Christmas Dinner in Old Christiania
A Christmas Dinner in old Christiania
On Christmas evening I found myself once more at the pleasant home of my friends in Christiania (now Oslo). The children were delighted to see me, and bright-eyed little Kristine and her young brother beamed with delight when I told her how astonished I had been while in New York to receive a large letter from her. I told her that at first I thought the letter was not intended for me; but there was no mistake, and it had the Christiania postmark.
I opened the envelope and found a pair of slippers, which fitted me perfectly. "It is a gift from Kristine!" cried the boys, who did not give me time to finish my sentence; "she embroidered them herself.""But how did she discover the size of my foot?"
Before the answer came dinner was announced, and I was the only stranger in that large family circle, where young and old were seated together round the table.
After christmas dinner the excitement became great among the young folks, for the door of the large drawing-room had been strictly closed against all.
Suddenly there was a rush, the door was opened, and a shout of wonder and delight rang among the children.
In the centre of the great room a large Christmas-tree was blazing with the light of scores of little wax-candles of bright colors; the branches were laden with gifts.
We formed a ring round the tree, holding each other's hands, alternately advancing and retiring while we sang.
After the dance and the song we seated ourselves. The faces of the children were beaming with happiness, and they waited to see what Santa Claus had brought them.
Their eager eyes watched the tree, and, as each parcel was taken off, there was a dead silence before the name was read, and then a rush to see, and exclamations of joy and wonder, which made those who had as yet received no gift the more impatient and anxious.
Indeed, one must have been heavily laden with care and sorrow who could not be happy at the sight of those bright and joyous faces on that festival-night. It made the old young again, and for a while, at least, drove trouble away.
A large parcel was taken from one of the branches of the tree, and everybody was curious to know for whom it was intended, for it was the largest of all.
It was for me! I opened the package, all crowding round, and found a beautiful muff, made of the skin of a fox. It was a thoughtful remembrance from. my kind friend and his wife. "It will be very useful to you this winter, when you are travelling in the far North," said the hostess.
Very useful it was, indeed; besides, it became an object of great curiosity to the primitive inhabitants of the interior. The remainder of the evening passed off quietly, and by ten o'clock all had retired or gone home.
-- Story from “The Land of the Midnight Sun” published in 1882