21 December: "My twin sister wins all the time!"

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Sarah Hansen is an international student from France and studies business and communication. Sarah Hansen knows everything about the Danish Christmas traditions (especially Risalamande and the fight for the almond) - her father is from Denmark.

2019.12.21 | Anna Bech Sørensen

Graphics: Astrid Reitzel

The Omnibus Advent Calendar:

The Advent calendar is a treasured Danish Christmas tradition. In many families, kids get to open a small gift each day all December until Christmas Eve, when Christmas is celebrated.

Our small holiday gift to you is a chance to meet one of AU’s many international students and employees every day until Christmas.

All 24 will share where they’re spending Christmas this year, their favorite (and least favorite) Christmas traditions from their home countries,  and what’s most annoying – or surprising – about Christmas in Denmark.

How are you going to celebrate Christmas this year?

This year, like almost every year since I was a child, I am celebrating Christmas with my family in Denmark. My father's entire family is waiting for us to celebrate the most magical Christmas traditions on the evening of the 24th (of course): singing around the Christmas tree, spending time with the family over a good meal where the whole family puts their grain of salt into it, the cosy atmosphere with candles and dimmed lights, the Christmas playlist in the background... but above all, the only and best Christmas dessert: Risalamande! It is the funniest part of the night when everybody is looking at each other to find out who has the whole almond... my twin sister wins all the time!

What is the best / worst Christmas tradition from your home country?

I don't usually celebrate Christmas on the right day in France. But the little I can remember about the ones I did spent in France is that dinner is extremely long! Five different dishes including the famous ‘foie gras’ as a starter (I know it's controversial but it's a Christmas tradition...) and good food are Christmas traditions. And I think that's what any French person would say! I'm lucky to have a great family with whom I always have a good time laughing. The one thing I can't understand about Christmas in France is that we offer gifts in the morning. I find it strange, especially if your whole family isn't there to see you open them...Then for the worst part: it's clearly that after eating so much for at least two days, you have to be physically ready!

What do you think is the most annoying thing about Danish Christmas?

Nothing is boring about the Christmas season in Denmark! From November 1 to December 26, the magic of Christmas is in the air. It starts as soon as the Christmas beers are put on sale, then all the decorations (not like in France where the decorations are multi-coloured and old fashioned) and the night, which starts to fall earlier and earlier. This is the best time to 'hygge', as the Danes say so well. It's so sad when all the decorations disappear as soon as Christmas is over!    

- Joyeux noël!

The Omnibus Advent Calendar:

The Advent calendar is a treasured Danish Christmas tradition. In many families, kids get to open a small gift each day all December until Christmas Eve, when Christmas is celebrated.

Our small holiday gift to you is a chance to meet one of AU’s many international students and employees every day until Christmas.

All 24 will share where they’re spending Christmas this year, their favorite (and least favorite) Christmas traditions from their home countries,  and what’s most annoying – or surprising – about Christmas in Denmark.

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