5 December: Elfs – I can’t get my head around them ...

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Hilde Bollen is programme coordinator (LAICS Master) at the Arts Administrative Centre in Emdrup. She is from Belgium, but has lived in Denmark for 16 years and has almost fully embraced the Danish Christmas traditions. But she still can't get her head around the elfs.

2019.12.05 | 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?

I was born and raised in the Flemish part of Belgium and have been living in Denmark for the last 16 years.  I am going to celebrate Christmas Eve in Denmark, with my Danish family, and then we go to Belgium and have Christmas with my Belgian family on the 26th December.  A perfect combination where I will get the best of two worlds.

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

I come from a Catholic country and my childhood memories of Christmas are quite simple, compared to a Danish Christmas. Christmas Eve was centered around the birth of little Jesus in his crib under the Christmas tree, and consisted of choral singing at midnight mass in the village church, followed by hot chocolate and juicy sausage rolls at home.  On Christmas Day, the entire family gathered at my grandparents’ for lunch consisting of rabbit stew with prunes and brown beer, and lots of stories and laughter around a very long table.

What do you think is most annoying about Danish Christmas?

I found the Danish Christmas tradition quite overwhelming at first but now I think it is “hyggeligt” (Danish expression for a cozy athmosphere, ed.) and I have fully embraced it – well almost… I can’t quite get my head around all the “nisser” (elfs, ed.) and the hype about presents, and the numerous “Jule Frokoster” (Christmas lunches, ed.) – where the same food is served over and over again …

- Vrolijk Kerstfeest

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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