10 Things that I miss when not spending Christmas in Germany

Christmas is just around the corner, the season of peace and benevolence. Which is why today I decided to be nice for a change. In other words, I won’t rant about the hardships of living among island monkeys and instead focus on the hardships of not not living in Germany.

So without further ado I present the 10 things I miss most when I don’t get to spend Christmas in Germany:


1. Celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve

I mean, why would anyone in their right minds wait until the 25th when they could have the goodies the evening before already?! I’m way out of my comfort zone here, so correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the Magi bring their gifts on the night of Jesus’s birth too?

advent calendar

Granted, it would be nice to get one treat more out of your advent calendar, but if that's worth the wait?


2. Having a real Weihnachtsmann

A friend or remote family member dresses up as Santa and gives gifts to the kids. Not before they recited a poem or sang a song for him of course. Keeps them on their toes and nice instead of naughty much more effectively than just the imaginary cookie-eater who rushes in during the night, unseen by all but the cat, and leaves gifts that may or may not match the wish list written to him earlier.


"No, I wasn't nice!"


3. Getting together…

… at my best friend’s house for a Pre-Christmas cookie baking session. I did some baking at home with the little monster this year but at my friend’s it is always more fun. Mainly because they have a much spacier kitchen. And because I don’t have to clean up afterwards. OK, I admit it, I also miss the usual suspects who normally attend this fixture. And the ruckus all the kids make that we have popped out by now.


Yeah, I made these. With a lot of love and a bit of help from the little monster.


4. The food

Rotkohl (red cabbage), Grünkohl (green cabbage) and Sauerkraut (you can figure that one out yourself). Yes, there is a reason why Germans are called Krauts, and I for one don’t mind the tiniest bit. I love my Kraut and Kohl. Just as much as the goose or duck that comes with it instead of the anglo-saxon inevitability called turkey. And of course the dumplings. Please, can I be excused for a moment while I dry off my mouth.


Sometimes it's great to be German!


5. Christmas markets

I mean, the Brits really are trying but they just don’t get it quite right. The ‘Authentic German Bratwurst’ is just short of tasting like the real deal and the atmosphere is somewhat off, too. As I say, they are trying.


That's how it's supposed to look like: Christmas market in Jena


6. Seeing the look…

… in my parents’ and grandparents’ eyes when they unwrap their photo calendars that I spent 2 weeks creating painstakingly from photos of the little monster. Sure, on an intellectual level I know that they will absolutely appreciate this gift (if nothing else because they will voice their gratefulness time and again until well into March of next year). Still, being there would be just priceless.


Oh well, I suppose skype will have to do this year.


7. Traditional German Christmas decorations

My Mom comes from a region called ‘Erzgebirge’ (Ore Mountains) which is where most of the prettiest items originate. Christmas pyramids, Schwibbögen (candle arches), Räuchermännchen (incense burner figurines), nutcrackers… the list goes on. I used to find this stuff really tacky and I wouldn’t want to put too many of these dustcatchers up in my house but now that I don’t see them at my grandparents’ every year anymore I kinda miss them. Not to mention the nostalgia that comes with seeing the tranquil and understated light arch of a Schwibbogen in a window instead of the psychedelic, incessantly flickering lights that are, for some reason completely beyond my grasp, so popular today.

christmas decorations

Clockwise from left: Pyramid, Schwibbogen, nutcrackers, Räuchermännchen


8. Christmas music

I know I said I hate Christmas songs and I won’t backpedal on that one because it is still very much true for the Christmassy pop songs that are played to death before and during Christmas on the radio and in stores. What I’m talking about here are the traditional songs that we used to play and sing. I guess I need to get myself a copy of a few of my Mom’s CDs for next year. If only so that the little monster gets to grow up with them too.


Nooooo, not these guys!


9. Having a fight with my sister

Seriously. We two are very different and for as long as I can remember we have fought over little nothingnesses as soon as we have spent more than 3 hours in the same room. But she is my sister and also a diligent follower of this blog (probably even the first follower ever), and I’m sure she will appreciate being featured in this post.


You can't live with them and you can't... wait, YES WE CAN!


