Want to know what Danish Christmas hygge is? This is.

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 cozy 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!

So, stick around and I’ll show you how we hygge in Denmark during Christmas.

Read about Christmas in Denmark here.

What does hygge mean?

Hygge is hard to explain. It’s more of a feeling than a concept.

It can be dinner with friends, playing sports as a team, gardening with family, watching movies with a boyfriend.

It’s about being together. Feeling relaxed in the company of others. Sure, it often involves food, but it doesn’t have to.

Hygge is a safe space.

You can’t really sell it. It is not a thing we think about in Denmark, it just happens because we already have the mindset to make it ‘hyggeligt’.

How to pronounce hygge?

You say “hygge” as “hoo-ga.” Don’t let the spelling throw you off – it’s that simple.

Hygge in winter

When winter rolls in, hygge really comes into play. It has to do with the cold weather and the darkness.

It makes you want to curl up on the coach with a blanket, while drinking a glass of wine and watching your favorite TV-show.

Christmas calendar and decorations

In December, Danes decorate their houses with light both inside and out.

We also make Christmas decorations, which is basically a candle with numbers from 1-24, that you light 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.

Danish Christmas hygge
We build the foundation of clay and secure the ornaments and candle on it

We also create an advent wreath, which is lit every Sunday in December. Number one for the first Sunday, number one and two for the second and so on.

Danish Christmas hygge
Danish xmas decorations

Christmas baking

There’s one day of the year that I love almost as much as Christmas day, and that’s our annual Christmas baking day.

On that day, 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, and 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.

Find the 10 best Danish Christmas foods here.

While listening to music, we bake 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.

Someone else cuts the strips into pieces and form them into circles, while mom bakes them in the oven.

This is teamwork, folks.

Danish Christmas hygge
Danish Christmas hygge
Danish Christmas hygge
The finished product – YUM

My favorite Christmas sweet 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.

Danish Christmas hygge
Danish Christmas hygge
My love
Danish Christmas hygge
The guys are making marzipan

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 the year.

Danish sweets are not overly sugary like Turkish delights or cotton candy. We mostly eat licorice (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!

See how we celebrate Christmas in Denmark.

Danish Christmas hygge
Danish Christmas hygge
Chocolaty marzipan

Christmas food and lunches

And now, my food-loving readers, the 25th of December is the BIG Christmas lunch day in Denmark. 

Most Danes eat roast pork, meatballs, and creamed chicken with asparagus in patty shells, but in my family, we eat FISH.

Sure, we have some traditional food on the table, too, but on this day we serve lots of home-cooked dishes and fresh seafood, like cod roe, herring, salmon, eel, and shrimp.

Most Danes do Christmas lunches throughout the end of November till Christmas Eve. It’s not unusual to attend 3-4 each year.

Christmas in North Jutland, Denmark

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  1. Hi there- a bit random but what are the chocolate sweets called under “chocolatey marzipan”? I remember making them as a child in denmark. I’m desperately looking for a recipe!

    1. Hi Gwen,
      Basically, it’s just pure marzipan mixed with a little powdered sugar, cut in small pieces, then dipped in chocolate and decked with a hazelnut, walnut, fig or date. You can add nougat or a bit of cognac in the marzipan, which makes it SO good.

    1. Sure, Monica. Here you go:

      250 g of oats
      250 g of sugar
      100g margarine
      50 g of cocoa
      1 dl coffee cream
      2 teaspoons rum essence

      Put all the ingredients in a bowl. Leave the mixture to rest in refrigerator for at least an hour and roll the mass into small balls. The finished balls are then rolled in pearl sugar and can be stored in the refrigerator for about 1½ weeks.

  2. The vanilla wreaths look exactly like a cookie my Norwegian grandmother made, handed down to her from her mother. It is called vanila Kranz. I’ve been unable to replicate it because, sadly, my Nana’s recipe was terribly vague. (It was simply an ingredient list and the instruction “press and bake.” Would you be willing to share your recipe and technique? I’d be so grateful- ive been attempting it each Christmas for almost 20 years with no luck.

    1. Hi Christine, yes I’d be happy to! Here you go:

      1 vanilla pod
      80 g of sugar
      75 g almond flour
      100 g butter, at room temperature
      1 egg
      100 g wheat flour

      Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Put a tablespoon of sugar on the vanilla pod and spread the vanilla beans apart in the sugar.

      Stir vanilla, sugar, almond flour, wheat flour and butter together. Gather the dough quickly with the egg so that it is uniform, but without stirring the dough too much.

      Put the dough in a piping bag fitted with star piping.

      Pipe the dough into wreaths on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

      Bake in a preheated oven at 175 C degrees fan for 8-10 minutes or until they are lightly golden. Keep a close eye on them.

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