What I love about Copenhagen at Christmas

I see the winter here in Copenhagen in two parts – the sparkly Christmas section and then the longer snowier, cold part in the New Year. I will do my What I love about Copenhagen in the Winter then.

cph xmas

So what do I love about Copenhagen at Christmas? There is so much and my posts this month will be able all the things I love. However I think the overriding thing is how beautifully the Danes do Christmas. It is all about tasteful sparkle, traditional decorations and, of course, candles. As you can see from recent posts, the candle thing is at the epicentre of Danish Christmas and Advent.

Most town hall squares or central squares in the main neighbourhood have a glorious Christmas tree and the street are strung across with lights and stars or hearts, nothing gaudy. One thing I love is that the decorations in the main shopping streets of Frederiksberg and along Strøget in the city have been the same every year since I have lived here and I am sure they were before and will be for many years to come. I love this sense of continuity and tradition.

cph xmas food

There is a strong feeling of Christmas being very much a collective experience here.  Children get advent gifts, the traditional christmas food and drink such as æbleskiver (little apple doughnuts), Glogg (a type of mulled wine), little christmas biscuits are consumed and loved by all. Children making little paper stars and hearts. Crowds gather to watch trees being lit either in public spaces or in apartment buildings.

Cafes still use their outside tables and people cuddle down under blankets to keep warm. There are Christmas markets across the city, shop windows glisten with decorations, people visit each other for Julefrokost (Christmas lunches) at the weekend and work Christmas parties can be legendary here – even moderate colleagues can surprise you! There are skating rinks set up. Tivoli at Christmas is a sight behold and one of my favourite places to visit once the sun has set (at 3pm) to truly feel the magic of Christmas.

To me Christmas here is more like the Christmases of my childhood – about family, friends, food, beautiful decorations and homemade treasures. Of course consumerism rears it head but I feel it is a bit more moderate than I recall Christmas in the UK in recent years, or maybe I am able to cosset myself away from it a bit, whatever is the case Christmas is when Copenhagen pleases me the most!


  1. I moved back to the U.S. last January after living in Copenhagen for a number of years, and I am really missing the wonderful way that the Danes do Christmas. Despite being dark and cold, there is something so hyggelig and charming about the holidays in Denmark. I’m glad I brought home lots of Christmas decorations to remind me of our time there. Also, I’m really enjoying your wonderful Instagram pictures, which take me back to DK, so thank you:)

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