So sorry that I have been MIA people, between traveling to the Duesseldorf area and the holidays, I have really dropped the ball on my usual posting. I promise to try harder!!
Anyway, since we are still in the Christmas spirit (at least here in Germany celebrating on the 26th, which is also known as 2nd Christmas) I decided to delve in the new cultural traditions I have learned this Christmas.
I know a lot of people have asked me how I feel about spending Christmas away from home….
This is not my first Christmas away from the US and the family.
Back in 2009 I went to Peru and spent both Christmas and New Years with my family there:
Both then and now, I have come to the same conclusion. While I have had a lot of fun and enjoyed great food and company: I don’t really feel like I have celebrated Christmas. I feel like I have celebrated a new holiday that happens to share the same name.
This is the a year where I didn’t do my annual lunch with my siblings, dinner with my mom’s friends, exchanging presents/dinner party with my friends, dinner and waiting until midnight to open presents with my Peruvian family or the typical pajama/movie marathon with my parents. There are a lot of things that go into my idea of Christmas and since none of these things have happened, I feel like that I am still in the build up stage until the real Christmas comes.
To put it in the words of a good friend who was also an expat: it’s like having a year without Christmas.
I am not saying that this is a bad thing. I have had a lot of fun with my Germans this holiday season as well as getting to learn their traditions (as well as sneak a few of my own). It’s just at the moment I don’t feel like I have missed Christmas back home yet.
But it will hit me when I start seeing photos on Facebook, like seeing my mom having to go to Christmas mass for the first time without me.
All right, enough sap. What traditions have I learned this year?
Well first, in Germany Christmas actually spans 2.5 days. The 24th is when the presents are opened (after dinner). T’s nephews were getting very impatient and tried to get into the living room where the Tree and presents were. T beat them to the punch and threatened that the Krampus was going to come (if he kept misbehaving).
The Krampus is more of an Austrian tradition. He’s is one of St. Nicholas’ helpers who punishes misbehaving children:
Needless to say the youngest nephew started to cry (and left the living room alone). We adults just chuckled.
Earlier in the day, I added a little Peruvian to the German mix by making Peruvian cookies called Alfajores. They were a hit!
Then, we ate an awesome dinner with Raclette
This consisted of putting cheese, meat, and veggies into a little pan and place them under the Raclette (which is like a table stove). Everything is heated up and eaten anyway you’d like (some I ate as is, others I put on bread).
We ate until we had to waddle upstairs to the living room where the tree was:
As you can see – our little Krampus was already there waiting for the misbehaving children.
Then the children tore in and eviscerated the presents….very much like in this comic from The Oatmeal:
The three of us were happy with our gifts as was everyone else. Then we spent the rest of the night playing games (like Uno) and watching Home Alone (or the German title: Kevin – Allein zu Hause)
Even Abner was pooped by the end – he also loved the Teddy Bear I got him:
The next day was the 25th (also known as 1st Christmas). We spent the morning with my own tradition: I introduced T to White Christmas:
T’s brother and lady love came with the twins and T’s mom made us duck for lunch:
We spent the rest of the day playing the with the twins and eating, eating, eating. Eventually we decided that after all the eating – we had to go for a walk:
Yes, Abner went, too.
We are now in the 26th (or 2nd Christmas). Today is our lazy day, which finally gave me the time to write to you lovely people. Later this evening, T and I will be joining our besties Marcel and Nicola as we head to the Alps for La Mari’s ever first Skiing trip.
Wish me luck!
Merry 2nd Christmas and Bis Montag!!!