Why do I mention there is a difference between thetypical saying “Merry Christmas”in the anglo countries to the “Frohe Weihnachten” in Germany?
I mention it because it very much shows the differences in the way we celebrate Christmas. Here in Germany it is very much a family holiday. Maybe a little like Thanksgiving in the US. On Christmas Eve we get together with our immediate family members. In most cases it is only father, mother and the children, sometimes the grandparents are there too.
Since both my parents have passed away I was “adopted” by my favorite aunt and her family so now I spent Christmas eve with them. My aunt lives in the village I was born in and we start by going to church in the afternoon. I love our old church. It is nearly fivehundred years old and both my parents are buried in it’s churchyard. For me it is homecoming each time I visit. During the church service they play the Christmas story. It is played by local people and sometimes it’s so bad that it is really funny. All the same, it’s part of tradition and I thoroughly enjoy it.
It’s also the one time a year I meet my old school friends; at least the ones that stayed in the village like my oldest friend Christine and my goddaughter Alexandra.
After church we go to my aunts and have a sumptuous dinner. And now the fun begins. We gather around the Christmas tree with all the gifts underneath it and sing traditional German Christmas carols. Sometimes someone reads a Christmas story or makes music. Then it is time for the gifts. We don’t give each other large gift but we always have some small personal gift nicely wrapped up for everyone.
My aunt still uses regular candles so it really is very traditional and romantic. To make this part last longer we throw dice and only the one who has a six gets a gift. Sometimes whoever’s turn it is has to perform something. For the kids this is a lot of fun and for us adults it can be quite challenging. Then around midnight we have coffee and a special cake my aunt always makes.
But the main part of Christmas is to be together with the people you love most. We must never forget to appreciate them! Even if sometimes we are not of the same mind or they behave in ways we cannot agree with, we must make sure to show them love and respect. Never part in an argument. Often words hurt more than actions.
Be grateful if you still have a family and spend as much time as possible with them! Regret is the the greatest pain we suffer. It is in your hands to make sure you don’t need to suffer it.