Christmas 2020 is a strange one. By mid-November in any normal year, the VisitDenmark team would have already drank at least three cups of gløgg and wandered a dozen twinkling cobbled streets decorated with white lights and pine fronds, searching for Christmas decorations, gifts and more.
But it’s not a normal year.
As we know that many of you can’t visit our Christmas markets this year, we’re bringing them to you in a virtual way. Read on for a little dose of Christmas magic, direct from Denmark, the Land of Everyday Wonder. Let’s call it a Christmas market with a difference.
Above everything else, the Danish Christmas market is characterised by fantastic food and even better smells. The air is perfumed with mulled wine – we call it gløgg – and it’s really not Christmas if you haven’t eaten more than your fair share of æbleskiver.
Æble-what? These are little round doughnuts that are dipped in jam and then dunked in icing sugar before being eaten. It’s a 100% Danish Christmas tradition, and while you’re unlikely to find them in other countries, you can buy them online at Scandikitchen or have a bash at making them yourself with this recipe from Nordic Food Kitchen.
Then wash them down with a homemade gløgg. This recipe takes a while to make (you have to steep the ingredients for a minimum of 2 days) which is a great way to make your whole house smell of Christmas!
Danish Christmas market stalls are decked with beautiful glass and hand-made decorations. If you can’t make it here, don’t despair. You can find our Christmas delights online too.
Tivoli’s webshop, Little Tivoli, invites visitors into a fairy-tale-filled atmosphere and offers the same products as those in-store, including cosy and colourful Christmas figures and decorations. And if you want to go full Tivoli, decorating your home with a few boxes of cotton wool from a craft shop will do the job – they usually have a fake snow-filled park at this time of year.
If those handmade goods have inspired you, you could even make your own Danish decorations. One of the classics is a braided heart, a paper ornament which originated in the 1860’s, when Danish fairy tale writer, H.C. Andersen created the first known example in the world. You can find an easy-to-follow guide here and a YouTube tutorial here. The braided heart is just the start – if you crack that tricky paper puzzle, be sure to look up the Froebel Christmas Star next.
Christmas markets are the official start to the Christmas season, typically opening on the first week of November. From the start of December, Danish children enjoy a special advent calendar with a little gift every day up to the 24th. The Christmas market is a good place to hunt down those little treasures, but not the only place to do it.
In recent years, Denmark’s larger brands have brought out their own Christmas calendars, with 24 days of pre-packaged treats on offer to adults too. Mikkeller’s beer advent calendar and Lakrids by Bülow’s chocolate and liquorice calendar offer a sweet way to sink into the festive season.