December 16, 2015
Although the real nedtælling (countdown) to jul (Christmas) began weeks ago, last Sunday’s Luciadagen (St. Lucia Day) procession really inspired the holiday spirit in me! Not that I was lacking, but these treasured holiday traditions I hold dear are consistently acknowledged each year as if I am a barn (child) once again!
With just 9 days to go until Christmas the stearinlys (stearin candles) on the adventskrans (Advent wreath) have been lit for the third time and this Sunday marks the final lighting before jul! Additionally, if you’re like me you may have spent a great deal of time recently baking your favorite pebernødder (pepper nut – traditional Danish Christmas cookies), and those cuts on your hand lovingly acquired while making those delightful Danish hearts are healing quite nicely! Besides, no one will notice your injuries when they admire them adorning your juletræet (Christmas tree).
Speaking of, perhaps your juletræet (Christmas tree), like mine, has already been chosen and decorated. In Denmark it is often customary to wait until juleaften (Christmas Eve) to do so. I always find that standing by the light of my tree is a perfect spot to summon my juleønsker (Christmas wishes) for Julemanden (Santa Claus/Father Christmas). After all, those jovial little julenisser (Christmas elves) must be hiding in there somewhere with their røde huer (red caps), langt, hvidt skæg (long, white beard), træsko (wooden shoes) and tykke, røde kinder (fat round cheeks) just waiting to relay the message to Santa!
If not, Christmas markets are the perfect place to make your list and check it twice. The Christmas markets in Denmark are destinations of pure joy where you can peruse the small huts filled with one-of-a-kind gaver (gifts) and sample delicious homemade Danish goods, such as æbleskiver (traditional Danish pancake), gløgg (mulled wine) and klejner (a Danish Christmas cookie). In Chicago I love to visit the Christkindlmarket, which is a lovely spot that invokes that European charm and celebrate the warmth and joy of the season.
Yes, julemåneden (the Christmas month) is the most wonderful time of the year for both børn og voksne (children and adults)! Although the de mørke, kolde vintre (the dark, cold winters) are hard to survive sometimes, even when there is no sne (snow), our annual traditions make it so much more tolerable!