Tag Archives: Holidays

Happy New Year

with much health and happiness for everyone.

I think New Year’s Eve is my least favorite holiday of all. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I am not a party person.

I don’t get the part about celebrating the fact that another year has gone by, when our time on this earth is so limited. I have learned to be thankful each New Year’s Eve that another year has gone by without any bad news (or Hiobsbotschaften as we say in German, a literal translation of which would be Job’s news).

New Year’s Eve celebrations in Germany culminate in fireworks and champagne toasts at midnight (or are just getting started at that point, depending on whom you’re hanging out with).

I’m not sure if I’ll stay up to see the New Year in, it will be here when I wake up tomorrow and I can greet it then.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Merry Christmas

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

(Clement C. Moore)

There’s Something Magical

about the first winter landscape of the season. The trees, some of which still have orange colored, wilted leaves, covered in snow against the backdrop of a mouse grey sky, the very silence of the snow falling – it always takes me back to the winters of my childhood at my grandmother’s house.

I guess the magic of winter is somehow firmly connected with the magic of Christmases Past.

Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house was always the best day of the year; and the routine was always the same. After dinner, the living room was off limits to ALL children in the family – in order for my grandfather to have time to get the Christmas tree up and for my grandmother to decorate it. Dinner was always the same, sausages (wieners) and potato salad. I was never hungry Christmas eve, instead, hoping that the minutes which seeemed to be passing sooooo slowly would hurry themselves up so that the “Christkind” would finally come, bringing us presents.

The grown-ups present were given the task of cleaning up the kitchen and washing the dishes, while the children present, usually me and my two cousins, Sylvia and Alexandra, were banned to the bedroom to go play. In our growing impatience, we would sometimes leave the bedroom for the hallway, where we would try to sneak a peak into the living room, hoping for a glimpse of the “Christkind” through the keyhole; when we did succeed, we never saw anything – probably because of my grandmother’s foresight in covering the hole from the other side.

I STILL have the imagine in my head of the view granted us when finally a bell ringing in the living room signaled that the Christkind had been there. Omi, my grandmother even used to open the window in order to cool down the room a bit to make the Christkind’s visit even more “real” to us children. (The Christkind would come through the window, as there was no fireplace). I am not sure which year it was – perhaps the memory is a combination of many Christmas Eves at Omi’s house. The living room door was opened, and I saw a tree in the living room, decorated with silver glass balls, heavy silver icycles, and what seemed like hundreds of small white candles, every single one of them lit – only their flames lighting up the room. Off in another corner of the room, neatly wrapped presents and lined up on a sideboard the “Bunte Teller” – a plate full of various nuts, special Christmas chocolates, oranges and tangerines. Every one got their own “Bunten Teller” – a tradition I loved so much, that I carried it with me as far as Chicago.

After the door was opened, it was time to sing Christmas carols, “Silent Night” and “O Du Fröhliche” were always sung. My grandparents had six daughters, so there were always more than enough voices present to chime in. After the singing was over, everyone wished one another “Merry Christmas” and then it was time to exchange presents.

But it was that moment, that very moment when the living room door was opened for us children and we could see the tree and the candles and the festive setting – that moment was magic. I think know it’s the best magical moment I’ve ever experienced.

Christmas at Omi’s house was the best. I haven’t experienced a single Christmas since those days which could even come close to Christmas at Omi’s.

Which is also the reason that the I spend the “blue” hour of Christmas eve (when it begins to get dark and the sky and all surroundings take on a deep shade of blue) usually sitting on the floor next to my Christmas tree with only its lights on in the entire house, sipping a glass of wine, listening to “Oh Du Fröhliche” and thinking of my Omi.

Christmas As Usual

Well, it’s official. The forecast for the next few days is rain, meaning that all of that lovely snow will be gone for Christmas. As a rule of thumb, when Christmas is “green”, it is usually followed by a white Easter.

Which could be fun if I wanted to tease my nieces and nephews – I could hide the eggs in the snow without coloring them first. Big meanie idea.

A few years ago at Christmas I convinced the youngest of my nieces, Steffi (I think she was about six at the time) that the Easter Bunny personally visits me on December 26 of every year. I had the poor thing completely convinced. She announced she would be visiting me on Dec. 26 to check.

I scrambled for some egg color and managed to find some, and colored three eggs in various colors and hid them in the yard for her to find. She was amazed. Quite an expression on that face.

Ein Kleines Weihnachtsgedicht

(A short Christmas Poem) When the snow falls wunderbar

And the children happy are,

When the Glatteis on the street,

And we all a Glühwein need,

Then you know, es ist soweit:

She is here, the Weihnachtszeit

Every Parkhaus ist besetzt,

Weil die people fahren jetzt

All to Kaufhof, Mediamarkt,

Kriegen nearly Herzinfarkt.

Shopping hirnverbrannte things

And the Christmasglocke rings.

Mother in the kitchen bakes

Schoko-, Nuss- and Mandelkeks

Daddy in the Nebenraum

Schmücks a Riesen-Weihnachtsbaum

He is hanging auf the balls,

Then he from the Leiter falls… Finally the Kinderlein

To the Zimmer kommen rein

And es sings the family

Schauerlich: “Oh, Christmastree!”

And the jeder in the house

Is packing die Geschenke aus.

Mama finds unter the Tanne

Eine brandnew Teflon-Pfanne,

Papa gets a Schlips and Socken,

Everybody does frohlocken.

President speaks in TV,

All around is Harmonie, Bis mother in the kitchen runs:

Im Ofen burns the Weihnachtsgans.

And so comes die Feuerwehr

With Tatü, tata daher,

And they bring a long, long Schlauch

An a long, long Leiter auch.

And they schrei – “Wasser marsch!”,

Christmas is – now im – A…. Merry Christmas, merry Christmas,

Hear the music, see the lights,

Frohe Weihnacht, Frohe Weihnacht, Merry Christmas allerseits…

Weather Forecasts and Other Myths…

Well, they have been predicting rain and sleet for throughout the weekend and next weekend, with a bit of snow for the “Alpenrand” (edge of the Alps). We aren’t quite “Alpenrand”, about 30 km away as the crow flies, but we got this dumped on us today – much to my pleasure: (click for larger)

I had actually cursed when the flash went off and retook the picture with flash – but this version is much nicer – the flash makes you see the falling snowflakes. Thought it was kinda neat.

It has been snowing non-stop since sometime very early this morning – perhaps we’ll be lucky and it will remain until Christmas.

But then it needs to disappear. I can’t stand snow after Jan. 1 – that is when I start wishing for spring to come.