My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 7 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  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!

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 – even hanging around at the school dentist (along with their 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… 😉



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 hat/nose.

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 classic!)


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

Diane :)

6 thoughts on “My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 7 December”

  1. 😀 If you can't beat them….join them….the Nisser 😀

    I,m sorry – what is "syltede nisserumper" – I've never heard of them.


  2. Hi Anne…I'm afraid I don't have a recipe for the 'pickled elf bottoms'. And not really sure I want to know how they're made… 😛

  3. […] into small pieces (about the size of a small cherry).  Roll them into little balls.  Or get some little nisser (remember those?) to roll them into balls… […]

  4. Okay, I listened to the John Morgenson song, and I simply must ask – Rats? There's a story here, I know. But where do the rats come in? 😀

  5. Hi Jules! Would you believe it, there is a (rather weird but workable) translation of this song into English… The rats are hoping to eat the porridge but the elf threatens to set the cat on them. Enjoy! And now you can sing along! 🙂

    1. In the loft sits the pixy with his Christmas porridge,
    his Christmas porridge, so good and sweet,
    he nods, and he eats and he is so happy,
    because Christmas porridge is his favorite food.
    But around him are all the little rats,
    and they look out of the corner of their eyes,
    and they look out of the corner of their eyes.
    We really want some Christmas sweets,
    and they dance, dance around in a ring.

    2. But pixy-daddy he threatens with his big spoon,
    Won’t you just run away now,
    because I want my Christmas porridge in peace and quietsy,
    and no one, no one will I share it with.
    But the rats they hop, and they dance,
    and they swing their hips,
    they look at the porridge, and they stop,
    and they stand around the pixy closely packed in a ring.

    3. But pixy-daddy he is a little angry cork,
    and with his body he makes a jump:
    I will fetch the cat, if you don’t stop,
    when the cat comes, it will be stopped.
    And then all of the rats get so scared,
    oh so scared, oh so scared,
    they turn around and dance a couple of times,
    and one, two, three, then they are gone.

  6. […] So far you’ve heard the ‘most played’ Danish Christmas song “Jul, det’ cool!” (a rap) and a Danish kids’ Christmas song about elves and rats, “På loftet sidder nissen…”. […]

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