I ‘heart’ Danish Christmas!

In Denmark they say that “Jul er hjerternes fest“. That “Christmas is the festival of hearts”. And it’s true – look around and you’ll see hearts everywhere. Gingerbread hearts, crocheted hearts, heart-shaped tree ornaments and…the ubiquitous Danish woven paper hearts, which you’ll see hanging in windows or on the branches of the Christmas tree.

Are you ready to “jule” (yep, the Danes even use the word ‘Christmas’ as a verb!) and make some easy peasy Danish Christmas heart crafts?

WOVEN PAPER HEART

My dearly departed Danish father-in-law loved to make things out of paper and was a dab hand at the very intricate woven designs. But be warned: in order to do paper weaving, you have to have nimble fingers, bucketloads of patience and Danish blood in your veins. You’re still determined to try? Hmm, then I’d suggest borrowing a book from your local Danish library. Or try, for example, http://www.julidannevang.dk/klip/klip.shtml 

 But I’m going to show you the two-minute version – the cheat’s version – as taught to me by my daughter, aged 9. You’ll need two pieces of paper or carton in different colours. (Red and white, if you want to be really traditional.) Mark out the shape (see below) and draw a line in the middle, up to the point where the edge starts to curve. Cut out the shapes and then cut along the middle lines.

 

 Turn the white carton at right angles and weave the first ‘finger’ through the red carton.

Weave the red ‘finger’ over the white and – hey presto – færdig (done)! Just add a dab of glue or a piece of sticky tape, to stop the heart from falling apart. Use blue tack (or, as Danish kids call it, ‘pædagog-snot‘ = ‘teacher snot’!) to fix them on your window pane. Or add a paper loop, and hang them on the tree.

 FABRIC HEART

You could, of course, buy these in the shops. But the cutest/kitschest/most precious ones are, without doubt, those handmade ones that your little darling brings home from kindergarten, nursery or school.

 Super simple. Cut two heart shapes out of fabric. Tip: if you use zigzag scissors, you won’t have problems with edges fraying. (Felt fabric is perfect for this job.) You can make them any size you like, but hearts about the size of your palm work well.

Sew round the edges, leaving an opening for stuffing. You can use a sewing machine or do it ‘old school’ with a large needle and thick thread. Stuff the heart, then sew shut.

 

 Add a loop at the top of the heart, so you can hang it up (on the tree, on a door handle, etc). You can also add some beads, glitter glue, etc. We went for the simple look and used this plain ribbon that says “God Jul”. Which, as you will remember, has nothing to do with God! ;D

 

 So now we’ve made Julesnaps (Christmas Snaps), Æbleskiver (Danish Christmas donuts) and some Danish Christmas decorations. I think we’ve got Danish Christmas covered, ikke sandt?

 Glædelig jul! Merry Christmas!

 Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

By Diane • December 7, 2011
Categories: , , ,


7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Posted December 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm by Judy Swansen | Permalink

    Diane,
    I am of Danish decsent, and love the ideas that you put on here, I am always excited to read the posting from Denmark on my facebook page,. My Grandfather was full blooded Dane, His parents my Great Grandparents came from Denmark in the early 1870′s, I thirst for Danish knowledge and information, a visit to Denmark is on my “Bucket List”. Thank You again,
    Judy

  2. Posted December 13, 2011 at 10:11 am by Diane | Permalink

    Hi Judy – glad you’re enjoying what’s here! I’ve been writing about ‘those crazy Danes’ and life here in Copenhagen on my own personal blog for the past couple of years. If you’re interested the link is http://www.dianedenmark.com Hope you get to make the trip sometime! Just remember to bring lots of kroner… ;D

  3. Posted December 15, 2011 at 11:51 pm by George | Permalink

    Hearts on the kroner, too!

  4. Posted December 20, 2011 at 6:51 am by niels | Permalink

    Hi Diane,
    I left Denmark when I was 17, 54 years ago, I am looking at our Christmas tree and all at once I thought of the red and white hearts we made as children, I have 6 children, 17 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren and shame on me, I have never sat down and made this heart with them. Tomorrow I will buy glanspapir and there will be hearts on the tree, Thank you for refreshing my memory, glaedelig jul

  5. Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:57 am by Diane | Permalink

    Glædelig jul to you too! Hope you have fun with the hearts :)

  6. Posted August 5, 2012 at 7:54 am by Becky | Permalink

    Hi! I came upon your blog while I was trying to get information about the little crocheted heart baskets my dad’s family in Denmark used to send us at Christmas time. He made his way to the US in the 60′s and has been here since. His family always sent us several Christmas packages full of goodies and hand crafted items. We got these lovely read hearts that were crocheted out of what seemed to be a cotton yarn. I found a pattern online and was able to start some of my own to share with my siblings but I wanted some info on the history of the hearts. Can you help me with this? I sure would appreciate it. I love your blog. It is adorable!! Mange tak, Becky

  7. Posted August 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm by Diane | Permalink

    Hi Becky! It was H.C. Andersen (the writer of fairy tales) who apparently started making woven paper hearts, but I’m afraid I don’t know anything about the tradition of the crocheted hearts. I tried a quick ‘google’ but no luck… Will ask my Danish sister-in-law (a specialist teacher of crochet) and see if I can come up with something :)

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Diane's Daily Denmark

Diane

Daily Denmark...living with those crazy Danes! Never serious, always informative. A Scot who fell in love with a Dane while working in Luxembourg. Permanently settled in Copenhagen and Mum to two little Vikings. I ♥ Denmark!