Christmas surely is the holiest holiday for nearly all Germans. So it is for our family.
On Christmas Eve around 4 p.m. the whole family (from grandparents to grandchild) meet in the dining-room of my parents’ house.
We all sit together for teatime by candlelight, eating homemade cookies. Around 5 p.m. we discuss who will have the privilege to read the “Christmas Story”. Therefore it can take some time…
The Gospel of Luke records: And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the land should be enrolled. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was that, while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn… (Luke 2:1-7)
Following, a bell strikes from far away…the Christ-child is in our living-room!!!
(Stop believing! The Christ-child doesn’t exist…but where is grandpa?)
Time to look what Christ-child (in German called: “Christkind”) has done there!
So we line up walking to the living room, all together canon-singing “oh, come, little children”.
First, we all stand around the traditional decorated Christmas tree (with real candles, apples and zodiac signs, a golden star at the top). After finishing singing everyone wishes a “Merry Christmas” to everyone else, giving each hugs and kisses.
Then especially the children looking for their (packed) presents, what has “Christkind”) (Christ-child) brought to them? The adults do so too, and it takes time to read all the Christmas-cards.
Around 7.30 p.m. it’s time to sit down for dinner…”normal” Germans will traditionally enjoy a plump roast goose, stuffed with apples and dried plums, often accompanied by red cabbage, potato dumplings, and the sauce of the goose. The Runge family usually has some meat-filled pastry, accompanied by some wine…
Dinner is followed by game-playing, because traditionally an up-to-date parlour-game has been under the Christmas-tree…
After midnight we pick-up the sleeping children and drive home (that’s the job of the “poor soul” who wasn’t allowed to partake of the wine…).
The next two days are public holidays…so we sleep late (some of us will go to church and get up early) and after that we meet the rest of the family (parents-in-law, uncles and aunts) or try out our Christmas-presents…
A Big Christmas-hug to all Shufflers
Kerstin & Sebastian Runge from Germany.