Today I’m gonna tell a bit about how I celebrate Christmas.
We celebrate Christmas on December 24 at night here in Denmark (and the rest of the Nordic countries). It’s an old tradition and I remember when growing up thinking the English was so weird for celebrating on the 25th. It was only when I got older I realized we were the weird ones mostly hehe.
Why do we celebrate the 24th? Well, about 300 years ago some men decided that Jesus was born the night between the 24th and the 25th. Since he was born after midnight, they decided he should be celebrated on the 25th. But, at this time in history, we Nordic people had decided that a new day starts when the sun sets (which was much easier than trying to figure out when midnight actually was) and since it’s winter time, the sun sets fairly early. Hence, we celebrate Christmas on December 24th.
Also, fun fact. In Denmark Christmas is called Jul, (Yule) and has no name sharing with any Christian traditions.
Anyway, back to our Christmas celebration.
Normally, the day starts early with kids waking up. We eat breakfast as we wake up and don’t normally do any big family breakfast. Then there’s the whole trying to coordinate with getting kids in a bath and stuff going on.
The kids normally watch some Christmas tv and and us grown ups drink coffee and wish we had had a few more hours of sleep.
Lunch is normally kept fairly light with just some bread and toppings. We need to leave room for all the delicious food later.
After lunch it’s time to start some food prep. We normally take turns being in the kitchen and playing games with the kids. We also try to go out for a few hours too at some point (letting the kids and dogs run off some steam).
Around 15 the kids have some tv shows to see the last episode off and then at 16 exactly the whole family collect to see the yearly Disney Christmas show.
After the Christmas show things speed up. All the dinner things need to be finished, sauces needs to be made, the last finishes on the table is done, and music is set to play. Around 18 we start eating (you can read more about Danish Christmas food here) and that normally takes about 2 hours cleaning included.
And then the magic starts.
My mom will gather us all in the kitchen and tell us a Christmas story while my dad help Nissen light all the candles on the tree. When done he will call us and the kids will see the tree all glittery and pretty.
We will grab each other’s hands and start singing Christmas songs while walking around the tree. It’s a very special feeling and so magical ❤
After the singing and dancing we’ll collect drinks for everyone, and my mom will find the big tray of cookies, candy and confections that no one can eat because we’re still stuffed from dinner.
The smallest in the family (my nephew) get to pick a present under the tree (but not for himself) and give it to the person it’s intended for. We’ll all watch as the present is opened and then it’s that persons turn to pick the next gift.
This normally goes on for hours because the kids always end up wanting to play with the toys they unwrap. Some years we end up just saving a few presents for the next day because the kids gets so caught up in playing.
Around midnight the kids are sent to bed and we grown up will clean a bit and have a Christmas drink or two before heading to bed too.
How do you celebrate Christmas in your family?