As a kid my Christmas started on December 1st when I opened the first window on my advent calendar. Each window had the most beautiful little picture behind it. Images like a Christmas bell, a gingerbread man, a candy cane, an angel and many others. As I got older I could remember from previous years what came next but never dared to open a window a day early!
Then came December 6th. This was the morning I woke up to chocolates in my shoes, if I’d been really good I might even get a little toy.
Now that I’m a 48 year old kid sometimes St Nikolaus leaves the chocolates at my Mom’s house for me to pick up or he mysteriously places them on my desk at the glamjulz studio.
Growing up with German parents who kept their traditions really made my Christmas quite different to the type of Christmas that my friends were celebrating.
Our tree was decorated on the 24th of December, just in time for Christmas Eve when all of our family would gather. My Oma would make her famous Fish roe soup and we would eat salmon with potato salad, there would always be Stollen on the table. This is a German Bread with candied fruit and nuts inside with icing sugar on top. To me it always tasted very dry and watching my Onkel Peter dunk it into his fish soup kind of grossed me out, definitely not one of my favourites.
After dinner the Christkind would ring a little bell which meant we were allowed to get up from the dinner table, gather around the tree, and open our presents. It’s so strange, my Mom was never in the room when that bell was jingling. Hmmmmmm.
We proceeded to the Christmas tree and opened all of our gifts. We nibbled on goodies on the Bunter Teller which was laid out with beautiful cookies made by my Oma, juicy mandarin oranges and nuts.
On Christmas morning we slept in a little and then enjoyed a nice breakfast. My brother and I would want to call all of our friends and tell them what we got for Christmas the night before but we had to wait until after lunch because our friends were having their family time on Christmas Morning.
Once my brother and I got into our late teens and early twenties, we had friends flocking to our house after 9:00pm on Christmas Eve with bottles of liqueur for my parents. They were all excited to be a part of the German Christmas celebrations, I suppose it was more exciting than what was going on at their house. Likewise on Christmas morning my brother and I would head out around 11am and go visit all of our friends to see how they celebrate with their families and we were always welcomed with open arms.
Over the years some of these traditions have changed and new ones have also been created.
I am so grateful to have all of these great memories. I am also thankful to have friends with diverse cultures and backgrounds to celebrate with. Friends who over the years have become family.
No matter how you are celebrating this evening I hope you are surrounded by the love of the people that mean the most to you.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have a bunch of presents I need to rip open!
Ha ha! You have to wait until tomorrow morning!