Bleak midwinter: Danish companies cancel Christmas parties

Several major Danish companies have already announced the cancellation of their 2020 staff Christmas parties as a precautionary measure against coronavirus.

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

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.

READ ALSO: Ten tips for surviving a Danish Christmas party 

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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Thousands more families in Denmark seek Christmas charity

A significant increase in families have sought Christmas help from the Danish Red Cross compared to last winter.

Thousands more families in Denmark seek Christmas charity

Higher process for food, electricity, gas and fuel are being felt by vulnerable families in Denmark, driving more to apply for Christmas packages offered by the Red Cross, broadcaster DR writes.

The NGO said in a statement that more people than ever before have applied for its Christmas help or julehjælp assistance for vulnerable families.

While 15,000 people applied for the charity last year, the number has already reached 20,000 in 2022.

“We are in an extraordinary situation this year where a lot more people have to account for every single krone to make their finances work,” Danish Red Cross general secretary Anders Ladekarl said in the press statement.

“For many more, their finances no longer work, and this is unfortunately reflected by these numbers,” he said.

The Red Cross Christmas assistance consists of a voucher worth 900 kroner redeemable at Coop stores or, in some stores, a hamper consisting of products.

READ ALSO: These are Denmark’s deadlines for sending international mail in time for Christmas