My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 12 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent
! Join me every day in opening a new door. I’ve got
a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes,
traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back,
relax and enjoy!


Today, I bring you…nisser!

Our own family of nisser

Admittedly not one of my personal favourite parts of a Danish Christmas.
But nisser – elves – feature heavily in Danish Christmas songs, stories
and, of course, decorations. At school, kids play ‘Secret Santa’ for each other
by being a nisseven or ‘elf friend’. Watch out for the bad elves
though…’cos they leave grød (porridge) in your shoes. Anyway, love
them or hate them, you can’t get away from them. They’re everywhere – I
saw them yesterday at the school dentist.

Giant elves and giant toothbrushes

I’m not quite sure whether the dental assistants love or hate nisser. They
had a jar full of syltede nisserumper – pickled elf bottoms on the
reception desk…

Syltede nisserumper – pickled elf bottoms

Anyway, would you like to make your own big, nosy nisse, that’s easy
peasy to do and won’t take more than 10 minutes?

You’ll need:

  • thin felt or stiff material
  • sewing machine or needle, thread
  • large wooden bead or ball
  • a bit of stuffing or the wool that you use for making felt (name escapes me)
  • glue (I love my hot glue gun!)

Cut out a ‘hat’ for your elf from the felt. Don’t worry too much, a rough
triangle will do. Fold it over and sew it down one edge. Then turn it inside
out, so the stitches don’t show, using a pencil to help you get right into the
little pointy top.

Put a bit of the stuffing inside the hat (this will also help it to stand
upright). Stick on a large wooden bead for his ‘nose’, just under the brim of
the hat. The hot glue gun is great for this, no hanging around.

Then take more of the stuffing and pull it to bits, so you end up with a pile
of smaller pieces. Use this to make his beard and stick that on underneath the

And while you get on with making your very own nisse, have a listen to a
famous song about them. (Yep, you can’t beat a bit of John Mogensen – he’s

And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)