Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eves past...

Christmas Eve in my family was the most magical day of the year when I was a child, adolescent and young adult. There were traditions that were kept no matter how old you gotten and it just felt normal and it was just such a big part of the day. The day would start out with my father setting up the tree and mom starting to decorate it, while my dad and i would drive to Munich to pick up my Grandparents and great aunt. We stayed there for lunch and would make our way back to our house right after that. All packed in the car it was filled with laughter and Christmas songs and stories of past Christmases. Arriving back home the tree was all decked and the table was set for Cake and Coffee, while enjoying that, we were all anxiously waiting the arrival of my aunt and uncle. At around four o' clock us kids started to get antsy, we wanted the grown ups to stop talking and get down to business. Business that was getting the kids out of the living room, cleaning up all the dishes, closing the doors to the room that would be turned into a magical place in just a few short hours. Grandpa would read to us some Christmas stories, while the women in the house would get some last minute cleaning done and dad and uncle started to put presents under the tree(which we were not suppose to know). At around six o'clock everybody gathered in usually my room to listen for the Christmas bells, which was a sign that the Christkind had left and we were allowed back into the living room. Quietly and slowly we made our way to open the living room door. And there it was, the most magical room of the year, candles everywhere, the tree lit, Christmas music playing in the background and presents in different parts of the room. Everybody kind of had there own little spot where there were only that persons presents. I don't remember why but the opening of the door, it was just so magical. Maybe because we really didn't get to see it all set up before. I remember my mom always telling me that when she was a child they weren't allowed in the room at all until Christmas Eve, but since our dinning room was attached to the living room without doors in between, it was impossible to use our living room that way.
After entering the room, we all sat on the couch and chairs and we sang Christmas Carols. Us children had to either recite a Christmas poem we learnt in school or play some Christmas Carols on the electric organ. I always hated that part, because I didn't even like performing in front of my own family.( but that's another issue). After our caroling it was time to open the presents. Kids went first. My spot was usually right beside the tree. And there were always lots of presents there.
At around 10 pm it was time for Christmas Supper, usually consisting out of at least 5 different kind of sausages, sauerkraut and buns and for the grown ups beer.
At midnight it was time for us kids to go to bed, we usually took our favourite toy with us so it would be right there in the morning to play with.... Merry Christmas and all a good night.
I think it was the night time that made it so magical and festive, and there was only light that came from the candles, nothing more.

The 25 th of December was spent then with playing games, Christmas Dinner, which usually was goose, kale, potato dumplings and gravy, for those who didn't like goose, there was chicken, listening to Christmas music and just plain old family fun.
On the 26 th of December, my grandparents usually took the train back home and my uncle and aunt left to visit her family for Christmas.

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