Monday, December 24, 2012

Mix-Up Monday: Christmas Traditions

Whenever two people come together there is bound to be some discussion over how holidays should play out. Everyone has grown up with their own family traditions and has definite thoughts about how Christmas (or Thanksgiving, or New Years) should go. Of course we have experienced the same thing and the addition of two cultures makes these traditions even more different sometimes.

The absolute largest difference between Christmas in the USA and in Germany is actually the day it is celebrated on. In Germany, December 24 is the day that really counts. Family comes together and eats a big meal and all the presents are opened toward the afternoon/evening. In German, this is actually called the first Christmas day (erster Weihnachtstag). The next day, December 25, is called the second Christmas day (zweiter Weihnachtstag) and is filled with family and food but not presents.

This is very different from the USA, where most families open no presents (or like her family did, just one small present) on Christmas Eve (the night of December 24) and instead wait to do the real celebrating on December 25. This means that the years she stays in Germany for Christmas (like this one), she is finished celebrating Christmas before it has even hit in California where the rest of her family is. Our solution? We open presents and celebrate with his family here in Stuttgart and save the presents sent from her family to open on the 25th. When we are not in Germany for Christmas, he is of course going to have to wait and do it the American way!

There are other traditions we keep that do not have as much to do with culture but with family traditions. His family eats fondue (very typical German Christmas tradition) on December 24 with an amazing super garlic sauce (recipe coming soon!). Although as a family that tradition has been put aside, we have kept it going by eating fondue on December 23.

A butterhorn
Her family's tradition is making and eating a sweet called butterhorn crescents for breakfast on December 25 (recipe coming soon!). Even though she is not in the USA, she still makes these each year and they are now part of our German Christmas.

A tradition we started together is the purchasing of one Christmas ornament we pick out together each year. We write the year on the bottom and add it to our collection.

What types of traditions does your family have during the holidays? How many of these traditions involve food?

We wish you a very very merry Christmas and delicious food coma to follow!

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