A Dane Abroad: Rocking that wet raccoon look – The Post

A Dane Abroad: Rocking that wet raccoon look

An unmistakable sign that it’s toasty season in Denmark (Photo by iStock)
November 28th, 2015 7:00 am| by Kirsten Louise Pedersen
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As the dark days of December grow darker, the lights of Copenhagen grow brighter! The cold environment can feel hostile, yet every season has positive notes worth appreciating!

For a Dane who has spent many a Christmas in bright sunny places with plastic trees, summer salads and sunnie-clad Santas, Christmas in this corner of the world is rather special. Apologies in advance for the prolific use of the word
‘candle’.

Cosying-up champions
Admittedly, when I first remembered that after the Danish autumn comes the Danish winter I did panic a little on the inside.

But while winter here is dark, yes, this is what created the world-famous Danish ‘hygge’! Candles, fairy-lights, woollen throws, centrally-heated homes and eating together at the table all come together with a marvellous synergy during the
winter.

We are the world champions at cosying up – whether it’s at home or at the café, lambskins and blankets will be waiting for you. And cold weather is never too bad when you know that it’s never too far to the next toasty warm place.

Your inner raccoon
Sure there are annoying things about the Danish winter. Biking in cold rain, for instance. Anything not decked out in rubber and plastic will get drenched. Even handbags will collect rainwater. And despite the fancy-pants jacket you’re wearing, your face will always be a wet mess with a funny grimace on it.

For some consolation look at everyone else’s funny faces. Regardless of what pretty thing smiled at you in the bathroom mirror prior to take-off, in the case of cold rain a drowned cat with raccoon eyes will stare back at you upon arrival.

Christmas candle-mania
The build-up to Christmas Eve is an all-December (candle-mania) affair. Christmas calendar series are shown on TV. Tivoli morphs into a winter wonderland. Public squares become ice skating parks. Decorations and marcipan-filled chocolates are crafted at home.

Christmas Eve carol singing involves ‘dancing’ around the tree – and if your family are as crazy as mine – occasionally running.

Numbered ‘count-down’ candles are burnt until the 24th. Advent wreaths with candles are ceremoniously lit each Sunday of December. Lights adorn windows, streets and trees, warding off the darkness, making for a fantasy-like atmosphere.

A fan of all seasons
The summer months score all the credit as we forget that all the seasons are magical in their own way. It’s true that everything seems easier and breezier in summer. However, the distinct change of seasons in Denmark is something few countries in the world get to experience.

Personally, I think there are different things to look forward to during each season. Autumn days can be truly stunning and colourful if we bother to notice. The falling of leaves symbolise sthe shedding of old skin, and spring, with its fresh new succulent greens, signals renewal.

And in the winter, the lights will sparkle in our eyes as you cosy up, daring not to take yourself too seriously as you rock your fluffy earmuffs, rain face and wet thighs.

Kirsten Louise Pedersen


Kirsten was born and raised in Denmark, but jumped ship in her early 20s to spend the next 12 years living abroad, mostly in New Zealand with a short stint in Hong Kong. A physiotherapist, acupuncturist and yoga lover, Kirsten has returned ‘home’ with a suitcase full of goodies from beyond the boundary fence