Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

One thing I quickly learned about a German Christmas is how different the whole holiday is from the Christmas I grew up loving. These realizations began a few years ago, but this was my first first-hand experience with it. 
My childhood Christmas consisted of stockings, hung by the chimney with care, a fake Christmas tree busted out the day after thanksgiving, beautifully wrapped in lights and then sprinkled with a mixture of embarrassing hand made ornaments from my childhood and much nicer, store bought ones covered in glitter, depicting a holly jolly something-or-other. 
I always got to unwrap one present on Christmas Eve (I'm pretty sure that tradition began because I begged until I was blue in the face to open presents before Christmas). Then on Christmas morning we would have a yummy breakfast and open presents from Santa in my pajamas and crazy bed hair.  
As Simon and I have began to form our holiday traditions, we have kept some, lost some and added some of our own. We ditched the fake tree for a real one, our stockings are hung on... whatever surface we can find that fits them because we don't yet have a fireplace, and St Nikolaus comes to visit on the 6th of December. 
After this year, I now have a glimpse of what Simon's childhood Christmas looked like. 
For starters, Christmas is not on Christmas.  How's that for a curve ball? 
On Christmas Day you don't actually do anything except stay home because all of the stores are closed for the holiday that everyone celebrated the day before. I don't understand, but I can say, it was nice. 
Christmas Eve day we wrapped presents and decorated the tree. THAT DAY! Like... It is just a tree until the eve day of the holiday that you celebrate on the eve.  At first I thought it was kind of sad because I love having our tree "on" for the whole season. But I do have to say it really puts you in the Christmas spirit pulling out all of the ornaments, attaching the Christmas CANDLES (yes real candles, to all who have inquired), and singing along to.. What else?.. The lion king sound track.  We had a yummy Christmas Eve cheese fondue dinner next to the illuminated Christmas tree before opening all our presents. 
It was a festive, quiet, night full of candle light, gift giving, good food and family. All the things christmas should be about. 
Irene lighting the tree

Little Simon on the Christmas tree! :) 

Here are some gift giving pictures :

Christmas Day, NOT to be confused with the day we celebrated Christmas, (everyone keeping up?) we didn't really do anything festive. We enjoyed a long, relaxing morning and afternoon. Lea and I eventually pulled ourselves together and baked some yummy lemon cookies before everyone settled down to dinner. It may sound like I missed something but no. It really was wake up, eat breakfast, bake cookies, eat dinner, day over.  It was wonderful. Especially after a few non-stop days. 
Dinner was an adventure. Apparently Raclette is a thing. And now I know about it. And it is awesome. 
First you cut up everything you can think of and put them into tiny bowls: Pears, asparagus, broccoli, ham, olives, corn, tomatoes, etc. 
Dinner prep 

Then everyone sits around the table with a hot stove thing in the middle. Each person has a little pan (like really little) and you fill it with the items from said bowls-not too full! You still have to put the magic ingredient on top: a slice of Raclette cheese. Then, under/into the stove it goes. Then you wait, and complain about waiting, and talk about how hungry you are, and how good it is going to be (this is an important step) on and on- for the WHOLE 5ish minutes-until your little pan is warm and the cheese is all melted.  Then you plop the delicious, random contents atop the squished, boiled potato on your plate (and then quickly make your second pan, and stick it in the oven so you don't have to repeat the waiting step) and enjoy!! You eat 5 or 6 or 10 pan fulls while you laugh at the greedy ones who burn their mouths on the hot food and discus which concoctions taste the best until you are full.  Then you complain about how full you are and how much you ate and then eat dessert. Really, it is a bonding experience and I highly recommend it!  

After all of that, Simon and I scooted out and met up with some of his old friends for a few hours. Our "free days" are quite limited since we have scheduled so many fun activities! 
And so, that was Christmas. And then Christmas again.. Kind of. 
I have to say that my first German Christmas experience really quite lovely! I'm thankful both of Simon's siblings were able to be there and make that time even more special. 
Merry Christmas from the Reinhardts!


  1. So is that a lego man something that Simon got? Also, I love the Sailor Jerry shirt. When I was lucky enough to spend Christmas with the Reinhardts in Germany, I got to partake in that meal as well. First and last time I have had raclette. Glad y'all are having fun. Hope the travels are safe.

  2. The LEGO man is a drinking bottle my mom gave me more or less as a gift. It came with a LEGO brick-shaped lunch box. I might regift the bottle to a lucky kid in the near future...