When it comes to Christmas in our family, it is always a little trip back into history. Not because we have an old dusty plastic tree, sing the same songs (even though that can be nice), or hand over the same little gifts year by year, but that our great-grand-mother influenced our very personal Christmas night a lot. Since she grew up during the first and second World War and knows what food shortage really means, she once became creative and that memory is being kept. But first things first; December 24th, Christmas night in Germany.
As compared to other countries of world, there are different traditions and ways to celebrate culturally influenced feasts. Interesting though that Christmas, a feast that is know in all parts of the world, in Germany and Sweden is mainly celebrated in the evening of December 24th. Britain, U.S., and many other
countries welcome Santa Clause during the night form the 24th to the 25th and receive their little Christmas gifts in the morning of the 25th.
Special for me about our Christmas eve is not that we clebrate like Americans or the Brits even though we are from Germany, but, apart from the general notion that it is Christmas, is the choice of food that is served. As probably many other families, we set up a little tree during the day, decorate it, welcome the family, and enjoy the presents underneath the Christmas tree. But before we hand the presents, we have an amazing dinner: potatoes, Bratwurst, Sauerkraut, salted
pork leg, red cabbage, sprouts, beer, and wine. That might sound weird to some of you, but for me and family it is very peculiar because of our 95-year old great grand mother, who brought this tradition into our family and which is being kept up ever since.
Due to the food shortage she experienced, she learned to collect and save food stamps throughout the year, in order to have a rich dinner on Christmas eve. To us, grown up in a world of abundance, all that might not sound very special, but imagine how much of an event it must have been for them. If there is sacrifice throughout most parts – sometimes all – of the year, a table being richly set up like that must have been the greatest gift. Since she is still alive and celebrates with us year by year, the tradition is being upheld and the memories do not get lost in rough and fast times of today’s world; and that is what makes this night – our little Christmas night – very special to me.
I hope you have a little tradition for yourself that is worth being kept alive and maybe even carried on into next generations…however little and special it might be.
Have a very merry Christmas!