Danish word of the day: At jule

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
Danish word of the day: At jule

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash and Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

If you want to “do Christmas” right, it’s worth considering the verb ‘at jule’, today’s Danish word of the day.


What is at jule? 

Jul (similar to “yule”) means Christmas in Danish, and there are plenty of variations of it in festive-themed words: Julemanden (Santa or Father Christmas), julekalendar (a daily Christmas TV show), julepynt (Christmas decorations), julefrokost (work Christmas lunch) and so on.

Any Danish word that is prefaced by at (“to”) is a verb, and the -e ending normally signifies the infinitive form.

So as we can see from the format of today’s word, at jule is the (informal) verb “to Christmas”.

Why do I need to know at jule?

What exactly is meant when someone is “Christmasing”? The word applies to both the act of celebrating Christmas itself and to activities considered “Christmassy” or part of the run-up to Christmas.

For example, baking the small cinnamon-infused biscuits known as pebernødder (literally “pepper cakes” could be a way of acting Christmassy. Making julehjerter, the red-and-white paper hearts used as tree decorations, or julekonfekt, sweets made from marzipan, truffle and chocolate are fun family activities popular with Danes who want to get into the seasonal spirit.

Christmas shopping probably also qualifies, but only if you do it in the company of a friend and stop for a mug of glögg (spiced mulled wine) at a café.


You could also use it to describe the big day itself: just as you can holiday with your cousins, you can also Christmas with them if you are close enough.

Be careful, though: too much Christmasing at once and you might find all that juleri (“doing Christmas”) starts to get a bit much.


Vi skal jule hele weekend ved at bage pebernødder og lave konfekt.

We’re getting into the festive spirit this weekend by baking Christmas biscuits and candy.

Vi juler hele familien sammen i år, vi bliver nok tyve personer juleaften.

The whole family is Christmasing together this year, there will probably be around 20 of us on Christmas Eve.


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