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Bucharest city tales: Take care of each other, it’s Xmas time


Columnist Eleonore af Schaumburg-Lippe writes in her weekly column about life as an expat in Romania. This week she writes about taking care of each other and not letting anyone be alone on Christmas.

Christmas is just around the corner and many of the expats are traveling or have already traveled to their home country to spend the festive season with their families. But there are some expats who can’t travel home for different reasons; maybe they have been away too long so they don’t have the same connection to family and friends in their home country, the plane ticket and hotel stay etc. are too expensive and they are now long term expats in Romania.

I know it is a little taboo and some expats are not keen to say that they will be spending Christmas eve alone, some have maybe tried it before, and pretend that they are ok with it. But we all know, or can imagine, that being alone and looking at other people celebrating Christmas in all the merrily lit apartments is not a pleasant feeling.

So this is my little Christmas wish and request to the expat community: talk to each other and ask: What are you doing for Christmas and New Years Eve? If you hear that someone is going to be alone especially during Christmas day, then ask if they want to join your celebration, or go together and celebrate Christmas. It doesn’t have to be only expats celebrating together, Romanian friends of yours, anyone who will be alone on Christmas, please ask them to join your Christmas party too.

If I wasn’t going to travel for Christmas, I would have invited as many as I could of those that I knew would be alone. It would have two purposes. Firstly, no one would be alone. And secondly, I am really not good at cooking, so it might have turned out that some of the other alone people would help in the kitchen. Just the thought of celebrating the holidays with a lot of people from different countries could create quite an special evening, with different traditions. So be there for each other.

I want to introduce you to the Danish word “Hygge” which can be translated best as “coziness”. This is something that can inspire you for the Christmas celebrations.

“Hygge” is an atmosphere that we like to create in Denmark, and especially now Danish people talk about Julehygge, Christmas coziness, but we use the word “Hygge” all year round.

It is about being good to you and/or to others, creating a relaxed atmosphere where you can laugh and have a good time. To create this atmosphere, there are several options, only the imagination sets the limit. One could be creating a family day where all of you stay in the kitchen and bake Christmas sweets and cakes, finding old recipes, or just cuddling up under a warm blanket on a sofa watching movies and drinking hot chocolate, while looking at the snow outside. Or enjoying a walk where you visit all the Christmas Markets. Actually you can make up your own way of “Hygge”, it is all about creating a cozy atmosphere.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Mos Craciun, La Multi Ani, Glædelig Jul og godt Nytår!

By Eleonore af Schaumburg-Lippe, columnist

Eleonore is Danish, she holds a BA in Organization and Management and specializes in Corporate Communication & Strategic Development. She is also a Market Economist and a Multimedia Designer. She is currently working in Bucharest as the Executive Director of UAPR the Romanian Advertising Association. As a Danish Viking in Romania, with a great passion for ’covrigi’, she has a burning desire to find out more about Romania especially Bucharest, and enlighten the small differences in the culture between Denmark and Romania.. Her weekly columns will give you insights into an expats life in Bucharest written with humor and a big Danish smile.

(photo source: sxc.hu)