This weekend we sat down for our traditional Christmas cookie baking with the kids. Everything was set up the usual way: Bach’s Christmas oratorio was playing softly in the background, the advent wreath was proudly showing off three candles (real ones), and the Christmas tree was lit with even more candles (unreal ones). But as much as we tried, we couldn’t quite get into the Christmas spirit. Maybe it was the 33 degrees outside that prevented us from feeling the holidays, to which the steaming oven added its baking temperature. Maybe it was the fact that we all ventured out to the beach afterwards – after all, we had to cool down after all that hard work.
Still, the cookies turned out nice and (very) German. Christmas without cookies isn’t Christmas, that much we agreed on. And while I was contemplating my own inability to get into the Christmas mood, I was wondering how other Germans celebrate the holy season in Australia. Do they set up a classical German Christmas, with a goose roast and cookies? Or do the celebrate Christmas the Australian way, with a barbie at the beach?
I finally realised that it must be the combination that does it for me. I love German Christmas traditions. And after so many years in Australia I still struggle with the decorated houses and blinking neon-like decorations in my neighbourhood. But this is still far better that freezing cold temperatures, never-ending darkness and grey snow sludge! And as far as feeling the festive season goes: I can sit and reminisce far better at the beach than in front of the fireplace.
Having realised all this, I grab another cookie, wipe the sweat off my forehead and take my leave… merry Christmas!