Sunday, 9 December 2012

Weihnachten, Weihnachten.

Weihnachten (ie. Christmas) is going to be the topic of this week's post, and well it should be! As I may have mentioned, the Germans do Christmas in a BIG way - none of this waiting-for-the-week-before business, as soon as gets wintry (and I'm talking the middle of November here), these guys start preparing the way for a good bit of Christmas cheer. It started subtly, with a few lights in the town centre, then developed into displays in all the shops, then the candles that began appearing everywhere (and I mean everywhere!), then came the Christmas trees on the lamp posts (see last post). Now we've got the whole shebang, with Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmärkten) on every corner and ice rinks being all the rage. It even snowed the other day!

I have, of course, been throwing myself into this Christmas spirit whole-heartedly. I was lucky enough   to receive a hand-made advent calendar from Oma, with a little present to unwrap each morning - only for family members, apparently - what a privilege! Then, there was St. Nikolaustag on the 6th of December - St Nic decides to pop over a bit earlier in Germany- got to get round everyone, I suppose - and not only that, but he uses shoes instead of stockings to leave his gifts in. So, I was woken up very early on Wednesday morning to go and check out the rather lovely pile of presents waiting in my old walking boot - lucky I didn't get coal really, they definitely weren't polished up to German standards! This weekend was the big event -Kläschen - Lemgo's answer to a Christmas fair, and the social highlight of the year for many locals, apparently! Now I'm trying to make it to as many Christmas Markets as possible, to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a bit of Glühwein, Bratwurst and gebrannte Mandeln (caramelised almonds) - mmm, lecker!

This ridiculously extended Christmas period is rather charming, particularly as it gives the impression that it's the Christmas holidays from about the 1st week of December. The only problem with that being, of course, when you still have to go to work! And there is the worry that, after all this Christmas activity, that one would just get rather tired of the Yuletide fever - but, after all's said and done, I'll have to admit, I'm a massive fan. Looking forward to the next Weihnachtsmarkt!

p.s. I almost forgot - we brought a bit of the British Christmas spirit along and made mince pies the other day! Photos are to be seen on Facebook (as they are of all the other events - feel free to peruse =])

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