Just like that, it’s December again! In Denmark, December is the most celebrated month of all thanks to Christmas – the biggest holiday of the year. Even months before this glorious festivity, businesses and public spaces across the city are already bedecked with Christmas decorations. It’s a busy month, with family and work gatherings happening left and right – not forgetting the annual julefrokost, which is a must-attend for Danes. And when you’re not catching up with people, you’ll be busy shopping for gifts or decking your home with festive decorations.
How can you celebrate a Danish Christmas while staying on a budget? Here are some ideas that can help make your holiday season special without breaking the bank:
1. Counting down to Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive. Look for discounted calendar-lights at discount supermarkets like Netto or Coop. For a kids’ gift-calendar, shop for small but fun kiddie items from different supermarkets and wrap them up with leftover gift wrappings from last year. This way, you’ll save money but the thought will still be the same. Reuse last year’s wrappings and any unwanted gifts for this year’s pakkeleg!
2. DIY your traditional advent wreaths. You can be creative and save money this holiday season by recycling the same metal wire that you used last year for the advent wreath. Or, you can use the materials you already have at home and come up with alternatives to wreaths. For example, arrange your candles with some of the pine cones you collected this summer along with some rocks or stones on a nice decorative platter. This is a great way to express your holiday spirit without breaking the bank. Not traditional but surely it’s budget-friendly. I didn’t get a wreath this year as I find the stuff for making it expensive, so, I opted for an alternative decor.
A traditional Danish Christmas wreath.
My own DIY Christmas decor at home. The only thing I bought were the candles which came cheap from Coop 350.
3. Potluck with your family and friends for Julefrokost. This year, why not let your family and friends show off their cooking skills by having a potluck for your Julefrokost? Everyone can bring something special from their kitchen to share with others. A bottle of Snaps, a jar of rødkål, or perhaps a unique recipe that your family and friends have been dying to show off. Not only will it make for a delicious feast, but it will also give your guests the chance to show off their skills in the kitchen. I’m sure they won’t mind bringing something tasty to share with everyone. With a potluck, your Julefrokost will be something to remember!
A delectable Danish Christmas lunch menu.
Photo by CopenhagenFood.dk
4. Eat at home before leaving to visit a Christmas market. The colorful Christmas markets or bazaars all over the city make for a great festive highlight, with some of the best ones to be found along Strøget, by Højbro Plads in front of Illum, and in Kongens Nytorv in front of the Hotel d’ Angleterre. Although there is plenty of food and potential Christmas gifts to buy, these can be expensive and cause a dent in your pocket. To avoid this, make sure to eat beforehand so you are not tempted to buy. If you can’t help but buy something, try to save money on drinks by bringing water or coffee in a thermos flask with you.
Christmas market by Højbro Plads in Copenhagen.
5. Why not get an artificial Christmas tree to dance around this year? Sure, some people may not like the idea of artificial stuff, but artificial Christmas trees are actually quite economical and much less messy than the real thing! Plus, you’ll never have to buy or kill another tree in order to have the same decorations and traditions year after year. So why not give it a try?
6. Find the best deals for gifts. Online shopping sites like Pricerunner can be a great resource when looking for the best deals on gifts. These sites allow you to compare prices for items sold by different shops, allowing you to find the lowest price available. Different stores also offer different price points, so it is important to be patient and do your research to get the best deal. Stores like Normal offer discounted cosmetics and perfumes that can often be much more expensive in other stores. Magasin also has many great deals during the Christmas shopping season. If those deals are still too expensive, try visiting DBA Online or a second-hand shop like Redcross. Not only will you save money, but you can also shop sustainably by reusing items.
7. Save on your Christmas dinner menu with the help of discount deals from supermarkets. Download the etilbudavis app on your phone, browse minetilbud.dk, or keep an eye out for promotional offers delivered to your postbox. The key is to shop around and buy early. It’s best to purchase items that won’t spoil, such as meat that can be frozen. However, many shops offer extra discounts on items during the festive season. For even cheaper deals, apps such as Too Good To Go provide discounted offers on meat, vegetables, and fruits. All you have to do is search carefully and be patient.
8. Redecorate with that Julemanden you bought last year. Since his beard hasn’t turned gray, you don’t need to purchase a new one. The same goes for your nissemand and other Christmas decor. By reusing the same decorations, you can save some money this year.
Nissemand from the Den Gamle Apotek Christmas shop.
9. Go to public parks with packed foods. Going to amusement parks like Tivoli or Bakken during the Christmas season is a great way to have fun while also saving money. Tivoli, while it requires an entrance fee, offers festive decorations that you can’t find anywhere else. Bakken, on the other hand, offers free entry, but it is a bit farther away, so you may have to spend some money on transportation. Either way, it’s a good idea to bring your own food, as this will save you some money you would have otherwise spent on food. That way, even if you have to spend some money on transportation and entrance fees, you’ll still be able to save overall.
There are many ways to save up money for this year’s Christmas. It takes a lot of effort and patience but it works when you’re determined to do it right. Remember, Christmas is not only about how much a person gives or receives in the form of gifts. As cliche as it may sound, being with the people you love and enjoying their company is the best way to celebrate Christmas.
If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Danish Christmas on a budget, why not share your tips in the comments section? We can all learn from each other and make the most of the festive season. Glædelig jul or Merry Christmas!