Christmas in Germany
After missing out on the Holiday festivities with my family last year, it was time to return to my roots and celebrate Christmas in Germany with my family and friends. Last year, I spent Christmas with my friends in Los Angeles, and I had a lot of fun. They always treat me like family, so thanks to them, Christmas away from my “real” family was not too hard. But Christmas alone in China? No, sorry, but that did not sound to appealing to me.
So on Saturday, December 22 I boarded my plane to Germany. The 10 1/2 hours really went by “flying”. I had a window seat and thanks to a clear sky, I had great ground visibility. I saw the Gobi Desert, Mongolia, Siberia, the great Baikal lake, unfortunately no view of the Ural, as it was clouded there, but a great view of the Baltic coast line. It was really amazing; I hadn’t had such a good view in years. I was picked up in Frankfurt by my Dad and we drove home. It was so good to see him and I couldn’t wait to be back home. On our drive home, we stopped next to the Autobahn and when I got out of the car, I took a deep breath and thought to myself: Wow, this is some clean air! Well, I said this while standing next to one of the busiest 6-lane streets in Germany, so I guess the air in Beijing is really somewhat polluted… When I arrived home, my sister Tina, her husband Tom and my two nieces Lisa and Anna waited for my outside with some sparklers to welcome me. It was so great to see and hug them again and to be finally home after 6 months.
How we celebrate Christmas in Germany – Family Traditions
Now let me tell you all about Christmas in Germany and our family Holiday traditions. In Germany, the most important day of Christmas is usually Christmas Eve, which is usually celebrated with close family at home. So on Christmas Eve, we attended the Children’s Service, because my two nieces Lisa and Anna both took part in the Nativity play. After that, we had a great dinner at my sister’s home with smoked salmon and trout, shrimps, and crawfish. Then my sister lit up the candles on our Christmas tree and we sang some Christmas songs, and then, most anticipated part of the evening, at least by the kids, the opening of the gifts. After having unwrapped, looked at, played with, and thanked for all the different gifts, we sat back down, talked, had some great Franconian wine and chocolate truffles. The next day, my Dad and I invited ourselves for lunch at my Godmother’s house. After some yummy German food, we drove to my Grandmother’s house to celebrate Christmas with my Mother’s side of the family. It was very nice to see everybody again, as I had not seen most of them for more than 1 1/2 years.
Because we are German and can never get enough of holidays and celebration, we celebrate Christmas in Germany for 3 days. So on the second Christmas day, everybody came to my sister’s house for a little get together… Everybody, that is: My dad, me, my sister, her husband, their two kids Lisa and Anna, my brother Thomas, his wife Bianca, their son Tim, my Grandmother, my Godmother, my uncle and my cousin. We had a great time, some more delicious food, more great wine and of course more presents to unwrap.
The following days, I spent visiting family and friends and with some slightly less agreeable appointments, such as a visit at the dentist and my physician. I went to my favorite bars, talked to many of my friends, whom I hadn’t seen for such a long time and time was just flying by. On December 30, all the family got together once more, this time at my Godmothers house for our annual “Rouladen-Essen”. Rouladen are a typical German dish made of rolled beef filled with bacon, onions, and pickles, gravy and dumplings. If you want to try this at home, here is a pretty authentic Rouladen recipe. We used to have it on Epiphany (January 6 th), but due to my absence we now just do it whenever I am in Germany. As usually, my aunt cooked an outstanding meal and most of us couldn’t stop eating until we had to open at least one button of our pants. Yes, Christmas in Germany is very food centered and I think my family takes it to a whole new level of indulging for 3 days straight and then again for New Years.
New Year’s Eve in Germany
On New Years Eve, my friends and I went to a party at a nearby bar called Mainstreet. The bar is next to a repair shop for motorcycles and owned by the same guys. So you can imagine what the bar must be like, Harley gas tanks on the wall, guys with long hair and beards in leather jackets and some good ol’ Rock played by Donny Vox and his band. Donny Vox is from LA and when I went up to talk to him during a break, we had a nice little chat about California. I really had a great time there and it was nice to go partying with my friends like in the old days… gosh now I sound really old, so I better stop…
The next days I visited some more friends, my brother and my Grandmother and then, all too soon, I was back in Frankfurt to board my plane to Beijing. The goodbyes are always hard, but I guess it would be worse, if it were different. This time I did not have much time for tears, because the security guy picked my laptop to be tested for explosives and decided to be funny and make jokes the whole time. Sorry, but after a very heart breaking goodbye from my family just a few minutes before, I was definitely not in the mood for his games… but well, what can you do. Of course my laptop proofed to be TNT-free and I went on to board the plane, which was full and I was lucky to sit next to a wired German guy in his mid-forties, who went to China to meet up with some 20 year old Chinese tour guide he had met on an earlier tour in China. Well, he would not shut up for several hours, so after about 4 hours of constantly being talked to from one side, I pretended to be asleep. Well it worked, because after I “woke up”, he did not bother me anymore…
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