Tag Archives: Holidays




One of my favorite holidays since living in the U.S. has definitely been Thanksgiving.  I love getting together with friends to cook, chat, eat, and just have a great time. We do have Thanksgiving in Germany as well, but it’s not being celebrated the way the Americans do, at least when I was still living there.

When I was a child in elementary school, I remember that our class hosted a play for the parents at a farm in the forest on the actual Thanksgiving Day.  The families gathered at the school in the morning before everyone, including teachers, kids, and parents participated in the approximately 20-minute walk towards the forest.

Once we reached the destination, the entertainment part started.  I don’t remember many specific details except all of us singing songs together and the kids performing a play for the parents, praising all the great things the earth provided us with.  That was pretty much all we did for Thanksgiving.

Coming over here, I really started seeing Thanksgiving more as a holiday and opened up to celebrating it.  I mean, I moved all the way over here to get used to a different culture, might as well indulge in the American customs.  I have celebrated in Texas a couple years and in California.  Sometimes, my friends put together a Friendsgiving a couple days before the actual Thanksgiving Day, so I got to celebrate it twice in one year.

This year will be the first year where I won’t be celebrating on the actual day.  Fortunately, my dear friend Katy (name changed due to privacy) put on a wonderful Friendsgiving celebration this past Saturday.  It had an interesting twist giving the fact that my friend is vegan.  I personally don’t eat meat myself and am pretty open to different diets and loved the various dishes.

Another Thanksgiving “tradition” I had to get used to as well was Black Friday.  It is so crazy to me how people are lining up in front of stores for hours just to get a great bargain, when Thanksgiving should actually be all about being thankful for what we have.  I love that there are certain stores that advertise the importance of being with family instead of shopping and keep their doors closed.

But however all of you are spending your Thanksgiving, I hope you are having a wonderful time.

Happy Holidays!

Image: pixabay.com
Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on 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.





Merry Christmas & Happy New Year


Wishing you Joy and Peace
at the Holidays and
throughout the New Year.

Merry Christmas!



German Christmas Eve Family Services in California

St. Matthew’s Lutheran in San Francisco

Heiligabend / Christmas Eve at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church.          German Candlelight Service at 4:00 p.m.
Bilingual Candlelight Service  at 6:00 p.m

Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Santa Monica

Christmas Eve – 3:00pm.  Family German Christmas Service – a service of readings, carols, organ music, a children’s message and a Kinderkrippenspic (Children’s Nativity play) entirely in German.

St. John’s Lutheran in Orange

Christmas Eve – 3:00pm – The Christmas Story in German, German Christmas Carols, Sermon in English

First German United Methodist Church (Christuskirche) in L.A.

Heiligabend, Dienstag, den 24. Dezember 2013, 18:00Uhr in der Christuskirche. Der Gottesdienst ist in deutscher Sprache mit engl. Untertiteln on screen. Mitgestaltet von den Solisten und dem Chor der Christuskirche.

First Lutheran Church of San Diego

German Service at 7:30pm

Impressions Of The Last Day Of The Year 2011

2011 is almost over. It was a beautiful sunny day down here in Southern California with the fog slowly coming in from the ocean in the afternoon creating some crisp winter atmosphere.

Have a great start into 2012!

Happy New Year !

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Frohe Weihnacht – Merry Christmas

The tradition of Christmas Eve in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Many countries around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways and on different days. In Germany, Austria and the German part of Switzerland it is custom to celebrate Christmas on the evening of December 24th, and many families end the holy night with the midnight mass at local churches. In contrary to the American Christmas Eve parties the celebration is one mostly with only the immediate family. The days of the 25th and 26th are the days to visit other relatives and close friends and celebrate with them as well.

December 24th is also often the day when the Christmas tree is festively decorated together with the whole family and some pay a last visit to the Christkindel markets, which close that afternoon until next year’s Christmas season.

Who will bring the presents to the children in Germany? Well, this depends if one is from the south or the north. The children in the north of Germany traditionally have the “Weihnachtsmann” similar to Father Christmas bring the gifts in the evening, whereas in the
south of Germany, and also in Austria, children are waiting for the “Christkind” (Christ Child) to bring them presents.

With this CaliforniaGermans wishes you all a wonderful Merry Christmas, Fröhliche Weihnachten, and a prosperous and happy New Year!

If you would like to know where you can find a German Christmas Eve church service in your neighborhood, please follow the link to the German Consulate.

Happy Holidays!

Cornelia & CaliforniaGermans

Show Off Your Silverware For The Holidays

The holidays’ festivities are only a little more than a week away and that’s most often the time when we remember Grandma’s precious silverware that has been stored away in some distant drawer over the year.

Stored silverware often surprises us with some unsightly looks at first. But there is immediate help on hand!  In order for your silverware to shine and be the centerpiece of any festive table, one just needs to follow some simple tricks.

You might have heard of the special cleaning trick of brushing your silver with toothpaste. At least that was one tip I had heard of already before, but new to me was the unique technique of using aluminum foil, baking powder and boiling water. This special cleaning secret will not only take care of the buildup tarnish but also diminish unattractive rust spots on your silverware!

Other ways to take care of silverware are soaking it in sour milk (!) for 30 minutes; then rinsing it off with hot water and buffing it up until shining.  Applying lemon juice to a soft cloth and cleaning the silverware thoroughly and wiping it clean with a dry clean cloth is another option.

Some interesting facts I found about silverware use in general:

It is better not to save up your silverware for just the special occasions and moments in life, but to use it as frequently as possible. This helps to bring out the silver’s rich patina. Rinsing your silver utensils right after use will prevent tarnishing.

By the way, silver made after 1939 is apparently safe to put in the dishwasher according to a note in “The Week” and its source “Southern Living”, but one needs to avoid citrusy detergents . More information can be found on “The Silver Lining”  

Important is that one keeps stainless steel dinnerware far away from silverware.  “Stainless steel causes a reaction with silver, so avoid contact while cleaning as this may damage the silverware.” (e-how)

To familiarize yourself more with cleaning silverware, take a look at this link: How to Clean Silverware With Household Products on eHow.com

Another advice I wasn’t aware of yet was that proper storage of silverware plays as significant a role as proper cleaning methods.  Apparently only “…A piece of chalk in a display cabinet will absorb the chemicals that cause tarnishing “ (The WEEK).  If you have your silverware stored away over the year then line your drawers with an acid-free Pacific Silvercloth  or another option is to just use a simple plastic bag to store silverware in order to protect it!

Don’t hesitate to display your silverware this Christmas or New Year . Tab into these simple cleaning methods and you are ahead of the game…