Tag Archives: Christmas

Weihnachtswunsch (Ein Gedicht)

 

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas with a merry Poem by Julia Eichberger! Wir wünschen allen ein friedvolles und gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest mit einem Gedicht von Julia Eichberger!

 

Weihnachtswunsch

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(Ein Gedicht von Julia Eichberger)

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Unter jedem Kerzenschein

sollen Glück und Liebe sein,

dass in jedem Heim

die Heiterkeit kehrt ein.

Unter jedem Tannenbaum

erfüllen soll sich jeder Traum;

der von mehr Zeit

und  von weniger Leid.

Unter jedem Dach der Welt;

Familie, die zusammenhält.

Kummer und Harm soll’n schwinden

und sind nie mehr zu finden.

 

©Julia Eichberger

Image: Pixabay.com

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Julia Eichberger,  was born 1987 in Stralsund as the oldest kid out of three and lives now in Brandenburg near Berlin with husband and daughter.

She has enjoyed writing since her childhood. In 2012 her first poem was published by a small publishing house (https://www.sperlingverlag.de/). Several poems followed.

A trained banker, Julia is currently working for an insurance company, but since writing is a passion of hers, she still finds time to write short stories and poems. If you would like to read more of her work, check out her website: www.mach-mal-nen-spruch.de

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Silent Night…

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SILENT NIGHT…

… was definitely not the motto on Christmas at our house growing up (and still isn’t).  The celebrations of Jesus’ birthday usually consisted of singing, playing games, blasting Christmas music, and indulging in good food.  The family traditions continue to this day, but the family has expanded quite a bit since my childhood days.

In Germany, the gift exchange traditionally happens on December 24, Christmas Eve.  I can still remember when I was a younger kid how excited I was on this day.  My anticipation rose to the max when the glass door leading to our living room was covered with linen so that I was unable to see when Santa would arrive to drop off the presents.  Nowadays, I couldn’t care less about material gifts, but I am sure we all remember how that was the highlight when we were little.

The “usual” Christmas Eve for my family looked like this: During the day, we would listen to Christmas music, decorate the tree, play games, prepare part of the food for dinner, and just relax.  In the younger stages of my life, my grandmas were present with us during the Holidays as well.

At three p.m., we attended the mass at our local church.  I grew up in a pretty small suburban town of Dusseldorf, which means that when you went to mass on Christmas Eve, you basically knew everybody attending. So once the service was over, my parents were chatting with neighbors, friends, and acquaintances before we headed back home. At that time, my excitement was almost unbearable, and it seemed like hours until we would finally be back at the house.

But before it was time for the gift exchange, we would all gather around the tree and sing Christmas songs.  I know this sounds cheesy, but my father took a lot of pride in establishing this tradition. Later on, when I was a teenager, I was playing the piano while everybody else was singing (probably for the best since I have a terrible singing voice).

Once we finished the last tune, it was present time. After every gift had been unwrapped and inspected, it was time for what is now, being an adult, my favorite part: food. The traditional family dinner consisted of meat fondue with plenty of side dishes.  Dinner on Christmas Eve usually lasted for hours and included lots of booze (not for the kids, of course) and laughter.

Once the table was cleaned up, it was time for game night. Card games, board games, activity games…You name it, we did it. Game night was accompanied by more booze and candy.  Believe it or not, there was always, always room for candy in my family, even after a multiple-hour dinner. Our Christmas Eve agenda (minus the gift exchange and church visit) usually continued throughout December 25 and 26, which are both Holidays in Germany.

When I moved out to Huntington Beach, I traveled back to Europe for Christmas during the first couple years.  I haven’t been to Germany now for two years, but we are keeping the Christmas tradition alive over here in California, including the good food, drinks, games, and laughter.  Except for this year, we are having one sweet addition: a two-month-old baby girl.  And with that, our Christmas night will definitely be anything but silent.

I wish all of you a very merry Christmas, no matter how you celebrate! Happy Holidays!

Image: pixabay.com

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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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Weihnachtseindrücke (Ein Gedicht)

Weihnachtseindrücke

(Ein Gedicht von Julia Eichberger)

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Die Engel singen sanfte Lieder,

leise fällt der Schnee hernieder.

Glöckchen klingen überall

Fröhlich Klang im Weihnachtsschall.

Knirschend versinken meine Füße

in der watt’gen weißen Decke.

Süßer Duft  – in jeder Ecke

verteil‘ ich weihnachtliche Grüße.

Lichter leuchten meinen Weg,

auf den ich mich stets begeb‘.

Zart zerschmilzt der Stern,

bleibt mir für immer fern.

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©Julia Eichberger

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Julia Eichberger,  was born 1987 in Stralsund as the oldest kid out of three and lives now in Brandenburg near Berlin with husband and daughter.

She has enjoyed writing since her childhood. In 2012 her first poem was published by a small publishing house (https://www.sperlingverlag.de/). Several poems followed.

A trained banker, Julia is currently working for an insurance company, but since writing is a passion of hers, she still finds time to write short stories and poems.

