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Christmas Experience
(publisert 2.januar 2009)

To all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Ok, so a few days ago I experienced my first Christmas ever in Norway and truely had a fantastic time. However, I want to give a full insight to the lead up to the holiday and why it was such a memorable time for me.

First of all I was not planning on spending Christmas away from my family and wife, however some issues came up here in Oslo, that I needed to take care of and see them through. So my adventure began 15 days earlier than it should have due to some unforeseeable events. So leaving a pregnant wife in the southern states of the U.S., I made my way back to Olso not even pondering what I was going to do for the holiday. To be honest at that point I was not really concerned. Soon that all changed when I arrived at Vallhall the following day and was invited to the Jul dinner for the VIF front office. Experiencing my first taste of traditional JUL food and the tradition of friends sharing drinks and time together really sparked my holiday chords and that feeling of the Christmas holiday had finally arrived. That night I was asked about taking gifts to the children at the cancer hospital and thought that would be an enjoyable thing to do at this time of year; thus I joined Fellah and Moa a few days later to bring the children their gifts and spread the holiday spirit. So my Norwegian Christmas experience was off to a great start.

As many of you saw on the NRK interview I did spend my Christmas Eve with Kjetil and his wife's family who opened up their house and hearts to allow me to join them in their traditions for the holiday. I must say he is truly a fortunate man to have such a loving and enjoyable family around him. That night was really fantastic, so much so that even Santa clause made a visit to deliver some gifts for the kids who all had mixed emotions about the mysterious man in a red suit knocking on the door. But all were thrilled with the gifts and I think even more so with the cakes and cookies afterwards. The night was a great view into the Norwegian family traditions and how important it all is to the Norwegian way of life, this explains why you all believe that a summer holiday should last two months and the Christmas holiday should last the whole month of December. As you can tell I am not sure about the good of such long holidays, but then again I am an American and from a place where holidays are usually only celebrated the day of the holiday on the calendar.

The biggest difference for me was not the food, because I really enjoyed all the traditional food, but it was the singing by all. To this I was really delighted because it really engraved in me the importance of the unification of everyone in attendance and made it that much more special. So kudos to you all for doing a holiday the way it should be done and I cannot thank Kjetil, his wife, and her family enough for allowing me to experience such a wonderful time.

Thanks again and Happy New Year,

Troy Perkins

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