5,088 miles away from home, junior foreign exchange student Caroline Murmann is spending her Christmas in good ol’ Joshua, Texas. For nearly an entire year, JHS foreign exchange students live away from their friends and families in their home countries. Joshua is definitely not like her hometown, Copenhagen, Denmark, so her holidays are bound to be spent differently this year.
“We have our Christmas on the 24th, and we open presents at night, after dinner,” Murmann said. “Then on the 25th, we have like a second Christmas, where we eat the leftovers and do other stuff.”
Christmas decorations are iconic this time around, and things are no different in Copenhagen.
“[We put up lots of different decorations, like] lights, snowflakes, decorating the trees.”
There’s always been a huge debate about when it’s acceptable to put up Christmas decorations.
“We have street lights since I live in the city, so we have big street lights that are put up on December 4th.” Murmann said. “After the 10th, people start decorating the house. They usually put up the tree on the 20th, because they die pretty quickly. We have real Christmas trees, like real living trees. Plastic ones are for like, if you want a little [tree] in your room, but for the living room, we have real [trees.]”
Lights and decorations aren’t the only things on people’s minds during the holiday season. Gift-giving may not be the reason for the season, but finding gifts for loved ones is definitely on many people’s minds.
“My siblings, I give silly gifts to.” Murmann said. “When I was younger, I used to re-gift some of their own things because I didn’t have any money, and parents usually give the real gifts.”
Anyone who lives in Texas knows that the weather is more or less bipolar; It could be below freezing at 7 a.m. and by lunchtime it’s hotter than the sun, so it’s not very often Texas gets a white Christmas. Nevertheless, memories are bound to be made, whether it’s a white Christmas or one featuring the Texas heat.
“There’s so many memories…Denmark is very very cold, but it’s not very often that we get snow that actually stays on the ground on Christmas, because I live in the city and most of the time cars drive over it and it becomes slush.” Murmann said. “But like five years ago, we had a white Christmas which was really fun and we went in my backyard and just built a snowman, my small cousins and I.”