Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Julefrokost, or Christmas lunch, is a Danish workplace Christmas tradition. From what I gather it's an American office holiday party on steroids. The research center where Michael is working is holding their Julefrokost on Friday from 3:00p to midnight. That's right - midnight. As in nine glorious hours of holiday feasting and drinking.

I've heard some interesting rumors about these Julefrokost from other Copenhagen friends. Like they are "the night of affairs," the alcohol consumption is legendary, et cetera. I have to admit though there is a sizable part of me that is really disappointed I won't be experiencing this cultural phenomenon for myself.

From the little I've read, every worker in Denmark has a Julefrokost. Again, from good ol' Garrison Keillor:

A few years ago, walking along Store Kongensgade in Copenhagen before Christmas, I passed a building gutted for renovation and looked in the cellar window, and there, on a dirt floor, surrounded by piles of lumber, were three long tables covered with white cloths and set for a meal, a Christmas centerpiece on each table, with candles and little Danish flags, and at each place setting, silverware, a glass for aquavit, a glass for beer, a china plate, a napkin. The construction workers were about to enjoy their traditional holiday lunch, with proper china and silver, with the herring and aquavit, the requisite toasts and speeches, and by the time the apple fritters were served, they'd be in a mood to sing Christmas songs, and you knew exactly which ones they'd sing.

- Garrison Keillor, "Civilized Denmark," National Geographic, July 1998

I'm sure Julefrokost is the kind of Christmas comfort that is a little lost on American's like me. I'm more into my white Christmas lights, hot chocolate, popcorn and the annual viewings of It's a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But it's not to much of a stretch to imagine the appeal of nine hours of eating and drinking at the office during the darkest time of the year.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Oh wow! I actually remember reading that National Geographic article, if you can believe it. But I didn't realize until just now that Garrison Keillor wrote it.