Scotland

Advent, Advent …

… ein Lichtlein brennt, erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei, dann vier. Dann steht das Christkind vor der Tür.

I know, I know. It is not yet December, and I have been ranting on Twitter about creating a vigilante group called the #grinchpatrol to wander around tearing down the Christmas decorations in shops. Christmas should not start in November.

However, half of our little family is German, and one of the BEST things about Germany at Christmas time is the Adventzeit.

Advent is not really marked in UK, aside from the calendars filled with pretty pictures, or if you are lucky, with chocolate. In Germany, the Adventszeit is almost better than Xmas itself. My perfect Xmas is Advent in Germany then over to Scotland for the actual holiday season. The celebration in Germany is almost a let down as it is all over before Xmas Day.

The Germans celebrate on Xmas Eve. In my husband’s family this means that the children were sent out of the living room while the parents decorated the tree. Then they would hear a tinkling bell and would storm in to find that while their parents had been busy, the Christkind had sneaked into the house and left presents under the tree. Their eyes wide, they would approach the Lammetta adorned Christmas tree, the tiny lights of the tree candles illuminating their excited faces. Next to the tree stood the Krippe (the Christmas Crib or Nativity Set). A few years ago my parents-in-law ordered a handmade Krippe from an talented wood carver to replace the old one that the children grew up with. The Krippe is incredibly beautiful, each piece a tiny work of art.

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My mother-in-law traditionally made Bratwurst mit Kartoffelpuree und Sauerkraut on Xmas Eve, and put the Sekt on ice for the celebrations of her son, my husband’s elder brother who is a “Christkind” – born on 25th December. When I joined the family, we would stay up till midnight to toast his health.

Christmas morning in Germany was, I must confess, something of a let down. No presents to open, no turkey to cook, no Queen’s Speech to watch. This is the part of the festive season that I want to spend in Scotland.

Since moving to Switzerland, we have spent the holidays at home in Geneva. The first few years, we spent Christmas with one or the other sets of Grandparents, but there comes a time when you don’t want to trail about and just want to be stay home. It is so good for the children to have Xmas at home. They can play with their toys in peace and see their friends. I think that many go to their parents out of duty, instead of saying, “This is our family now and we are celebrating at home”. Sometimes it is not easy, with the grandparents live far away and really look forward to seeing the kids, but a relaxing couple of days at home, eating too much, playing games, going for walks with the dog is so good for the whole family.

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To make up for the short Christmas celebrations, the Germans start celebrating on the 4th Sunday before Xmas – on the first of four Advents Sundays, which is this weekend.

Which means we are gearing up in the Lindor household for the festivities to start. My husband phoned this morning to discuss which Christmas Market we should visit first, and whether we should put up the tree tomorrow. We shall bake Plätzchen – I found a great website with recipes this week and will be making and blogging about this later in the week. This will be a Christmas Baking Bloghop so if you are going to be baking in the coming days, be ready to link up.

I cannot wait for the scent of cinnamon and honey to fill the house, mixing with the pine fragrance from the tree in a way that shouts The Holidays Are Coming far louder than any advert.

We will likely go to Montreux to the Xmas market on Sunday, as it is always a good one. Others on the list include Bern and perhaps Lyon.

The children are going to a craft activity tomorrow to make an Adventskranz, similar to this one:

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Every Sunday, another candle is lit – erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei, dann vier – first one, then two, then three, then four – dann steht das Christkind vor der Tür – then the Christkind is at the door.

I am writing on this blog while my normal blog is down. If you like my posts, you can normally find me on www.saltandcaramel.com