Christmas is coming and as I have lived (survived) through my first Autumn in Germany, I can see myself looking forward to Christmas a lot more here than I normally would. I would normally just be grinch like and annoyed by it all, especially with shops being decorated and blaring out jingle balls in early November, yes I said jingle balls.
It is getting bitterly cold, today the skies were relatively clear yet it was 1 degree and it even snowed for a brief period of time. It got dark at 4:30…Months of early darkness, snow and cold are not cool (literally yes but not figuratively). It is during this time of year, you really need something good to look forward to, a hero, step forward Christmas.
I liken my sudden craving for Christmas to having only plain water crackers to eat for years on end and then I get given a delicious BBQ cracker. You can bet I will savor that cracker and be licking those weird BBQ flavored chemicals from my fingers for the next hour or so.
That is what we have here with Christmas. The weather and lack of light puts the already cheerful German population (and this kiwi) into a less cheerful water cracker state. In comes Christmas with all its BBQ flavor to save the day.
Being in Germany I have different things I look forward to from Christmas than I have in the past. I am looking forward to seeing Christmas lights brighten the night, vising Christmas markets for hot sweet treats as well as destroying a sausage or three. I will enjoy trying to find the delicate balance of warming my hand holding Glühwein and not burning it. I look forward to baking cookies with my Mother-in-Law and have a candle lit feast with the family in a warm well insulated and heated German house.
I also like having a real Christmas tree which we never really did in New Zealand or Australia. The one we have pictured above I am very proud of. You could say I liberated (or stole/ tree napped) it from a park but probably should not have. Either way now we have a great, free tree which I plan to keep alive and continue using for many Christmas times to come.
NZ and Australian Christmas’s are just different. No better or no worse. My main thing I usually looked forward to was to escape from what ever horrible job I happened to be in at the time. Next it would be to see family as I was not usually in the same city as them. Food was not really a big deal. We might have a BBQ or a roast but they were not a special Christmas only type fare as they do in Germany. I also did not have the ferocious hunger that sub zero temperatures can bring (at least that is what I blame it on).
The other thing that is kind of nice is the religious aspect of Christmas is much more prominent in Germany. To be clear, I am no church attendee nor do I lean towards any religious belief. However I can appreciate the tradition of it all and enjoy learning about it and partaking in some traditions.
The first thing on this topic I want to say is that yesterday (the 27th November) was the first advent so we lit our candle on our advent wreath thing. What is an advent you ask? Well Wikipedia says it is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for Christmas. It starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas so there are four advents and you light a candle on the reef thing each Sunday.
I never knew this stuff before coming here. I knew about advent calendars and opening them for treats though I had no comprehension on what an advent itself was. I have two of these advent calendars to keep track off, who said men can’t multi task?
So there you go, it might be depressing as hell climate wise here now, but there is still old school Christmas magic to get us through the dark times. I have a strange compulsion to say Merry Christmas now but it is way too early. Let me say Merry Countdown to what ever date you are counting down to for your Christmas holidays to begin. I know the struggle…