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Exchange students share holiday festive traditions

Magnus Huss
Magnus and his family having a festive dinner

Most people know about the ideal American Christmas: green conifers adorned with a variety of ornaments, stockings hung on the mantle, cups of piping hot cocoa, candy canes, a plump, rosy-cheeked Santa Claus, and many other iconic symbols. Well, for many parts of the world, this may not be the case.

From the visitations of the foul demon Krampus and the loving St. Nicholas to Alpine children early in December, to the log that is fed and watered throughout the Advent, Tió de Nadal of Catalonia, Spain, Christmastime can be exciting and interesting. While there are plenty of traditions and celebrations to write about, this article will cover the traditions of the families of Magnus Huss and Kyan Meservey, Park High’s two exchange students.

Kyan Meservey, who comes from France, celebrates Christmas in a very similar manner to the U.S, but with uniquely French aspects. When decorating the tree, the youngest member of the family places the star atop the tree. While his household decor may appear the same as the Americans, his dining table is where the differences begin. On Christmas Eve, Kyan and his family enjoy a meal of duck liver, salmon, Raclette (a heated cheese round), Fondue (heated mix of cheese and wine served with hors d’oeuvres), and oysters for the adults. This meal is finished off with a frozen traditional French Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) cake. After the meal and many hours of merry festivities, Kyan’s family opens their presents at midnight. Christmas Day itself is mostly seen as a day of rest and a break from the celebrations of the night before.

Magnus Huss, who comes from Denmark, celebrates in a very similar manner to Meservey, but, of course, with a Danish touch to it. Magnus gathers with his family to celebrate, starting by dancing and singing around the Christmas tree. Magnus continues his celebrations by playing the Risalamande game, where a whole almond is hidden in the Risalamande (rice pudding with almonds and cinnamon), and the first person to find it wins a small prize. Magnus also opens his presents on the night of Christmas Eve, so his Christmas Day is also quite relaxing.

This year, however, both boys will be celebrating differently. Kyan will be returning to France to celebrate with his family for a couple weeks, which he describes as “Every time we celebrate, it’s been great.” Magnus will be staying in Livingston for Christmas, stating “I’m excited, it’s going to be good.”

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James Melin
James Melin, Writer
Senior at Park High School. Avid College and Pro Sports enthusiast. Big Formula Racing, Endurance Racing, and Rally Racing Enthusiast. Fly Fisherman, Hunter, Hiker, and Kayaker. Avid Music and Film Enthusiast.

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