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What is "Pakkeleg" and is "Julefrokost" even a lunch?

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

What is "Pakkeleg" and is "Julefrokost" even a lunch?

Welcome to the third edition of our advent series that will inspire you as an international to celebrate Christmas in Denmark, and understand the weird Danish traditions that you will experience during Christmas.

1. "Julefrokost" (Christmas Lunch)

Julefrokost (Christmas Lunch)

Lunch at 7 pm? (This was the annual "julefrokost" at VIK badminton)

If a Dane ask you to taste "snaps".... then run while you still can! Drinking in Denmark is not a secret to you and during Christmas time it gets wild.

The danish "julefrokost" is a tradition that many Danes look forward to where they eat Christmas dinner with rye bread and drink a lot of the danish spirit known as "snaps" with friends, family and colleagues.

The Christmas lunch can be a completely wild party where everyone is going down or be a cozy and down to earth event. However, just prepare yourself to get down if you are invited to one after 6 pm, you are warned!

While they should in theory be held in December, don't freak out if you are invited during November or January, it is normal as Christmas is a busy period for the Danes. The Christmas lunches are an excellent opportunity to get to know the otherwise reserved Danes.

2. "Pakkeleg" (the fight for the gifts)

Pakkeleg (the fight for the gifts)

This is how pakkeleg looks like (Tan played it at OneUnit)

At Christmas lunches or other Christmas events during December, you might be invited to play this game. Play it at your own risk!

This game require you to bring at least one small wrapped gift, or as many gifts as agreed. The gifts can be fun, stupid or delicious - it doesn't matter and it usually needs to cost around 10-20 dkr. each gift!

You play 2 rounds. The 1st round is for distributing all the gifts out and this is how it works:

  1. You roll a dice to determine if you get to take a gift

  2. If you roll a six, you get to choose a gift that hasn't been claimed yet

  3. After all the presents have been divided amongst the lucky players, round two begins.

The 2nd round is on the same principle with the dice and rolling a six allows you this time to steal a present from the other participants! How could this go wrong, right?

A timer is set to a random time and once it goes off, the presents stay where they are and if you have any, you can keep the gifts that you got! But if you have no gifts when the alarms goes off, well then try again next year ;)

3. Christmas snacks in Danish

Christmas snacks in Danish

Æbleskiver, Juleskum, Vaniljekranse og brunkager?

So now for the cosy part of the Danish Christmas time. Let's dig into the classic Christmas snacks.

Danes simply love "hygge" so much and snacks are a must when having a cozy time as a Dane. But what snacks do you need to serve to your danish friends to impress them?

Luckily Danes have some of their favorits Christmas snacks recurring every year, and some of them are pebernødder, vaniljekrans, brunkager, honningkager, æbleskiver, juleskum, snebold, juleknapper and the list goes on.

You will never go wrong with the small biscuits as brunkager and vaniljekrans, which is classic biscuits for every year. If you are more into Christmas candy then juleskum and snebold is a safe choice.

Oh... and don't forget to serve æbleskiver for your guest as a dessert with some jam and icing sugar, it is a must!

Hopefully you learned a bit more about the wierd Danish Christmas traditions in this 3rd edition of our advent series. Make sure to stay tuned for our next and final blog next sunday, where we take a further look at the danish Christmas eve.

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