Hello to everyone reading my blog today and thank you for dropping by.
a multi-cultural family, it isn't always easy keeping up the traditions
you had as a child. Over the years, I have learned that I must step
back a bit and allow my children to experience the culture they live in
as well as try to keep my own traditions alive.
would like to share with you how Christmas is celebrated in Germany for
most Christian families. Christmas Eve, December 24th, is the most
special day and counts as Christmas or "Heiligabend." This is the day when the immediate family celebrates. Most families will have a Christbaum that
is either bought, recycled (plastic) or is cut down in the forest (with
permission of course). Some families decorate the Christmas tree
together, but most will be decorated by the parents on December 24,
right before presents are opened. The size of a tree is generally
smaller than in America. The cost ranges between 15€ and 60€. To prevent
the children in the house from seeing the tree being decorated, the
windows in the living room will usually be covered or the door will be
locked. Decorations on the tree will usually be uniform and simple with
handmade straw ornaments and uni-colored balls.
the tree is decorated, the family goes to church in the evening and
returns home to find presents under a decorated Christmas tree. This is
usually prompted by a single ringing bell which signals that the Christkind
(or Christ-Child, visually known as an angel) has come, has
spontaneously decorated the tree and delivered presents, especially for
the still growing children in the house. The presents will then be
opened right before the children go to bed. A light dinner may also
usually served in the evening.
December 25 is known as the first Christmas day and is spent with grandparents where the Christkind has
also come and delivered yet more presents. This is usually the day
where the larger extended family comes together and celebrates with a
more formal dinner and present exchange.
December 26 is
known as the second Christmas day and is usually spent with friends.
This usually works out well for families who go to their children's
grandparents home to celebrate. It gives the parents a chance to catch
up with their friends who they have not seen in a while. It is also
really nice to take advantage of the grandparents as babysitters so the
parents can have an evening out.
Since we are an American-German family, we try to incorporate both traditions of the Christkind and Santa Claus. Additionally, there is another fellow who comes into the picture - Sankt Nikolaus
or St. Nick who visits on December 6 and leaves behind little goodies
for the children in their shoes. How to explain all of this to your
child? My children believe that Santa and St. Nick are brothers and all
those men and women wearing Santa clothing in the stores and in public
are just helpers, because Santa is majorly busy at the North Pole
getting all those presents ready.
I wish you and your
families a very happy holiday season filled with loving memories,
peaceful moments and a healthy/prosperous new year.