Christmas is in the air, ornaments are hanging from every possible corner, the shops are filling up more than usual and the Christmas dream is a beautiful thing!
So, we are down two sunday from the four leading to Christmas and I had thought about making a sort of christmasy photo shoot thing but hell, as much as I like the cold, that won’t be happening anytime soon, cool as the idea may have been when I formed it in my head.
Christmas is serious business in this part of the world… I mean really serious. Forget jollof rice or goat and cow and of course chicken slaughtering as per Nigerian tradition. The Germans have a serious issue with christmas traditions and I totally love it!
I mean if we want to talk serious traditions…wow but I will just concentrate on the ones that I fancy big time.
Even before I moved to Germany, this has always been my greatest Christmas fascination. The decoration, the little angel or star at the top. The little decor gift wrapped boxes, the ornaments, the lights… it’s incredible. The Tannenbaum is huge in this part and it is quite possible that nine out of ten homes have a tree up. You have the choice to either buy the real or the kunst and of course the prices can range from holy shit cheap to outrageous teuer but the truth is the sight of a christmas tree sitting pretty in a corner is basic heaven!
Another piece of Christmas tradition the Germans do not play with. And as the name implies, the markets are just that! Tons of Christmas ornaments, food and knick knacks are sold. This is where the all fave glühwein comes in!
I absolutely love glühwein…that crap is amazing I swear and you can fall a victim of the drunken state kind if you are not careful! No it’s not wine that has glue in it… don’t be silly! And no it does not glow either! It’s more like mulled wine prepped from heated up red wine mixed with spices of different kind. Sounds weird I know! Pipping hot red wine howww??? Well it’s very popular among the locals and visiting tourists love it as well. What’s not to love? It’s sweet, it’s warm and the warm mug is oh so perfect in your gloved hand as you walk around the market or even better sit by the stall so you keep purchasing all the cups you can handle! There are various versions… I once heard about the white wine glühwein but I have never seen or tried that one. The glühwein usually comes in festive mugs and you have the choice to keep these mugs if you pay extra cash or you can just return it and get your deposit back. No I have never kept a mug but I just might this year!
This one I am still trying to figure out so will give you heads up! But it is basically a spiced cake which is very chewy and loved by the locals and it’s seen mostly in Christmas. I mostly see the dark bitter type and no I don’t do dark chocolate at all mbok. My taste buds are weird like that ???. But the sight of the packs in the shops excite me and remind me that Christmas is definitely in the air
I did not really know about this one until we did it at work. Now it’s not exactly a tradition but I thought it was cool. What we did was, the boss wrote names of every worker and put them all in a basket. The theme was: what you will need when stranded on an island. Each worker picks up a piece of paper and you buy a gift based on the theme for the name you picked. Then at the office Christmas dinner, the gifts are exchanged and we all laugh. It’s a fun way to stay close knitted when working in a small firm with less than 50 employees.
This is one tradition the kids love. Adults too depending on the calendar you get! So how this works is that calendars have themes and all you do is open up a spot on the calendar according to the date and you get a surprise. Starting from the first day in the month of December until the last day. Kids definitely love the chocolate Advent calendar. It’s the one time in the year you are allowed candy bars everyday! I once saw a make up advent calendar in Douglas and I was so tempted to get it but my make up life has sort of died a very natural death so I probably won’t be as excited as if I got candy bars instead! But the idea is cool and hey it keeps everyone happy!
Adventskranz Mit Kerzen
Another part of Advent is the lighting of the four candles every Sunday before Christmas. Imagine a wreath with four big candles. Every Sunday, one gets lighted to represent the advent Sundays before Christmas. For Christians it is a reminder that Jesus came into the world as an infant and died later in life to save humanity. Germany is a Christian nation so it is no surprise that they can be quite religious sometimes. But the truth is the Advent is now more than just Christianity or religion. It’s about life, hope, and love. The season where goodness is Queen and happiness is at the forefront of humanity.
Oh and just for a bit of icing, the ever glorious St Nikolaus Tag which is usually on the 6th and the weihnachtsman chocolate is a big hit for the day! Well actually shops start to sell tons of variations of this cutie but the St Nikolaus Tag is the first gift exchange day between loved ones. According to legend, this is the day St Nikolaus gives away half his suit to the homeless which I presume is to keep them warm right?
For our own tradition, we visit the Schwiegermutter on Christmas day for a bountiful Christmas lunch which is always so tasteful, juicy and holy crap amazing! Except when she tries to force me to eat Sauerkraut and rohtkol!