Bleak midwinter: Danish companies cancel Christmas parties

Bleak midwinter: Danish companies cancel Christmas parties
There'll probably be less schnapps than usual spilt this year. File photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Ritzau Scanpix
Several major Danish companies have already announced the cancellation of their 2020 staff Christmas parties as a precautionary measure against coronavirus.

The annual work Christmas dinner, or julefrokost in Danish, is a staple of the country’s festive traditions and famous for often being a rowdy occasion at which normally-reserved colleagues allow themselves to let off steam.

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But the large dinner gatherings, potentially combining scores of participants with schnapps, beer and exposure to Covid-19 are not a recipe for festive cheer for several Danish companies, who have already cancelled their 2020 Christmas parties.

Sydbank, Danfoss, Novo Nordisk, DSB and BaneDanmark are among firms already to have scrapped company Christmas events, DR reports.

“The Christmas party is normally one of the social highlights of our year, so there’s sadness in all of us. But of course we can’t party with the situation as it is,” Sydbank’s head of HR Else Guldager told the broadcaster.

The bank’s Christmas party usually caters to between 400 and 500 staff. Individual branches will be allowed to arrange “Christmas hygge” after work, but there will be no big Christmas do for bank staff this year, DR writes.

Experts have previously pointed to large gatherings as potential ‘super spreaders’. Denmark has still not allowed nightclubs to re-open under pre-lockdown conditions.

READ ALSO: Here’s what you need to know about Denmark’s 'phase four' reopening

Meanwhile, brewery giant Carlsberg announced this week that it was cancelling ‘J-dag’, a marketing event which normally takes place on the first Friday in November to promote sales of the Tuborg Julebryg Christmas-themed beer. The event would be expected to attract large numbers of customers to bars.

Cancellations are likely to affect margins at event holders and venues, as well as the morale of staff who will miss out on annual festivities.

“There’s a relatively large turnover at Christmas parties, with food, drinks and entertainment. It’s hard to say what the bottom line is, but this is significant for us,” the director of the Esbjerg Musikhuset, Torben Seldrup, told DR.


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