27 Essential Words for a Danish Christmas

Så er det jul igen (So it's Christmas again) and where would you be without a good Danish Christmas glossary? Well, Julemanden came early and gave us inspiration to put together a video packed with Christmas phrases; and we´ve picked out some of the most essential words for you to learn / use this year. We hope you enjoy a little traditional hygge and Christmas culture from Denmark this December.

Find the link to the videos page at the bottom of this post to see and hear many more Christmas phrases.

Julemanden = Santa Claus.

Julemanden flyver i sin kane (Santa Claus is flying in his sleigh).

Nordpolen = The North Pole

Jeg vil gerne tage til Nordpolen (I want to go to the North Pole)

En nisse = An elf.

Jeg troede på nisser da jeg var barn (I believed in elves when I was a child).

En nissehue = an elf hat

Jeg elsker min nissehue (I love my elf hat)

Kravlenisser = Climbing elves

Hvor har I mange kravlenisser på væggen (You have so many climbing elves on the wall)

Kravlenisser are decorative elves which are hung / stuck to the walls.

Et juletræ = A Christmas tree

Vi danser om juletræet (We’re dancing around the Christmas tree)

Many Danes bring a pine tree inside for Christmas and decorate it with a Christmas star (julestjerne), Christmas hearts (julehjerter), and of course the Danish flag (Dannebrog). Others use a plastic tree which is reused each year.

Julepynt = Christmas decorations.

Har vi noget julepynt? (Do we have any Christmas decorations?)

Not only the tree has julepynt, you will see all kinds hanging in the Danish home during Christmas.

At pynte = to decorate

Der er virkelig pyntet op til jul her (This place has really been decorated for Christmas).

Julebryg = Tuborg’s Christmas brew / beer.

Han har drukket for mange Julebryg (He has drunk too many Christmas brews?)

Every year since 1990, after the release of the Tuborg’s J-day commercial, Danes have celebrated the start of the holiday season in November. The commercial is the longest running commercial in Danish history. [Local] Tuborg trucks drive around the city and give out free beer, hats, and t-shirts.

Pebernødder = Pepper nuts (Christmas cookies)

Hvem har lyst til pebernødder? (Who wants pebernødder?)

Look out for these classic cookies in your local supermarket, you will only see them at Christmas. Alternatively, cozy yourself and make your own.

Jødekager = Christmas cookies (Jewish cakes)

Har du smagt jødekager før? (Have you tasted jødekager before?)

Delicious Christmas cookies made with: mel (flour), vand (water), smør / margarine (butter), og sukker (and sugar).

En klejne = A small cake made for Christmas (fried pastry)

Jeg har lige spist den bedste klejne (I just ate the best klejne).

Julekalender (TV serie) = Christmas Calendar (TV Series).

Så du det første afsnit af årets Julekalender? (Did you see the first episode of this year’s Christmas calendar?)

Pakten 2009.

The julekalender started in 1991, where the original was written and performed by a trio of Danish comedy musicians called De Nattergale with help from TV2. Now, every year, there is a new julekalender where an episode is released each day of December.

Julefrokost = Christmas dinner.

Julefrokosten skal forberedes (Christmas dinner must be prepared)

Julefrokost is a festive occasion, typically in December where family and friends get together to eat traditional Christmas food. Julefrokost can also be a work party with colleagues, commonly in the Christmas month, but sometimes in December or January.

Julelys = Christmas lights

Hvor er her mange julelys! (There are so many Christmas lights here!)

Risengrød = Rice pudding

Jeg elsker risengrød (I love rice pudding).

Rice pudding served warm with butter / margarine, cinnamon, and sugar.

Long up to the 1800’s, Risengrød was a luxury product. Pudding rice was imported and therefore expensive. It became a status symbol to serve risengrød to your Christmas guests.


Han smagte risalamande for første gang (He tasted risalamande for the first time)

A dessert consisting of rice, milk (risengrød), sugar, vanilla, cream, and almonds.

In the 1900’s civil kitchens began to serve risalamande with cherry sauce instead of risengrød.

Mandelgave (The almond gift)

Hvem fik mandelgaven? (Who got the almond gift?)

Risalamande is decorated with broken almonds, but it is important to keep one full almond to mix well into the pudding. Whoever gets the full almond recieves the almond gift, which can be anything from chocolate or raisins to a small gadget.

Sne = Snow.

Det sneer! (It’s snowing!)

Snefnug = Snowflake(s).

Som en snefnug i en vintervind (Like a snowflake in a winter wind)

Lillejuleaften = Christmas eve / 23rd December.

Lillejuleaften var så hyggelig (Christmas Eve was so cozy).

Juleaften = Christmas Day Evening

Mange butikker har lukket juleaften (Many shops are closed on Christmas Eve).

Julestemning = Christmas atmosphere

Kan du mærke julestemningen? (Can you feel the Christmas atmosphere/vibe?)

En snemand = A snowman

Vi bygger en snemand sammen (We're building a snowman together).

En sneboldkamp = snowball fight

De legede sneboldkamp (They were having a snowball fight)

Julegaver = Christmas gifts

Hvad ønsker du dig i julegave?(What do you wish for Christmas?)

A few bonus words:

Et halstørklæde = A scarf

Vanter = gloves

Istapper = Icicles

En flyverdragt = A snowsuit (Most kids wear these during winter)

At fejre = To celebrate

At ønske = to wish

En ønskeliste = A wishlist

Et gavekort = A gift card

Brunkager = Brown cakes / cookies

Juleslik / Julegodter = Chistmas candy / sweets / goodies

Blodpølser = Blood sausages

Brunede kartofler = browned / caramelized potatoes

Guirlander = Garlands

En kane = A sleigh

En højtid = A high season / public holiday

Fyrværkeri = Fireworks

En nytårstale = A New Year Speech

Julemusik = Christmas music

Tak fordi du læser med og hav en rigtig god jul!

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