Friday, December 25, 2009

Vielen Dank der Wiehnachtsmann!

And he came visiting, riding on his sleigh...
Yes, santa... der Weihnachtsmann.
so last evening was the first ever christmas eve that I spent traditionally.
In a small german town (village as they call it), I had a quiet evening meal of potato salad and ´wurst´with the Friedel family. In another one of my posts, I wrote about the comfort of melting into a surrounding where conversations happen in a foreign language. This time it happened again... I do follow some German. The dialect is different and the speed in tremendous. But you feel that you are being spoken to... and so there is happiness.
Much beer was being passed around when the door bell rang and Santa in his red suit with beard and broom in place walked in. Santa spoke a lot of German but his English was not bad either. He had me sing ´´ich bin Aunsländer´´ for him... so communication was obvisouly effective enough. ´´if you sing, i give you a present. if you don´t sing, i will use my broom´´... so Santa can be strict as well. Now you know.
The Christmas tree which was decorated with much care stood bright and well lit in the dull glow of the living room. The Germans do not enjoy a lot of colour. So the Christmas tree had red and golden decorations and some handcrafted dolls. They also have a liking for old things... the older a thing is, the more beautiful it seems to their eyes. So we put up decorations that were almost 30 years old or even more. Really.... it is some family work... eveyone has a part. The men put in the labour of hauling the Christmas tree around and putting it in place and the women decorate it meticulously.
What I really enjoyed was the fact that everyone gets to feel special. There are conversations 'about' and 'with' everyone. There is a definitely 'one' present for everyone, but it is ensured that everyone opens 'more than one' present. Everyone is expected to help in preparations and packing-up and everyone must eat well on the 'day of' and on the 'day after' christmas.
Lots of beer, lots of meat, lots of laughter and simplicity....that is how it goes the German way.