It should come as no surprise that we love Danish design (so much so, we travelled from Melbourne to Denmark for their 3DaysofDesign Festival). But we also have an adoration for Danish traditions and customs, and there’s a particular one we’d like to share with you today.
It’s called Værtindegaver: a gift to thank the host or hostess. But not just any gift, we’re talking gifts with the aim to surprise and delight. Værtindegaver is a step up from the norm – one taking “thank you’s” to another level.
Værtindegaver in its modern form is a fairly recent phenomenon, one that only became popular in the 1980’s (consider it completely non-existent in the 1960’s). Its early conception was based on a Danish countryside practice, where it was considered good manners to bring a plate of food to a party, though this was based more on practicality and fostered a sense of community through joint feasting.
The version that exists today is centred around thoughtfulness. Because sure, it’s nice to bring a good bottle of wine to a dinner party, or a plate of yummies to a hosted lunch, but wouldn’t the ultimate thank you be something that can be enjoyed for years, and doesn’t come with an expiry date?
Consider værtindegaver as something of a (tangible) thank you, rather than a gift for an occasion. It doesn’t need to be wrapped up or accompanied by a gift card and personal message. Instead, a simple ribbon or band is all the festivity værtindegaver requires. It also doesn’t need to be particularly expensive. Remember, it’s the thought that counts, so think about who it is that you’re gifting, and the occasion you’re attending; a patterned tea-towel for a dinner party, a ceramic pot and plant for a garden lunch, a coffee table book for an afternoon tea.
So why bother with værtindegaver? Though not a rule or requirement, it’s never really a bad idea to invest a little time in bringing a gift. As we said before, it’s a gesture of thanks, a tangible object that expresses gratitude and appreciation. Because no matter the size of an event, the host or hostess is likely to have put in a little bit of behind-the-scenes labour to make sure everything runs smoothly, and this alone is definitely worthy of a small, thoughtful gift.
With all that covered, we hope you’ve gained an appreciation for the Danish tradition of vaertindegaver. It’s now time to put it all into practice. Our vaertindegaver gift shop is stocked with inexpensive gifts and gestures of thanks, guaranteed to (say it with us) surprise and delight!