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Part 2 of 3: Danish Christmas – A Danish Christmas Eve


December 12, 2018

Story submitted by,

Two Norwegian Girls

BCJ News

Hey. I'm back, the crazy Dane who was in your paper last week as well. Today I'll write a little about Christmas Eve.

Our family starts on the 23rd. We have rice porridge with cinnamon-sugar and a big scoop of butter in the middle. To that, we drink Christmas Beer called Nisseøl. It is so sweet and with 1.5 percent alcohol so the children have a little as well.

When we have eaten all we can, the rest is put in a big clay bowl and we all take the bowl to the attic of our shed where it is placed with a bottle of Christmas beer for the house elf. And somehow - it must be magic - the rice porridge and the beer has disappeared the next morning and the nice elf has left two Christmas presents for the kids as thanks. We still do it every year even though our children have stopped believing in Santa for many years. The house elf doesn't care. He still delivers.

One thing that is different with Danish Christmas is that in many families there are no presents until the evening of the 24th after they have danced around the tree – without knocking it over and burning down the house. This is actually the worst about Danish Christmas. Why torture kids with having them wait the whole day, eat a giant Christmas dinner, dance and finally when their eyeballs are hanging on their knees they can open the presents and then it is time for bed. I don't get why we don't open the presents in the morning, so the kids can play all day. Well my kids are now 13 and 16 so they will probably just lock themselves up in their rooms with Sims or League of Legends.

For many years now, we have handed out a few presents in the morning, so the kids have something to play with all day. We do that in our jammies after we have danced around the tree and sung one or two songs.

Food is very central to a Danish Christmas Eve.

The menu is: Roasted duck or goose and/or roast pork with crackling, Caramel potatoes, Sautéed Red Cabbage, White potatoes with gravy, Baked Apples with rose-leaf jello, Dessert: Ris a la mande with hot cherry sauce.

I am a big fan of the caramel-potatoes. We only have them for Christmas. But the biggest hit is for many the dessert, the Ris a la mande, or rice-creamed pudding with almonds. My wife is a big fan of adding a little grated orange peel just to spice it up.

With that, we have hot (not spicy but sweet) cherry sauce. Take out the stone in the middle of the cherry first. If you should make one Danish Christmas-dish this is the one I would recommend.

As the name says, there are almonds in the dish. They are peeled and chopped up into little bits all of them except one. To peel them just pour boiling water over them and wait a few minutes. The almond that is still whole is hidden in the pudding. Then we eat – again. If you find the whole almond don't tell, try to hide it. The rest of the guests will work hard to empty the bowl. When the bowl is empty, you can reveal your treasure. Then you will be rewarded with a small gift, the almond-gift. Often it is chocolate but the most traditional thing is a marzipan shaped pig. When I was 5-6 years old my grandma had decided that the gift had to be something useful. It was the first time I won, and I opened the present-a soap bar and a small washcloth. Boy, was I happy. I have been told that I was mad the rest of the evening.

After eating, it is time to dance around the Christmas tree and open presents. Lego for both boys and girls, Barbie for the girls, computer games for everyone. What is on my list this year? Hiking boots, a new backpack and a sleeping bag. However, I'll be happy also if someone gives me a new ladder.

Getting Elf Presents from the shed.

Did I forget anything about our Christmas? I probably did. Oh yes, the dice game. After opening the presents we play a little dice game. Small inexpensive presents are placed on the dinner table. We have one or two die for the game. If you roll a one or a six you grab a package. Don't open them. Once all presents have found an owner the real game begins. It is time to steal. If you get a six you can take any present you like from another player, which quickly turn the dinner table into a friendly war zone – pure hygge. If you get a one you have to give away one of your own packages to the player to your left. If you do not have any presents and you roll a one you have to take a package form the player to your right and give it to the player on your left. The game ends when an alarm goes off. We usually play 10-20 minutes. Then it is time to open the presents. Last year I got a mousetrap and a toothbrush. My daughter a toilet paper roll and my wife got carrot seeds. The advice is to keep the costs down and the fun up.

Merry Christmas everybody. I'll return next week with my last piece about Danish Christmas, if you'll let me. Complaints can be delivered in person – or to Peggy Munson Perry or Marilyn Granell.


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