If you’ve heard about Denmark or been to the land of the North, you’ve probably also heard the word ‘hygge’. To me as a Dane, hygge means creating a cosy atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with people I care about.
The high season of hygge is Christmas because it’s a time spent with family, decorating for Christmas and eating lots of delicious Christmas foods. I absolutely love this season and all that comes with it. It’s super HYGGE!
DIY CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
I kicked off this year’s Christmas hygge with my best friend Pernille. She’s pretty great at making Christmas decorations, and since I’m a novice decorator this was the perfect chance to learn from the best.
To those of you unfamiliar with Christmas decorations, it’s basically a candle with numbers from 1-24, which you burn every day in December until Christmas Eve. The candle is placed on a plate or tree bark and decorated with moss, various ornaments and glitter. Every Danish home has at least one and in my book it wouldn’t be Christmas without one.
To make it SUPER hyggeligt, we made æbleskiver with powdered sugar and strawberry jam. Æbleskiver, which is nearly impossible to translate, are fluffy round snacks made from pancake dough, and they’re very popular in December.
So delicious. So Christmas-hygge perfect.
CHRISTMAS BAKING WITH THE FAMILY
There’s one day of the year that I love almost as much as Christmas day, and that’s our annual Christmas baking day.
Once a year, my family gets together to bake cookies and listen to Christmas music. It doesn’t get any more hyggeligt than this. For the past, oh I don’t know, thirty years we’ve baked Christmas cookies to the same carols and music, but it never gets old. My favorite Christmas music by far is Maria Stenz, who in 1975 made a Christmas calendar song for every day of December leading up to the 24th. Her voice makes me so nostalgic.
Dad, Thomas and Elizabeth made vanilla wreaths. It’s a fun process and everyone has a job to do: one person is putting dough into the grinder, the other is turning the handle and the third is catching the dough coming out of the grinder into strips. Esben and Naaja cut the strips into pieces and form them into circles, while mom bakes them in the oven.
This is teamwork, folks.
My favorite sweets of the day is havregrynskugler, also known as ‘oatmeal balls’. They are AH-MAZING! And, aside from my beautiful family, they’re the essence of Danish Christmas hygge.
They’re really easy to make and they taste heavenly. Just a bit of oats, butter, cocoa, icing sugar and cream – a few hours in the fridge and then you roll them into small balls and dip them in pearl sugar. Voila – you have the perfect Christmas sweets.
AND THE BEST PART: THE SWEETS
Someone once told me that I have a sweet tooth like a five year-old, and it’s probably the truest thing ever said about me.
I LOVE sweet stuff, like sweet food, sweet wine and sweets obviously. And for that reason, Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. Danish sweets are not overly sugary like Turkish delights or cotton candy. We mostly eat liquorice (which is bitter, sweet or strong), chocolate (mostly 70% which makes it slightly bitter) and wine gum (ok, that’s sweet alright). During Christmas, we eat healthy snacks like nuts, clementines, dates and figs, but we also have cookies and other Christmas sweets like marzipan, oatmeal balls and confections.
Going through December without gaining a kilo or two is simply impossible, but for me Christmas equals hygge, and eating is a big part of that. It’s totally worth it!
Happy Christmas, everyone x
What’s your favorite part about Christmas?
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