My personal German Christmas Experience
As my personal attitude towards Christmas has changed over the years, I enjoy this most tranquil time of the year best with lots of delicious food and beverages within the family circle.
Since I´m not the biggest fan of Christmas, I often struggle to get in the right mood. So my attempts to achieve a Christmas-like mood usually entail watching old movies like Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase or my favorite Christmas episodes of The King of Queens.
The 24th, unlike the following two days, is not a national holiday in Germany. However, most people take a day off or work just until the early afternoon in order to arrive at home before Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve is spent with my parents and when at home, my siblings. On this day Christmas begins usually in the afternoon after the Christmas tree has been decorated and coffee, cake and cookies are prepared. While having some coffee, eating Christmas stollen and chatting about god and the world, I am able to enjoy Christmas best. Our Christmas tree will then provide the only light, along with some candles, as we still persist on using real candles despite all dangers reported in the media or experiences from previous years. This, of course, requires constant observation.
The famous Christmas present exchange takes place right after coffee in front of the Christmas tree but it has become less important in the last years. After that, dinner follows and although we eat similar meals every year, it is one of my most favorite times during Christmas. Our dinner on Christmas Eve always contains potato salad and sausages, kale and pickled cucumber, soured meat in jelly and bread, as well as beverages before, during and after the meals. After dinner we spend the rest of the evening listening to music, chatting and enjoying our presents.
On the 25th the procedure of eating, drinking and sitting together continues but usually with the extended family, like my grandfather. It is just a day for relaxing and eating together, maybe to take a walk or watch some Christmas movies.
The 26th, which is the second of the two holidays, is preserved to spend with other family members, for example the girlfriend or other friends. What had not been consumed in the first two days of Christmas will then be finished off. After that I always feel the consequences after three days of eating, drinking and not moving very much, resulting in what I would call a general holiday laziness. When I regain my will to move again, I always start planning New Years Eve.
As I have now described my annual Christmas feast, there is nothing left to say, except
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!