Christmas in Denmark is supposed to be when a mischievous elf called Nisse can have his fun. He is said to live in the lofts of old farmhouses and enjoys playing jokes. He wears gray woolen clothes, a red bonnet, red stockings and white clogs. Families leave him a bowl of rice pudding or porridge on Christmas Eve to keep his jokes within limits. Usually though he is kind and helpful helping out on the farms and being especially good to the children.
Christmas Eve dinner begins with rice pudding that holds a magic almond inside. Whoever finds the almond receives a prize. They then have goose, red cabbage and browned potatoes. After that lots of pastries and cakes.
The Danish tradition is the Christmas plate. This was a tradition in the early days where rich Danes gave plates biscuits and fruit as presents to their servants. These plates were the nicest and best kind and were not used for everyday use, this is the reason why they became so collectable.
They take much pride making their own decorations with bright paper, bits of wood and straw. The parents secretly decorate the tree, and children are not permitted to see the tree until dinner on Christmas Eve. The tree is then lit up and families gather around to sing carols and hymns.
Each Sunday in Advent, guests are invited to join in the lighting of the candles on the Advent crown. Adults drink a warming mixture of red wine, spices and raisins, and children drink a sweet fruit juice, like strawberry. Everybody eats small cakes of batter which have been cooked over the fire in a special pan, and dusted with icing sugar.
In Denmark Christmas Eve is a special time. It is at this time parents secretly decorate the Christmas tree with home made wood and straw baubles. The children are only able to see the tree before dinner when it is lit up and the family gathers to sing carols and hymns.
In Denmark Christmas Eve is called Juleaften and is the biggest occasion of the year. Parties go on all night, with traditional prune-stuffed roast goose, red cabbage, fried pastries, and cinnamon-laced rice pudding called Grod.
The Christmas elves called Julenisse are appeased with rice pudding, and dishes of seeds are placed outdoors for wild birds.