To celebrate Christmas this year, we have asked our friends to help us set the perfect Christmas table.
This week we visited our friend, radio host and table setting connoisseur, Gustav Hagild to talk about traditions, champagne and velvet ribbons.
What's your favorite Christmas tradition?
My mom would like me to say that it's swimming in the sea with her on Christmas morning, but - you know - that's very cold. At 4PM on Christmas Eve, we all take a break from what we're doing and meet for a drink. I'm usually doing the tree, my grandmother is in the kitchen with my brother and so on. Around this time just before evening, the light outside turns everything blue, and we drink champagne, and say cheers and “Happy Christmas”. My grandmother might have a port, but I prefer champagne. It's a nice little calm moment before the storm (duck).
What's important to you when setting a holiday table?
Thick, crisp, white napkins. And crystal glasses! Goes for any table, any time.
How do classic holiday traditions impact your Christmas style?
Some do, some don't. In Denmark, we walk around the tree singing, but I prefer if no one sings, and we instead just watch the tree and listen to psalms, because I hate communal singing. The tree - my specialty - has as many live candles and humanly possible to shove on there, as well as Danish flags in string. The thing I like most about Christmas Eve is lighting the tree. It's of course a very dangerous tradition that we have kept, but a good reminder that some things in life are dumb and beautiful.
What Christmas habits do you have?
My brother and I will usually play chess and drink whiskey (and maybe smoke a cigar, although the novelty has worn off for me I think) when everyone else has gone to bed. I guess that is a very usual thing we do every year. Usually, I'll have a party on my birthday, which is a couple of days before Christmas, and is a good occasion to get all your friends together, say one last “merry Christmas”, drink crémant and eat something that's not Christmas food , before everyone leaves to go to the countryside or abroad to be with their family. This year I am introducing vodka martinis at the party, which will be good. I drink a lot during January too.
Who has an impact on your Christmas aesthetic and what inspires you in the holiday season?
This season, we're going back to basics. I like bows in velvet ribbons, I like dark green spruce-twigs hung over doors and on top of bookcases, and I like heavy silver cutlery. It screams my grandmother.
What's your most treasured Christmas ornament and why?
I lived in London for 8 years, and moved back to Copenhagen right before Christmas in 2020. Before I left, I went on one, last, nostalgia induced raid of Fortnum and Mason where I - besides scrambling together copious amounts of tea - picked up a brass mistletoe with glass pearls. It's definitely my favorite ornament. It reminds of one like it, in my childhood home, and it reminds me of London, with its yellow lights and sand colored pavements. Btw I saw on Instagram that it snowed in London yesterday, and some of my friends had a midnight snowball fight in the street. I hope it snows in Copenhagen soon.