The annual Christmas event Alternative Christmas for the drug and street environment in Oslo is ready for a unique Christmas Eve.
Many believe Alternative Christmas has been canceled this year, but on Christmas Eve they go off the rails with their 53rd Christmas Eve event. Whatever the degree may show.
– This will be unique. We have never held a Christmas tree party in ten degrees Celsius before, says Henning Holstad, head of Alternative Christmas to Aftenposten.
He and the volunteer staff are afraid that people will mistakenly think the Christmas party has been canceled.
Earlier in December, they had to cancel the event they had planned indoors. But now everyone is invited to a special Christmas Eve in the “stable” out in the open.
Santa party and walk around the Christmas tree
The celebration at Youngstorget opens at 3 pm and lasts until midnight. Previously, there used to be 1000 guests on Christmas Eve. Holstad expects a sharp decline in the number of guests this year.
– We normally have 2500 guests on Christmas Eve and the 1st and 2nd day. I would think a few hundred people will come tomorrow, says Holstad.
He entices with proper Christmas food, elves, gifts and entertainment. And not least: campfires and tents with heat lamps.
– We have six fire pans and tents, and we will serve hot Christmas food. This will be a real Christmas tree party, says Holstad and adds:
– We strongly encourage you to wear good, warm clothes and footwear.
Alternative Christmas is first and foremost an offer for the drug and street environment in the capital, but everyone is welcome.
– This is a free offer for those who have no one to celebrate Christmas with. Now we are making an alternative-alternative Christmas, says Holstad.
Would not disappoint for the second year in a row
Holstad has been involved in arranging Alternative Christmas for 50 years. On Christmas Eve, he was busy with a pixie workshop at Klemetsrud.
– We wrap Christmas presents in a room we have borrowed here. It is quite busy now to get everything ready for Christmas Eve, he says.
Last year’s party indoors was also canceled. Instead, they invited to waffles and a small celebration on Youngstorget. This year there is a full party, promises Holstad.
– We think it was too wrong that the event, which has lasted so long and which means so much to the guests, should be canceled for the second year in a row. We would not disappoint this year again.
– How do you comply with the infection control measures?
– We use face masks and keep our distance when we serve food. This is an outdoor event and we believe we will be able to comply with the infection control rules, he answers.
100 volunteers will work for Alternative Christmas on Christmas Eve itself.