About 3 weeks ago I left from the Copenhagen Airport to go on break and saw the first signs of Christmas: a giant Christmas tree in the middle of the airport. And this was even before Halloween! Since I got back from break, the city has been Christmasfied.
Small Christmas trees in the luggage pick up area in the Copenhagen Airport.
The street where my classes are is covered with lights and garlands and throughout the city, stores are pulling out all the stops to look festive.
Yesterday there was the first official Christmas event which included a small parade and more lights being turned on. This also marked the official opening of the city’s Christmas markets. There are multiple markets throughout the city where specific Christmas foods and crafts are sold. Some highlights include Aebleskiver, which are little doughy balls with a hint of lemon, gløgg, which is Danish mulled wine, and flødeboller, which aren’t specific to Christmas but are too amazing to not mention. They’re basically marshmallow covered in chocolate with a wafer base.
Blueberry flødeboller from the Nyhavn Christmas market!
Even though it was pouring at times (as per usual), the markets were still packed and full of holiday cheer! This brings me to why Christmas starts so early in Denmark. First, there isn’t a holiday between Halloween and Christmas to keep Christmas at bay in Denmark. Even Halloween is a relatively new holiday here and, while celebrated, is not a big deal. In the US, I also feel like Thanksgiving creates a nice barrier between the two holidays. By having Thanksgiving, people typically don’t start thinking about Christmas until after it which usually means that Christmas things aren’t popping up until halfway into November. Danes are also very serious about Christmas/the winter holiday season and I think it’s because this holiday is the definition of hygge (this basically means being cozy). Christmas means bundling up and drinking tea while reading a book. Or walking through the streets of Copenhagen with your hot wine and donuts. It’s a very cozy holiday (hyggeligt, as the Danes would say). This is also the time of year when Denmark gets very dark and cold. The sun sets at about 4 every day, there is rarely any sunshine, and most days forecast at least some rain. When the weather is this dreary, some holiday decorations and yummy food are a good motivator and bring a little cheer. Seasonal affective disorder is very prevalent in Denmark. Most Danes take vitamin D pills (or other pills) and have sun lamps to try to keep this away, so maybe the early Christmas is just a more natural solution to the lousy weather.