enjoys roast duck or goose and sweet and sour red cabbage. Small cakes of batter dusted with icing sugar close out the Christmas dinner before families open presents and close out the biggest feasting season of the year.