I am not Danish.
This is remarkable because between my mother's and father's families, I can claim relatives from nearly every corner of Europe. This melting pot attitude contributes to the mishmash of holiday traditions we indulge in every year. German Stollen for breakfast in the week leading up to Christmas, sour cream takes the place of cream of mushroom soup in the green bean casserole, Christmas crackers and paper crowns, we talk to animals on Epiphany (I still do anyway), an almond is stashed into porridge and there's more food than even thirty odd family members can devour at once. We make Christmas cookies starting a few days before Christmas, all homemade, no exceptions.
Save one. Danish butter cookies. This tasty little morsels arrive in a tin (that will next year be used to pack pecan fingers), nestled in white paper. They last long into January. One a night is the hard and fast rule. Gorge on brownies and spice cookies covered in buttercream frosting, but the Danish butter cookies are to be savoured. Cherished.
Maybe because we're not Danish and thus do not have a yellowing recipe card that divulges the secrets of these perfect treats are they so loved. The cuteness of the pretzel one, the crunch of the sugar-encrusted rectangle, the ridged one's sweetness, the fun of looking through the rough circle's hole at the others seated around the table, and lastly my favourite, the one with just the subtlest hint of cocoa.