Everything is stressful, you still need to pack in your last gifts, there’s a lot of food to make and you must dress up before the guests are coming, it’s the same every year. And somehow we love it. The spirit when you wake up the 24th how the expectations fill the air. The whole house is full of the smell from the duck that were going to eat in the evening, everyone is exited. I just love it.
We eat the same thing every year and almost every family are eating the same all over the country, it’s just a thing that goes so deep into us. There are normally two different kinds of meat- roast pork with crisp crackling and duck. In some families you eat both, in mine we only eat duck. We make the duck in the oven and often it’s in the oven for at least two hours, before putting it into the oven we fill it up with apples and prunes. To the dug we serve two kinds of potatoes, normal potatoes and sugared potatoes, we call it brown potatoes, its potatoes you caramelize with sugar and butter on the pan. From the fund from the duck we make a brown sauce. For the sauce we also have chips, normally two kinds, normal salty chips and pariser chips, which is chips full of air. You dip them in the sauce or just eat them as garnish. To all that we eat red cabbage and a kind of jam for meat. For dessert we eat something called Risalamande, the name is from France but the dessert is Danish. It’s rice porridge with whipped cream and into it you put cutted almonds. You leave one whole almond and the one who find the almond gets a gift. On the risalamande you put hot cherry sauce.
Now I’ve told you about what we eat, now I will tell you how we spend the whole evening/day. Every second year me and my family are in our own home and every second year we go to my father’s mom. The whole day we prepare the food, put the tree (a real one from the forest) into the living room, we decorate it and in the end we put the Danish flags on it and real candles (some also put the tree inside in the start or middle of December). After decorating the tree, we go for a walk with our dog, while my father is still preparing dinner. Some years we also go to church, but that’s really different from family to family if you do that. Then we dress up and the guests arrives or we leave the home to go to my grandmother. Then we put the gifts under the tree and we sit around the table and talk and eat the dinner. When the dinner is done after 1 hour more or less we serve the dessert. Everyone are eating more than they can, because they want to find the whole almond. When a person finds the almond they get the gift and then we leave the table to go dancing around the Christmas tree…. Yes, I said dance around the Christmas tree. We’re not really dancing, we’re more walking around it. We take each other hands and make a circle around the tree, while we’re walking around it we sing some Danish Christmas songs, some of them are hymns some of them are just normal Christmas songs. We sing around seven of them and then we start opening the gifts. In my family it’s always the children who are taking the gifts from under the tree and giving them to the “owner”. When we’re done opening the gifts and hugging everyone for saying thank you we’re sitting in front of the tree eating Christmas sweets and cookies. And then suddenly its 12 o’ clock and the whole day are gone and went just as the Christmas eve the year before and the year before that.
For my whole life I ate the same thing, done the same thing every year on the 24th. And now I’m here in another country where you don’t have the same traditions, some of you almost don’t have any traditions. You’re just eating whatever comes up to your mind, and you don’t care if you open the gifts before or after the dinner. I’m not saying that anything is wrong about how you’re celebrating, it’s just so different from what I’m used to.
Lea Bacci Bogh