Germany: A traditional Christmas

On the last three Sundays, I reported on the Christmas traditions of three other countries. In this last post, I would now like to tell you about my personal Christmas.

For the Christmas holidays, I travel with my mother from Berlin to visit our family. Most of our family lives in Trebatsch, a village in Brandenburg. Trebatsch, also called the Leichhardt community, is located directly at the Spree River, has about 600 inhabitants and its own church.

Carp in beer sauce and a perfectly decorated tree

Of course, we have a Christmas tree every year. Some of them we buy, but sometimes we take one we've planted ourselves, if it's particularly beautiful and the size fits. The Christmas tree decorations are mainly close to my mother's heart, who has always put a lot of effort into decorating it in the past years.

On Christmas Eve, we all get together in the afternoon before going to church. Then we drink eggnog and hope that it will keep us at least a little warm. Afterwards we walk to the church. The Christmas tree in the church is traditionally decorated with shiny baubles and lights and is donated by someone else every year. As is customary in the Protestant faith in Germany, the children perform their nativity play, the pastor gives his sermon and everyone sings together. After the service, everyone gathers outside and the whole congregation wishes each other a Merry Christmas.

Back home, the huge pot of carp in beer sauce is ready to be eaten. For dessert, there is always lemon cream, which my grandma makes according to an old recipe. Not necessarily typically German, but every family has its own traditions. After the meal, everyone can unwrap their presents. However, since there are quite a few of us, we have decided in the past few years to do "Wichteln". This means that everyone only gives presents to the person whose name they have drawn.

Christmas goose and walk

On 25 December, we go to my aunt and uncle's house for an aperitif before noon, watching the DDR Christmas programme "Zwischen Frühstück und Gänsebraten" every year. Afterwards, we have our traditional Christmas goose, which always looks and tastes great at my grandma's house.

To digest it all, we take a walk through the village and across the fields after dinner.

On the 26th of December, we usually just rest because we still have enough to celebrate in the coming days. My uncle's birthday is on 27 December and my grandfather's on 1 January. Since he will be 80 this year, there will be a nice celebration with friends and family to ring on his birthday and also the coming year well, so that it will be better than the past one.