During Christmas Peter and Sussi, a Danish family, invited me to spend Christmas evening with them. After finishing the dinner, the ris a la mande, exchanging gifts, I then started interviewing the host family about the evening.
By Billy Hydar
Why did you apply to spend Christmas with an asylum seeker?
The regional Danish Red Cross told us that they have an activity where asylum seekers come and spend Christmas evening with a Danish family. We wanted to do something special during our Christmas as a family but also for the person we invited. We felt that nobody should stay alone on Christmas, the feeling of doing what jul (read: Christmas) is all about: happiness and joy.
Why didn’t you choose a Danish person?
For us it doesn’t matter who you are, neither color nor where are you from. Even if they were Danish people they will be more than welcome. It all depends how you can achieve to reach people, not about choosing.
What did your family or friends say to this idea?
A lot of friends told us, “after this your home is going to be emptied”, “are you insured?”. But when we talked on the phone with you it was above all of expectations. The happiness we felt on the phone with you, the feeling and the expectations already made us excited. This is what Christmas is about.
Is it because of the spirit of Christmas that you wanted to do it?
Whenever I get the chance to help people, I never hesitate. Not forgetting to mention my late dad, he used to be a human being with a big heart like the bear! He helped, and did so many things to his community. This year, I had a divorce, it’s been hard on me, actually the feeling of helping the other gives off the repayment, after that feeling, I know how exactly I should feel, and that was the only thing to make me feel better, believe me it works!
Is this a step towards living all together in one homogeneous society?
It’s an unlimited feeling. I can’t live in this world thinking that people I’m inviting to my own home around my wife and kids are criminals. Then I will live in fear and whoever is afraid should seriously “wake up”. It’s the same concept in the country as a whole. We all need each other. The idea of removing the “it doesn’t matter” is when everything starts. Many Danes don’t want to help because it doesn’t fit in the 8am-4pm working hours but if we are not open minded we can’t get the world running.
What are the expectations after this night?
Hopefully it gives a new loving and lasting friendship that doesn’t have to be conditioned with giving and taking.
Surely, as a reporter of the event, and as an immigrant, I find a step like spending Christmas with Danish people both can help Danish society and immigrants or refugees. It is a strengthening step towards understanding each others more, exercise our tolerance, and most importantly integrating it in the country, starting by a mixed Christmas evening.