A Danish Christmas carol

grey A Danish Christmas carol

The last two weeks has vanished in a blur of hearty Danish christmas winter food, cosy reunions and gleeful re-visitings of favourite Danish restaurants. I arrived at the Copenhagen Airport still wearing my Aussie shorts and sandals ‘ensemble’. With barely time to pass immigration and grab my bags I dashed through a blizzard to just catch my train. On the train I received many a sideways look, similar to those reserved for crazy men who stagger around bus stations mumbling to themselves.

grey A Danish Christmas carolYou may wonder why I commuted to Denmark alone. To get the cheapest flights available Jette and I came here separately from Melbourne. Still wearing my shorts I went to leave the train at Vejle (as agreed) but was met by a shivering Jette who pushed me back onboard with a haunted look.

On our extra little ride Jette explained the situation to me, “I got stuck in Bangkok for eight hours, a crying baby kept me awake on the last flight and now dad can’t pick us up due to the blizzard…he hopes to meet us at the next station…why are you still wearing shorts you freak?”

I managed a weird half laugh with tired, bloodshot eyes and told her about my commute and subsequent dash for the train.

“So this is a proper blizzard then?” I asked peering out the window.

“Yup, I just hope dad can meet us at the next stop…” Jette said with an exhausted sigh.
grey A Danish Christmas carol
grey A Danish Christmas carol








The next day is Christmas Eve. I am almost over my Jetlag and have enjoyed many longs walks in the snow with my camera. Having only ever seen snow on mountains it is a huge novelty to see streets, houses and cars, but especially twinkling Christmas trees, covered in the stuff. It lends a magical Hans Christian Andersen mood to everything.

Unlike Australians, Danes celebrate Christmas the night of the 24th. I have been practicing a few Danish Christmas carols for one very important tradition. Denmark has been inhabited since 12,500 BC. This is plenty long enough to develop many awkward traditions and I am about to embark on the most awkward. One tradition that Jette warned me about two years ago when we had Christmas in Bolivia

Surrounded by my Danish family (and with Jette explaining the menu) I enjoy a hearty Christmas dinner of duck, pork, potatoes (three mouthwatering types) and pickled vegetables. Before the presents can be dispensed someone gets the Christmas tree and carol sheets ready.
It is time.

Mum, dad, sisters, teenage brothers and nephews and I all form a circle around the tree and soon the carols begin. Everyone dances around the tree whilst holding hands and singing merrily. Everyone, that is, except for a chuckling Jette who stands outside the circle photographing the spectacle for posterity. Jette is proud of my efforts. I am sure to sing the versus I know loudly while giving my best shot at the ones that I don’t. Jette is stoked, we have just ticked item number #9 off her bucket-list.

grey A Danish Christmas carolI am not sure what I was expecting of my first Danish Christmas. Surely being so far away from my native Australia, things should have been majorly different, alien somehow. I am relived to report that Christmas in Denmark is very similar to Christmas in Australia…family, friends, too much food and just enjoying special people’s company. The way it should be. However, next year I will nail Rudolph in Dansk…

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