It was our daughters' 5th and 3rd Christmas, respectively. Each of these has been here in Germany. Perhaps they'll get to celebrate Christmas in Hungary next year, their other home country.
Not being religious we leave out church (though the kids did get to go to church with the other kindergarten kids, so they aren't completely missing out on that part of German culture). We do foster a few traditional German Christmas rituals and some of our very own family rituals.
Presents are opened on Christmas Eve here in Germany. In our small nuclear family we prepare the living room (setting up the tree etc.) during the night of the 23rd and keep the living room closed throughout the 24th. In the late afternoon of the 24th the family mills around the dining room for cookies and/or drinks. "Santa" known as "der Weihnachtsmann" rings a bell from within the living room three times (in intervals). This requires some logistical pre-planning and one of us to sneak away from time to time to go ring the bell. It has always worked well so far. Of course this modus operandi deprives the kids of decorating the tree so we may change this as they get older. The kids' joy is always quite overwhelming (for all of us), when they finally get to enter the "Christmas room".
Of course food plays an important part of our very own Christmas proceedings. We usually have one of our main meals on Christmas Eve which is not typical for German families who more often than not will have Wieners and Mashed potatoes or some other similar "factory lunch" in support of the "Hausfrau". And when my sister Sibylle visits for Christmas, which was the case this year, there is usually some form of exotic communal cooking going on more or less around the clock.
Today being Sunday we get a third holiday (not that it usually makes that much of a difference what day of week it is at the castle - except Wednesdays when Kati and I religiously take the day off, which is not to say that some of my best business ideas weren't born on these office-free days). We are now gearing up to the New Year's Ball and bookings are picking up. The daughters are enjoying their presents (and, of course, quarreling over some of them).
The tree stays up until the 7th of January (something I insist on, although Kati would prefer to keep it up longer). But as I am prone to relent on how to execute most other Christmas rituals, I stay firm on this one.
Merry Christmas, folks!
Photo: Traditional German gingerbread house decorated with candy.
Sonntag, 27. Dezember 2009
Sonntag, 20. Dezember 2009
Donnerstag, 17. Dezember 2009
Dienstag, 15. Dezember 2009
Freitag, 11. Dezember 2009
Samstag, 5. Dezember 2009
It's almost upon us, once again. At least Kati and I agree that the tree doesn't go up until Christmas Eve (although we can't seem to be able to agree that it could come down right after Christmas or January 6th, at the latest...).
So: no tree yet. The picture is of an "Adventskranz", you know, the wreath Germans have with four candles on it. Each Sundays before Christmas one more candle is lit. So tomorrow number two is on for its big appearance.