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Celebrating Saint Nicholas Day. How did you behave all year?

Today is Saint Nicholas Day (Sankt Nikolaus). How did you behave all year? He will know!

Perhaps you were good and could start out your day already with a full boot full of treats. Or you are still waiting until tonight when Saint Nicholas himself comes by and pays you a visit.

Many German families celebrate this beloved tradition the way that they have their children put out a boot overnight from the 5th to the 6th of December so that Saint Nicholas could fill it with oranges, nuts, chocolates, and even small toys. This would, of course, happen only if the child had behaved well all year. Surprisingly, they always had!

In some families, like mine, Saint Nicholas would actually come by in the evening of the 6th of December. Every year it was a big affair. We had friends with their children over to await the honored guest. O my, was I nervous as a young child!

Around 6 pm we would hear little bells and heavy footsteps crunching through the snow towards our patio door looking out onto the black pitch garden. And there he suddenly was! Standing in front of our patio glass door knocking with his white-gloved hand. Saint Nicholas!

All of us kids would huddle together, while my dad would open the door and beckon the honored guest in. Every year we were awed just the same!

Saint Nicholas and his Golden Book of Truth

Saint Nicholas entered our living room. Dressed in a bishop’s robe with a red cape and a Mitra he had a heavy burlap sacket over one shoulder and a huge golden book clasped underneath his other arm that was also holding a golden staff.  After we all had greeted him he took a quick glance at the half circle of children asking one of us to come forward to hold his precious crozier. We were all excitedly terrified and intimidated at what to expect next.

He sighed and slowly leafed through his golden book when suddenly stopping at one page, he announced a name and looked at us children with questioning eyes. The one, who had been named, timidly stepped forward and Saint Nicholas looked at him or her with a friendly look and exclaimed in a deep voice: “Now, let’s see what my little angels have written about you over the past year.”

He started reading out of his big golden book all, that he or she had achieved over the year, and what the parents were so proud of. Saint Nicholas would approve with little nods here and there or even utter some words of admiration.

With gleaming faces, we listened to his every word wishing just that the end would not be too embarrassing since everyone else was listening. We were aware that most likely, not everything had been perfect over the year and knew that Saint Nicholas would close by mentioning something we could thrive for and do better in the following year.

Every child had finally been addressed and received a little burlap sacket filled with treats, that Saint Nicholas retrieved from his big one. But this wasn’t the end. No!

Now it was time for entertainment! The parents would ask Saint Nicholas to take a seat and enjoy a glass of red wine while he would listen to our, the children’s presentations. Relieved, we children moved to this more relaxed part and recited our poems, played holiday music on our flutes and the piano.

After a short social time with Saint Nicholas, we finally accompanied him back out to the garden where he vanished into the dark, leaving us with the noise of the crunching footsteps in the snow and the jingling of bells in the air.

Exhilarated we ran back inside the house to indulge in unpacking our presents at last.

 

Image: Title image ©CaliforniaGermans , Pixabay.com


Happy First of December! Countdown to Christmas has officially started!

The story of the Advent Calendar

Germans love Christmas. In fact, for Germans, it’s the most important holiday of the year!

Many traditions help us Germans prepare for and enjoy the Christmas season to the fullest, like Saint Nicholas Day on Dec 6th or the four Sundays of Advent, Christmas cookies and much more.

One tradition, however, stands out since it is equally loved by children and adults. The Advent Calendar!

Who doesn’t like a countdown to a highly anticipated event?

Apparently many don’t want to miss it. In places all around the world, one can now find these magic Advent Calendars that hide chocolates or little toys behind their secret doors. Even beer calendars are available or calendars filled with a variety of liquor filled chocolates. The possibilities seem endless…

In the old days, just a beautiful little picture behind a door would make kids happy. Today some Advent Calendars made it even online, published by companies that discovered it as another tool to engage customers.

The first Advent Calendar originated in Germany in 1904 when Gerhard Lang published a simple one as an insert in a newspaper in Stuttgart. It was a raving success! So Lang decided to print a new one every year. The designs became more and more elaborate from calendars that worked like a dial to calendar houses filled with chocolates to even a calendar in Braille for the blind.

But how did he get the idea to make a calendar that would count down the days to Christmas in the first place?

The idea of counting down to Christmas Eve already existed in different ways. Some families used to mark the days to Christmas with chalk on their doors, in other families children were putting one piece of hay every day into a manger in which Baby Jesus would be laid on Christmas Eve.

Gerhard Lange’s mother however handcrafted a calendar for his then little son that would be filled with a little meringue for every day in December leading up to Christmas Eve. That caused a lasting impression and, as an adult, inspired Gerhard Lange to expand on his mother’s idea of an Advent Calendar.

The ‘modern’ Advent Calendar was born and started out to conquer the world in all kinds of variations!

Wir wünschen eine schöne Vorweihnachtszeit!  

Happy Holiday Season!

Images: Pixabay.com