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Eight Copenhagen Christmas ideas

From winter bathing to carol concerts. Here are a few things you can do in Copenhagen during the upcoming festive season

‘Hygge’ has always been big on the Danish agenda.

And no less so than in the festive season when Copenhagen is brimming with yuletide activities! Hygge means ‘coziness’, and to help you max out on this Danish sentiment this December, here is our run-down of things to do in the Danish capital this month.

Winter bathing

Celebrate Christmas as a true Viking at Islands Brygge Harbour Bath, because nothing says ‘Glædelig Jul!’ (‘Merry Christmas!’) like a bout of hypothermia. The picturesque baths are situated in the heart of Copenhagen’s harbour and include a 75 metre swimming pool, a diving pool and an all-important sauna to help counteract the deep-freezing process.

As a special extra this winter, a Viking party for all the die-hards will be held on the 6th, where you can clink your drinking horns and enjoy a hog roast whilst listening to sagas of old. So if you are into sub-zero temperatures, classic Danish architecture and hairy men, this is the perfect Christmas mix!

The baths are open to the public 6 & 13 December 9:00-12:00. For more information visit their website.

Ethical Christmas trees around town

Throughout December, Copenhagen’s squares will be dotted with mini Christmas trees, each of which has been individually designed by Danish and international artists including Bjørn Nørgaard and Kristian Hornsleth, as well as local school children. They offers shoppers a nice respite from Strøget and the onslaught of the Christmas crowds.

The festive sculptures are part of the Happy Xmas Tree initiative, which aims at promoting art through sustainability projects. After Christmas, the two metre high trees will be auctioned off and all proceeds will go towards planting a new forest of Jatropha trees in Mali.

You can find out more about the Happy Xmas Tree project on their website (in Danish).

Disney marathon

All December and January, Cinemateket is showing a selection of Disney classics; as we know, Disney is to Christmas, what Aquavit is to the Julefrokost table… essential! It really doesn’t get any cosier than curling up, with a steaming mug of gløgg and watching one of these films (ok, maybe not Bambi). The screenings are all shown in Danish, so it’s a good opportunity to try out those newly acquired language skills, right?

For the full listing of films and screening times visit Cinemateket (description in Danish).

A classic Christmas ballet

The Nutcracker comes to Copenhagen’s Royal Theatre from the 4th December with glittering snowflakes, a ginormous Christmas tree and a sugar plum fairy in tow!

If Tchaikovsky is your idea of a cultured Christmas, but you seem to be lacking the kroner, do not fear – matinee tickets start from DKK 47 for students! They can be purchased online.

The dazzling harbour light parade

Hundreds of kayaks, each decked out with shimmering lights, will sail across the city’s waters 13 December to the joyous musical accompaniment of Christmas carols. The light parade will visit Nyhavn, Christianshavn and Højbro Plads and at every stop, parade participants and crowds gathered at the water’s edge will sing to celebrate St Lucy’s Day.

This year is set to be a particularly visually stunning event with over 500 kayaks forming the fleet. The parade will begin at Kayak Republic by Knippelsbro Bridge at 16:00. Visit their website for more information on the full route (in Danish).

Alternative Christmas markets

If you are tiring of the typical gløgg and æbleskiver offerings of Christmas past, there’s a whole heap of noteworthy markets to visit all over the city:

Det Nye Designer Marked, situated in a beautiful historic hall in Frederiksberg where visitors can buy unusual Danish-designed gifts. It takes place 5-6 & 12-13 December, 10:00-17:00; H.C Ørsteds vej 18, Baghuset, 1879 København F.

Kødbyens Mad & Marked, probably the hippest Christmas food market in the city. The meat-packing district will play host to this festive culinary delight 5-6 & 19-20 December, 10:00-18:00; Flæsketorvet, 1700 København V.

Nørrebros Julemarked, your chance to buy locally sourced Christmas goodies and meet a Russian Santa Claus! This no-brainer takes place 13 December, 11:00-16:00; Guldbergsgade 15, 2200 København N.

Greenlandic Christmas Market, offers authentic and traditional gifts including hand-made knitwear, seal skin items and beaded craftwork. It’s the ideal place to find original one-of-a-kind presents! 12 December 11:00-16:00 & 13 December 11:00-17:00; The Greenlandic House, Løvstræde 6, København K.

The best of the carol concerts

Copenhagen’s Girls’ Choir will sing both Danish and international carols, accompanied by harp in the atmospheric surroundings of Helligaandskirken 6 December 16:30; Niels Hemmingsensgade 5, 1153 København K.

The Academic Orchestra of Copenhagen and the Academic Choir are performing Handel’s iconic Messiah at the Copenhagen Cathedral 14 December 19:30; Vor Frue Kirke, Nørregade 8, København K.

For a detailed list of all concerts this month, click here.

Christmas in the 1950s

Travel back in time and experience Christmas with The Hansen family at The Workers’ Museum. This small, but compact museum is tucked away behind Nørreport Station and is one of the city’s hidden gems; this December, visitors can catch a glimpse of an authentic 1950s working-class Julidag.

The cafe and gift shop is also perfect for old-fashioned treats! Visit their website (in Danish) for more information.

Do you have any more ideas for events this Christmas? Write in the comment field below!

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