Get in the (Danish) Christmas spirit

As a child, the christmas spirit came without me having to make an effort. The joy of opening your eyes and knowing that you were allowed to open a Christmas calendar was magical. We had one from Tv2's Christmas calendar, one from DR's Christmas calendar and then my twin brother and I each had a chocolate calendar.

After all, it was 30 years ago, so it wasn't at all like all the fancy Christmas calendars you can get today. But the ones with the little square really bad chocolates. And I loved it.

Today, I think it can be a little difficult to get into the Christmas mood. It easily drowns in work and busyness, and perhaps also the expectation that now you have to have extra fun on command. In the past few years, I have experienced that when the calendar says December 23rd, I still need to get that Christmas feeling. The right Christmas spirit. And suddenly, Christmas is over.

So these are the things I do when the Christmas mood needs a little pick-me-up.

1. Make 'æbleskiver'
The Danish treat æbleskiver is an amazing Christmas snack. You don't need to make a huge batch, but homemade æbleskiver makes the difference. Of course, it requires a special æbleskive-pan, but I think it's the nicest activity. I make half a portion and if there aren't that many of us, I freeze the rest, so you have an easy dessert for the other Christmas days. I'll make a recipe soon, but surely you can already find a good English version out there already. 

2. Cut Christmas hearts
It doesn't have to be a huge crafty day where you invite everyone and everything. It can easily just be an evening instead of watching TV or a pleasant activity with a friend.

3. Go to Tivoli Gardens
If that doesn't get you in the Christmas mood, well, I don't know what will. The many Christmas lights in the winter darkness, the Christmas stalls, mulled wine (gløgg) and the traditions. Tivoli oozes Christmas, and at least puts me in a little more of a Christmas mood every time I'm there in December.

4. Listen to Christmas music
I'm not the biggest fan of Christmas music, but it can do something. In any case, I think it definitely helps with the Christmas spirit. For me, it also doesn't help to start listening to Christmas music too early. It's something I only hear in December and only a little at a time so I don't get tired of it.

5. Watch a Christmas movie
Just like with the Christmas music, I don't have a long repertoire of Christmas films that I absolutely have to watch, but when I have to, I think it can also do something in terms of creating a Christmas atmosphere. There are countless lists of the best Christmas movies, so just search and you will find.

6. Go to the Christmas market
There are a lot of good Christmas markets. Eg. Esrum Kloster, Gisselfeld Juletorv, Jul på Gavnø, Oremannsgaard's markets, and Finderskeepers are my favourites.

7. Buy the Christmas presents in good time
The Christmas mood also comes to me when I give myself plenty of time to find just the right Christmas presents. I try to make a good plan with Christmas presents for those I have to give to and leave plenty of time to buy. I think the joy of giving is greater when you give something that is well thought out and not bought at the last minute. Make a day of it with a friend or boyfriend. Drink hot cocoa and shop around in cozy shops.

8. Wrap the Christmas presents nicely
Now that you have spent time and money on buying nice Christmas presents, I think they deserve to be nicely wrapped. Buy some extra pretty paper and nice silk ribbon. Paint your own gift cards, use the ones you get in your package from Rie's Originale here on the webshop. Some years I also use printed photos from my Instax Mini Printer. It's so easy and everyone is happy with a good picture of themselves or of themselves and me.

9. Send Christmas cards
The thing about sending 'real' letters seems to be dying out. Unfortunately. Because you rarely get mail these days, and the joy of receiving a real, handwritten letter is great. I have a bit of an idea that it must be like when my mother wrote 30 Christmas cards and it took half a day. But it doesn't have to be that way. Write 2 or whatever you can manage. Maybe to someone you haven't spoken to in a long time? My aunt lived in Italy and sometimes sent a postcard that just said "hello". We laughed at that and asked why she didn't write a longer text. 'Because I just wanted to show that I was thinking of you,' she replied. It doesn't have to be that complicated.

10. Bake Christmas cookies
Just like with the 'æbleskiver', Christmas cookies don't have to be an all-day project. There are many good recipes for easy Christmas cakes or confectionery, and the joy of eating something homemade is great. Otherwise, I'm sure your neighbor will also appreciate a bag of homemade Christmas cookies.

11. Have a Christmas calendar candle (kalender lys)
Is this even a thing outside Denmark? We have a candle with numbers form 1-24 that we lit every day as a count down to Christmas. A Christmas calendar candle can be stressful for some because you have to keep track of the numbers, and honestly - is there anyone who can do that after December 7th?
But a calendar candle just creates a Christmas atmosphere, so I try every year. I've fallen in love with this from Line Jensen or this from Kiosk48th+Faust. Then you don't have to think about following the correct date.

12. Decorate for Christmas
My dad loves elfs. So I grew up in a home with 1000s of little elfs. It is only as an adult that I have realized how time-consuming it is to decorate - and take down, not least. So, quite so much decoration, it won't happen at my house. But a little decoration can also go a long way! It's nice to see the nice Christmas ornaments year after year, and I like to save and revisit the heirlooms.

13. Pickled beetroot
Yes, I mean it! You should pickle beetroot because it's super cosy, tastes fantastic, and the joy of being able to put something homemade on the table for Christmas lunches - or just the everyday table - is great. It doesn't have to be a huge hassle, and you don't have to make a big batch. Cook the beetroot with the peel and carefully peel it off. Cut them up and put them in a completely clean glass. You make the brine from 1:1 water, sugar, vinegar. Add whole peppercorns and bay leaves to the pot. It can't go wrong, and if it does, you call me on +45 2533 8105. I've been pickling tons of vegetables for 7 years and can get you out of any pickling trouble :) 

14. Get yourself a Christmas tree
Yes, it is a bit difficult, partly to drag home and partly to drag away again when Christmas is over. But the smell of the woods in the living room is absolutely fantastic. A Christmas tree is completely magical, and at my place we have a small tree every year, which I decorate partly with heirlooms from Christmas, new acquisitions and so many food-related Christmas ornaments.

15. Lower expectations
I think that one of the reasons why I can find it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit is that I have had very high expectations for some years. In the last few years, I have tried to relax the requirements a bit, and it has definitely helped.
You can do all of the points on my list or none of them. In reality, Christmas is most enjoyable if we relax, enjoy each other's company, and lower expectations.



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