What is it like to celebrate christmas away from home, in a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas, even? Not so bad, after all!
– Come along!
To be totally honest, I was a bit skeptical about the prospect of celebrating Christmas in Beijing. Especially as the recurring question of “are you excited to go home for the holidays and see your family?” started to become more of an annoyance than a conversation starter. As a Scandinavian I already lack patience with smalltalk, this one question started to feel like torture – like a stab at my already bleeding little Christmas heart. Sigh.
But, as luck would have it, I am surrounded by wonderful likeminded friends here on campus and the vast majority are nowhere near so privileged as getting to visit their families several times a year! But, as we say in Denmark, no misfortune is so great it isn’t good for something!
We ended up banding together to create our own little gang of Christmas lovers! Particularly we enjoyed things like Christmas themed emoji’s, movie nights and a magical secret santa gift exchange!
But before the secret santa gift exchange, I joined the annual Christmas eve party at a local café, which a lot of us students frequent. This was particularly great for me, since Christmas eve is the main celebration of Christmas in Danish culture! The party included large amounts of delicious food (the staff even made up a very special vegetarian dish for me!), beer and a secret santa gift exchange. After a fun Christmas quiz, which my team of all Asian Rudolphs didn’t entirely lose, the dancing and even more drinking started! While getting drunk and grinding on the dancefloor is not exactly a Christmas eve tradition in Denmark, I enjoyed celebrating the night with new and old friends! This was probably one of the most fun and heartwarming Christmas celebrations I’ve experienced in my young life.
The next morning awaited the gift exchange party with my Christmas loving elf-like friends. We all gathered in the Christmas den – a mysterious unspecified place of Christmas magic, somewhere in the exchange students’ dormitory. In the Christmas den there’s Christmas lights and Christmas music, wine and cheese and Christmas cheer a’plenty!
In the magical Christmas den we enjoyed a large spread of various cheese’s on crackers, Christmas carols, Christmas hats, cookies etc. We had so much fun opening presents and guessing each other’s secret santas… I received many very special and very personal gifts from a very sweet and dear santa. But like many other mysteries of the Christmas den this too shall remain a secret…
After a late dinner and more wine and more Christmas cheer, I decided to call it a night – although I wished the day could have lasted forever!
My friend Chloe made a wonderful little vlog about our secret santa exchange – you can watch it right here!
Until next time, I would like to thank everyone who has made this year so wonderful and rich. I never thought I would be so happy and content or that I would get to experience so many parts of the world!
A very happy new year to all!