Today, we'd like to share a little background behind the team at Influenced by Nature---something Christmas related. Of course, we have our host, Stine Eiersholt. New to IbN, we have a supporting staff member, Michelle Lee. Check out what they have to say about their Christmas traditions!
In Denmark we say that Christmas is "hjerternes fest" which translates to something like the festival of hearts or love. And I really believe that. People gather with family and friends, cozy up to hot cups of mulled wine and watch when the lights are lit at their local town Christmas tree. Christmas is officially celebrated on December 24th and we don't want to hear anybody saying it is on the wrong day - we want to use all of the 25th to sleep in, eat leftovers and don't have to get out of our PJ's at all.
Every December throughout my childhood I would watch the 24-episode Christmas tv series that of cause would end like a fairytale on Christmas Eve with the holiday spirits being restored and everyone would be filled with happiness and joy. Yeah, it sounds slightly silly but it was incredible! And when you grow up, these 24-episode shows would be there for adults as well. What a treat!
Christmas in Denmark is so filled with traditions and I don't think I can dive into my own traditions without touching upon the subject of food. Christmas dinner, julefrokost (Christmas lunches), æbleskiver with glögg, homebaked gingerbread, ris á la mande and I could continue. If there is something sacred about the Danish season of Christmas it no longer seem to be the miracle of baby Jesus but the miracle of how many different dishes you can indulge throughout December.
Christmas Eve in itself is filled up with hygge and family-time. After everyone has eaten too much of the aforementioned food it is time to get those bodies back in shape so we take the once-a-year opportunity to hold hands while we dance around the tree and sing the same tradition-filled Christmas songs year after year.
I could keep rambling on about our different Christmas traditions but instead I want to take the opportunity to reflect on some other Christmases I've experienced. Lately I have been so lucky to explore Christmas in England together with my better half and his family. Even though England and Denmark are very closely located in Europe I found that some traditions are very different. There's the whole "let's celebrate Christmas on the 25th and then while we're at it why don't we use the 24th to go to a pub and get hammered?" (read: it is the exact same very sacred 24th that I've just been mentioning over and over in the past paragraphs). I still remember my first slightly confused Christmas in England but since then it has definitely grown on me. I love the English traditions and find them filled with as much love, family time, reflections and food festivities as at home. I think no matter where we go and celebrate our Christmas, though it might not look the same it will always contain the basic and most important element of being the season of love.
Big Christmas hugs from me!
"It's wonderful Stine has such solid Christmas traditions and gatherings. These are rather less embedded in me, but it's definitely something I'd aspire to build in the future. Just to demonstrate the unconventional Christmas traditions I have, I'd like to say that last year, I was on a flight back to Los Angeles the day of Christmas! My family does not have as deep cultural roots in Christmas as in comparison to the Mid Autumn Moon Festival or Chinese New Year, but we've come to use Christmas as an opportunity to get together.
This isn't to say that I haven't had my fair share of celebrations. But rather than a Julefrokost or American Thanksgiving/holiday -style foods, my gatherings have an Asian touch, reminiscent of my ancestors' cultures. This includes a Christmas morning trip to get Dim Sum at the one of many notable places in Los Angeles. The most eco-friendly green food?....I definitely cannot say that! And, if it's not Dim Sum, then we have hot pot, an Asian feast consisting of a large electric pot with soup stock in which we all place ingredients into and cook at the same time.
While the foods may be completely different than those comprising of a Danish Julefrokost or an American holiday meal, the themes remain the same: togetherness and family.
During the Christmas season, we often take drives around the neighborhoods to enjoy the Christmas lights and decorations that have been put up. Over the years, my sister and I have accumulated the best neighbourhoods to drive to for Christmas lights. Some communities collaborate to ensure the entire street is full of colour and lights are strung up from tree to tree across the street as if you are walking through a prismatic tunnel. This goes without saying that shopping centres are just the same!
This Christmas will be my first Christmas in Denmark and also one of my first few Julefroskosts. I'm rather excited and grateful for friends who have invited me to join in! Cheers!!"
We've made it to Christmas weekend! Stay warm, dry, and have a great time. IbN wishes you a wonderful and merry Christmas.