Notes from Abroad by Tabatha Pilon – A Christmas in Denmark – January 3, 2012

CFN – Before I had left Canada, I had not realized how unbelievably commercialized Christmas was in North America. It seems that in Canada, it is more important to receive gifts than it is to be with family and enjoy the holidays.   


This year, as I checked Facebook Christmas night, there were so many happily posted status’ that proclaimed the person to have received a new laptop, or iPod, or some name brand thing, etc. Yet, in Denmark, it is not about what you get for Christmas, it is about spending time together.   This year, I had an amazing Christmas!


On Christmas eve, after a marvelous morning of sleeping in, I attended a Lutheran church service with my two sisters, mum, and grandparents while my dad stayed home to continue preparing our feast for the night. The Lutheran church in itself was a different experience, as I hadn’t yet attended a church service here in Denmark until then. It was so different from a Catholic Church, despite the fact that I was unable to understand anything of what was being said— it was still Church, so it was still nice. The pastor was a woman, for one. And a lot of the time she spoke with her back to us, which I still do not understand.

Her wardrobe was different from the catholic church as well, with a black robe and a large puffy white collar.   When I had first seen the pastor, I had immediately thought back to the movie ‘Thumbelina’, and I realized that because the story was written by the Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen, it made so much sense as to why the mole had worn the same outfit.  After we attended church, we walked home and soon after had supper, which consisted of all the traditional foods, followed by some risalamande, for which I did not find the hidden almond, but instead my sister did!

We sat and talked at the dinner table for about 2-3 hours, after which it was time to go get the presents and put them under the tree! So with the help of my mum, we had brought all the presents out from her room and got them positioned under the tree, as we then began to gather around the tree to light the candles that adorned the tree.   Once the lighting was finished, we clasped each others hands and with our best voices, began to sing christmas songs as we danced around the tree. And I must admit, I was very worried about the fact that there were candles on the Christmas tree. Lit candles. That was what I was focusing on while singing; ‘Don’t burn down the house. Don’t burn down the house. Don’t burn down the house.’ were the thoughts buzzing through my head.
Once we finished that, my “morfar”— grampa, picked up a present and handed it to the recepient. From there, we each took turns opening a present, and then choosing the next present for someone to open.  Overall, it was an amazing night! After we opened presents, my sisters went to play “Just Dance 3” with their aunt, and my mum, granparents and I played a bored game called “Partners”.  Christmas day, we spent the entire day with family at a building that you can rent out, so the entire family on my hostmum’s side was there. We had lunch, played games and had a fun day!

Overall, my Christmas this year was an amazing one that I will never forget, and it has reminded me of what sometimes is so easy to forget: Christmas time is about spending time with your family. With this, I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy New Year!  
Best Western Cornwall

1 Comment

  1. Candles on a Christmas tree? It must been a great sigh aaway from all the colored lights!!! However Denmark is still governed by the NFPA through the Danish Standards Association.

    Careful what you post in these forums, big brother may be watching.

    Good writings Tabatha, thanx

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