Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our First and Second Christmas Days

Don't you know that there are two Christmas days here in Germany?

December 25th is known as the "First day of Christmas" (der erste Weihnachtsfeiertag) and, in comparison with 24th December, is a quiet day, often spent either visiting or being visited by relatives. Goose is still widely served for the main meal, but is by no means as obligatory a Christmas dinner as e.g. turkey in Britain.

December 26th, the "Second day of Christmas" (der zweite Weihnachtsfeiertag) also known as St. Stephan's Day, has much the same function as the day before, being a public holiday and a day of family reunions or outings. Read more here.

And so, we already have our ritual here. On the 24th of December, we celebrated at home. And the first day of Christmas (Dec. 25), we gather at the place of my sister in law, to exchange gifts with the whole family and to have a great hearty meal together.

This would be the chance for the kids to play with everybody: their cousins, the oma and opa, and the aunt and uncle. This would be a chance for them to show off their gifts which they received during Christmas Eve. This would be another chance to bond, again, with the extended family. The highlight, of course, would be the exchange gift. And the expression of thanks.

How do we show our appreciation when we receive gifts? You say thank you. You open the gift in front of everybody. And then you say thank you again to the person who gave you the gift, with a quick kiss or a hug. It is always a sweet chaos whenever the exchange gift started. We always start with the kids first, who else!

We had some canapes and cheered each other with glasses of sekt (sparking wine) while the real Christmas dinner is still cooking. What was dinner? We started with a mouthwatering squash soup. Let me tell you, my sister in law whips the best squash soup I have ever tasted!

The soup was followed by a salad plate combined with smoked fish; the main dish is chicken casserole with rice and salad. Tasty! Even the kids asked for two servings!

Dessert was my brother in law's surprise treat: a rum-filled cupcake with ice cream. The kids got their without rum, of course. I did asked him for the recipe, so I could share this delicious treat.

I think opa said it right when he uttered, 'it is always a great feeling to be with the whole family.' I agree.

What was the second day of Christmas to us then? We wanted to take a stroll, to kick the effects of some of those heavy binges, the kids wanted to stay at home to play with their toys. We won because after our late breakfast, it started to snow. Our first snow this winter. The kids were ready in no time at all and got to wait outside for us. They wanted to savor the moment.
When we started our hike, IC suddenly realized that we would be walking for sometime and wanted to go back home. It was a big drama, with her crying, until Papa decided to give her a piggy ride. Our route was dictated by MC who is a real hiking enthusiast. We rounded the curve going to the mountain and IC, who was by then walking, started protesting again. She dont want to walk for a long time. Good thing I had some sweets with me, which I dangled to her. She would get those sweets, if she'd walk.

Well, as expected, she walked and hiked. I think the sweets gave her the energy and the good mood to go on. Because after that, she was happily leading the way. MC decided to bring us to the path going to oma and opa's house because she needed a drink. IC loved it because she know she would get more sweets there.
We had fun up in the mountain trying to locate our house. I have been up in that mountain for how many times, and I have been trying to locate our house since then, it was only that time that I finally found it from up there. Whew. Thanks to the kids, who decided to point out the colors of the houses first. I got the best clue from them.
Back home, the kids played with their new toys, I got to update some files and documents, while Papa got busy trying to grab us a ticket for Holiday on Ice this coming February. After hours of searching on the net and loads of discussions about the best place, we got our tickets.

And oh, our dinner was chilli con carne with pasta :D

1 comment:

Daisy said...

What a wonderful family day! Thank you for sharing your holiday with us.