Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas in Denmark: First Impressions

Back home in America, the Christmas season starts earlier and earlier each year.  As early as September, stores are putting out Christmas decorations or stocking the shelves with holiday-related kitsch.

And every year, radio stations have an unofficial race to see who can switch to 24-hour Christmas music first.  Once they do, all of the other stations who'd planned to do so rush to change their format until after the New Year.

And don't get me started on the ridiculousness of Black Friday.

As I'm sure a lot of Americans will agree, the holidays can be an extremely stressful time.  Have to get the best gifts for the best price, have to find something unique, have to impress the family and the friends and bake (or buy, in my case) more cookies and pies than necessary.

Call me a Scrooge if you will, but it's been a while since I was actually a fan of Christmas.

In Denmark, though, it seems to me a much nicer thing.  A few tasteful decorations go up here and there in November, but most wait until December 1.  And the decorations that do go up are so much less garish.  It just strikes me as a much more subdued, tasteful thing, and less of a competition to see who has the most "cheer."

As far as Christmas traditions in Denmark, I don't really know much about them yet.  I can tell you that Danes generally do their celebrating on Christmas Eve, as opposed to Christmas Day.

And then there is the company Julefrokost.

I have yet to experience one myself, but these are Christmas parties hosted by companies all over Denmark.  Technically, "Julefrokost" means "Christmas lunch," but it's generally more of an afternoon-into-evening-into-early-morning kind of thing.

And they're notorious.

It's traditional for employees and their bosses to eat and drink more than is good for them, and to act out.  Rumors abound about how the divorce rate jumps up right after Christmas because of all of the Julefrokost indiscretions, and how bosses and employees are known to regularly hook up at these parties and then never speak of it again.

I'm sure that's the case at some of them.  In general, though, it sounds a bit like a "big fish" story to me. People love to appear to have a wilder life than they actually have.

This Danish Christmas season started with a little bit of snow here in Copenhagen, so I thought I'd share the latest picture of our puppy, Wooster.  Here he is, enjoying his first snow day:

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