December 24, 2013

We all know that Christmas traditions have changed throughout the years. How we celebrate today – decorating an indoor tree, stringing lights, sending holiday cards, loads of gifts, and even travel – are fairly new ways of celebrating (within the last 50-100 years). However, one thing has not changed, and is perhaps the most important part of the holidays, and that is the love of friends and family. No matter how or what you celebrate, it all centers around the joy of being with each other.

In reading old correspondences between Emma and her friends and family, and in talking with Mormor, residents of The Danish Home and thinking about my own family’s traditions, I’ve discovered that everyone looks forward to this time of year because it brings us closer together. We celebrate the traditions that we hold most dear and look forward to all year long, and I’ve found that these traditions mainly include three components: laughing, singing and eating!

I recently found a posting in the chest titled, “Christmas at The Old People’s Home.” It is dated January 4, 1913, so it would’ve been after Emma passed away, but I think it portrays the feel of a holiday celebration at The Home that she helped to build.
It reads:

Christmas became a joyous feast for the residents of the Danish Old People’s Home. The rooms were gayly decorated with flags and green wreaths and of course a beautiful Christmas tree was not missing, so that when coffee and genuine Danish Christmas Cake was served at o’clock, the real Christmas spirit pervaded the home. At 5 o’clock dinner consisting of goose and turkey with all the trimmings, was served, and later on gifts were distributed. Through out the evening fruit, candy and other refreshments were plentiful, and the old people were entertained with speeches, songs and music. A merry Christmas was had by all!

This makes me smile because this is exactly how The Home looks today with the tree lit, the decorations up and the joyous celebrations! Although much time has passed since this post from 1913, those timeless traditions still continue live on.

Recently, I sat around listening to the gracious residents tell me about their Danish Christmas traditions and the memories brought smiles to everyone’s faces. The holidays have that affect on us, don’t they? I loved hearing about Nisse, the mischievious elf, and all of the wonderful food, such as Risengrød (rice porridge typically served on Christmas Eve) and Aehleskiver (traditional Danish pancake) served on Christmas morning. It makes my mouth water just thinking about all of the great food we’ll have over the next few days!

Nisse the Danish Christmas Elf

Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season filled with laughter, great food and many, many wonderful new memories!

Glaedelig Jul! {Merry Christmas!}