When I was growing up as a child, Christmas day always involved waking up at the first sign of light, and running through the house to discover what Santa had left for us under our Christmas tree. I never guessed that Christmas was celebrated so differently on the other side of the world.
Here in Germany, Christmas is celebrated on the evening of December 24th, which meant that even though we were many time zones apart, I was celebrating Christmas at the same time as my family in Australia.
I spent Christmas with my beautiful girlfriend and her family in Bavaria, close to the border of Austria.
My “guys” summary of Christmas in 7 beautiful memories:
1. Setting up and decorating a real living Christmas tree in our lounge room.
2. Lighting the candles that decorated our dinner table. We even had candles that were safely positioned all over our tree.
3. Walking through the snow and huddling inside a Lutheran church that looked over 1000 years old to sing carols. The sound of the organ and choir was truly amazing…but apparently the church was only 100 years old.
4. Watching Annette play traditional German Christmas carols on her violin, while her 84 year old mother accompanying her on the piano.
5. Visiting a local cemetery at dusk with Annette’s family, and seeing hundreds of Catholic families surrounding the graves of their loved ones. The families had decorated the graves with beautiful wreathes, candles, and even small Christmas trees. A choir was singing carols in the background. It was a very moving experience, and one that Annette’s family were also experiencing for the first time.
6. Taking a short train journey over the border to Salzburg in Austria to visit the beautiful Christmas markets, with all types of handmade items, people drinking gluhwein (a popular hot alcoholic drink), and young people on ice skates on an open air rink.
7. Visiting a mountain area only 15 minute from the house, which has a large frozen lake surrounded by the most amazing snow covered mountain peaks. The weather was beautiful, and we were able to walk along the edge of the lake to a café where we enjoyed hot Chocolate. (mouth watering memory)