10. Snow

Though I will deny I said that should anyone ever claim I did. Well, I guess I should also phrase this a bit differently. Something along the lines of: The higher likelihood of having a White Christmas. There is nothing like taking a walk after a lovely (=heavy, greasy, unhealthy but divinely tasty) Christmas dinner through snowy streets where every sound is muffled and everything is just soooooo peaceful…


That's right, this is outside my Mom and Dad's house


Of course, after Christmas is over, there are still some things German that I will miss. Like watching Dinner for One on New Years Eve. I know, it’s not even in German but it has been a tradition forever.


So here are two things to be grateful for this Christmas season: Skype and Youtube. Yeah, I know, they are no replacement for being there in person but they are better than nothing at all.


Merry Christmas to everyone!



PS: I might have pilfered one or two pictures from Google images. Dear artist, please don’t consider this as a vile act of copyright infringement but rather an hommage to further your fame and the awareness of your awesome artistic skill. Rest assured, I am not making any money with this, so you’re not missing out.

11 thoughts on “10 Things that I miss when not spending Christmas in Germany

  1. I spent the holidays in Germany for the first time last year with my better half’s family and had a blast. I really didn’t get the Dinner for One thing, but oh, sweet Marzipan, gluhwein, and Doppelkeks…

    • I know, I thought of naming my list the Top 10 of what I miss, for there are so many more things… Oh well.
      As to Dinner for One, well, I guess the German sense of humour IS different. I swear, we always have a blast!
      Happy Christmas to you and the better half.

  2. The first time I ever had mulled wine, it was at a blistering cold German Christmas market in Birmingham UK (oh and it got me completely hooked by the way… such a delightful way to warm one’s self up!). I can only imagine what the real deal is like in Germany!!
    I also have German friends who always got to open their gifts on Christmas eve… as a kid who had to wait until the morning, I thought that was so unfair!
    Thanks for sharing and HNY!

    • Hm, I am glad you enjoy German Glühwein. I myself are not exactly a mulled (or in fact any) wine person but I do take pride in my countrymen’s ability to invent foodstuff people around the world adore.
      But the very bestest thing about having Glühwein on a German Christmas market is that you will usually get it in a proper, reusable mug. You pay a Euro and then you use it for refills and either keep it as a souvenir or simply return it at the end of your visit, upon which you will get your deposit back. What a great way to avoid rubbish, I wish this idea would catch on around the world, too!

  3. O.k. it´s way behind Christmas BUT by the way: have you been still at the Finca, when I was serving Glühwein there? I think it was the first time, that somebody was serving Glühwein in Guatemala! O.k. it should have been for the guests – you can imagine how it ended up 🙂

  4. Hi Sandra, Thank you for sharing your time with me with your comment on my lichens post. I have followed your link and find myself captivated by your wonderful sense of humor (humour) and insight into living in the UK. Though I never actually lived in the UK, I’ve made a number of visits, and I was in Berlin for nearly 10 years, so I can appreciate very well what you’re saying. I don’t have time for an extended look just now, but freue mich darauf in unmittelbarer Zunünft! -Gary

    • Hey Gary, I always appreciate when English native speakers dig deep to revive their German for me 🙂 Plus, yours is really great!

      Here is something that I enjoy tremendously about blogging: You get to connect to people all over the world who share your interests, experiences or simply your view on things. I am glad I found you and you found me back. Looking forward to entertaining you more in the future.

      I was able to take a brief look around your blog (more to follow soon for sure), and I just love your photography! Not to mention how much you get around while I am a bit grounded here for the moment. I very much enjoyed the Wellington Botanical Gardens, too, when I was there in early 2006.

      Incidentally, I have studied at Freie Universität Berlin as well, biology as it happens. Looks like more things to connect over…

      Thank you so much for your visit and making my day with your comment.

  5. Hey, Sandra, Yes, the tangents are incredible and so rewarding. Thanks for the compliments, especially ignoring my Zukünft typo. I can’t restrain myself from asking: are you familiar with Bill Bryson’s book “Notes from a Small Island” (Avon Books, 1995)? I’m pretty confident that you are, but if not, it’s one that I highly recommend. It’s so nice to meet you, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know you better!

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