Danish Seamen’s Church Christmas fair in Brooklyn Heights

A very Danish Christmas!

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It’s the week before Thanksgiving — time to think about Christmas!

The Danish Seamen’s Church Christmas Fair will take place Nov. 23–24 this year, but it isn’t a case of the dreaded Christmas creep. The fair is a Brooklyn Heights tradition — it has been taking place annually for more than 25 years, according pastor Julie Sløk, and is usually held the weekend before Thanksgiving to accommodate Danish New Yorkers who want to travel back to Denmark for the holidays.

But celebrating Christmas early is not unusual for the Danish — in fact, most festivities for the holiday in Denmark take place on Christmas Eve.

“For children, it’s the longest day of the year,” Sløk said of Christmas Eve. First, she said, children go to church, followed by a dinner of roast pork or duck.

“Then, the family holds hands and dances around the Christmas tree, usually singing a few hymns and some silly songs for children,” Sløk said. “Everyone does this — all families, every year.”

Only then can children open presents, as the adults eat marzipan and nougat and drink coffee and spirits.

The goods at this year’s fair are donated from Danish companies like Bodum (the maker of French presses) and Dansko (which makes clogs and other shoes), with all proceeds going to the Danish Seamen’s Church on Willow Street. Browsers can also buy traditional Danish Christmas foods like æbleskiver (a type of pancake) and gløgg (mulled wine).

Expect to meet plenty of Danish people, too — according to Sløk, there are between 8,000 and 10,000 living in the tri-state area.

“We think it’s big, because there is only five million people in Denmark,” she said — fewer people than the population of New York City alone.

Christmas Fair at Danish Seamen’s Church [102 Willow St. at Clark Street in Brooklyn Heights, (347) 633–1176, www.dskny.58.kw01.net]. Nov. 23, 11 am–5 pm; Nov. 24, 11 am–3 pm.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
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