It’s been an interesting holiday. We have no guests, and we didn’t go anywhere. I tend to get a little morose about the tension between celebrating German-style, the way I was raised, and celebrating American-style, like my husband’s family, and this year managed to get more morose than usual.
(German-style: on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the children of the household are sent to their rooms to take naps. While they are sleeping, the Weihnachtsmann comes to the house (no chimney required) with the decorated tree and the presents. When the bell rings, the children may come down and be amazed. Carols are sung, presents are opened, and there is a late supper after church. The next day, Christmas Day, is more like Thanksgiving in the US, and centers primarily around the meal and wholesome walks in the country. I am not the only German-American child who remembers this; it was fun to run across this blog entry about the same thing.)
Over the years as a family we have gravitated towards the American model, opening gifts on Christmas morning. Christmas Eve seemed a long, empty and barren. We were fretful and argumentative with one another. But this morning was very nice. The children are old enough not to pick fights about who is opening what, and while there were not as many presents this year (thank goodness!), we somehow managed to pick the right presents for each other.
Since we didn’t have guests, we didn’t do a very big dinner — we had the turkey my company so kindly provides to each employee, stuffed with a sausage/dried blueberry/pecan stuffing (the dried blueberries were a new idea — I must not have used enough, because they were barely noticeable), green beans, and a salad. That’s it. I made a mince pie, but the last week of cookie baking has turned everyone off sweets, so we’ll save it for breakfast tomorrow.
Next year, I think I’ll try to get us invited to spend Christmas with relatives in Germany.