I went to visit my lovely friend Samanta in Stockholm this June. We met three years ago when she was visiting Toronto, and I’ve been promising her a visit since. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I didn’t make it to Stockholm until this summer. It’s especially noteworthy how long it’s taken me to get to the Swedish capital considering I used to live in Denmark.
Living in Canada, this is what I used to associate Christmas with: vacation pay, boxing day, Home Alone marathons, and postcards from friends. If you haven’t been raised celebrating Christmas, it’s pretty easy to escape the holiday fever in Toronto (except when I worked in retail and Christmas carols were even playing in my nightmares).
Denmark kicks off the God Jul celebrations with J-day on the first weekend of November by launching the annual Christmas beer. It’s a strong brew that’s modelled on a luxury beer. I am not surprised to see that the launch of a beer is a national event in Denmark – bars are brimming, trucks are distributing free beer and swag on the busy streets, and everyone is having a jolly good time to get the mood for God Jul.
Soon after the that, the Christmas lights start popping up and just last weekend, Aarhus’s official Christmas tree made its debut outside of City Hall.
Here’s how my friends and I have been getting in the festive spirit over the last month: Continue reading