Americans sometimes dread December holiday office parties. In Denmark, however, the annual Christmas office lunch is a be-loved tradition, almost a tribal affair—a festive repast enabling Danes to relieve some of the gloom that descends over their country when winter brings its long, dark, damp days. Restaurant reservations are made months in advance. The favored places are generally small and unassuming. "You can recognize them," says one Dane, "by their white linen tablecloths, fresh flowers, burning candles, eternal smell of tobacco, voices rising and falling—and their laughter." Clients expect everything to be in place, just as it was last year, and the year before, and the year before that. No changes in decor are allowed.