In a way I feel like an outsider on this subject. I am familiar with all the customs, but with a few edible exceptions I don't take part in any of them. But that don't mean that you should be cheated, so I have picked a few that stands out.
(this one is just to get you in the mood)
The countdown merchandise:
1. The Christmas calendars. Yes, plural, because one is not enough. My first encounter with the Christmas calendar was the one you (that would be my grandmother) bought in the bank or at the post office. It corresponded with the televised calendar show, so you had a real three dimensional experience opening the calendar, getting a hint of what was to come in the evening show. I can't tell you how it is now, but back then it was quality stuff, well produced and commercial free, genuine "hygge".
For the spoiled ones there are the supplementary chocolate calendars, and/or the package calendar, with 24 small wrapped gifts, one for every day until Christmas. My grandparents had their own tradition with a santa boot near the headboard of the bed (resembling the American way, maybe?), where you would wake up in the morning and find a small present left there overnight (and now I miss my grandparents, great).
But calendars are not just for children, here. The Danish Game Business have come up with a lottery calendar, where you scrape a square a day. Every year they have been running the same TV commercial unaltered, so it has now become a Christmas stable. They should have left it at that, but instead they went ahead and took a huge bite out of the pedestrian street, eating a whole house:
And then there is the latest addition: the street art calendars. I know of two, one in a fixed location (the Helveticat tunnel calendar, I got there too early to catch it yesterday), and one by Streetheart that is more of a treasure hunt, with a daily prize for the lucky winner.
2. The calendar light. A candle with 24 markings, you burn a little every day until Christmas. I considered buying one just to show you, but you get the picture without one, don't you?
Even if you don't subscribe to the Christmas card tradition (hello!), you can still flavor it with the annual and collectible Christmas stamps, designed by a new artist every year. The stamps are purely for decorative purposes, so you need to double stamp, but the proceeds go to the Christmas-stamp-homes, for underprivileged children. As a business it says a lot about you if you choose not to double stamp with this one. This year the post launched the sticker stamps (lick no more), and the option to buy two different sizes. Here is one:
And perhaps to make up for the repeated and indecent mark up in postage the Danish Post have come up with a small and irresistible series of stamps. The story behind it is that the girl is lonely, so she builds herself a snowman (excuse me while my heart swells):
By artists Maria Bramsen and Camilla Hübbe
1. The elf village. If there is one thing I would like to pass on to a child, it is the elf village. But none of that new crap they push all over the place, thank you very much. I would go the the flea market and scout for the old pipe cleaner elves. They should be arranged on a small hilly landscape made from cotton (like the supermarket cotton balls, only in sheets, what's the word?), doing elfy things like eating rice pudding and sledding. Crazy cosy (=hygge).
2. Making your own. This is cosy too. Getting together and cutting and braiding hearts and stars and cones, to decorate the house and the tree. There is likely to be hot booze (for the grown ups of course), and Christmas edibles, like the "pepper nuts", having nothing to do with pepper. Or "Æbleskiver" (apple slices), having nothing to do with slices or apples. Confused yet?
Home made micro trimmings, I want to kiss them... very gently.
As you can tell, most if not all of this really only works if there are children involved. I could go on, but I fear I will talk myself into a Christmas mood, and I really don't need that... "Christmas traditions, part two" will include the marzipan pig prize and hot booze, I promise.