It has become a tradition for me to read at least one book during the advent time that deals with the Christmas topic. I started with some collections of german Christmas short stories by well-known authors years ago, then in 04 I read John Grisham’s “Skipping christmas” – a very funny book whose movie version – as I heard – was not good at all. Then, in 05, Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections” followed. This is probably not really a Christmas book but it involves a Christmas family meeting. Admittingly this very big book wasn’t finished by me so far.
So, now, in 06, it is David Baldacci’s “The Christmas train” that I picked out. The story involves a journalist, a train ride and of course – Christmas.
Ok, so here are some things you need to know about the german christmas.
weather: every year germans hope and pray for a white christmas but almost every year there is none in big parts of Germany. Why the hope for that is so high when this happens so seldom I don’t know. If there is something almost regular then the very mild and rainy christmas eve
family: Many germans do not have a big family bond and members are visited very seldom. And even if they are visited at christmas or maybe easter the visit is bothering them and they are glad when they can drive home.
christmas sports: Usually the big part of the german population that does not do any sports goes out on christmas for a short , very slow paced walk with the other family members. This might be a rare event where you can watch people actually walking outside that you normally don’t see.
church: While a few people are persistent by not going to mass throughout the whole year many others who do not go throughout the whole year either go at least christmas or maybe even easter.
length: the 2nd day of christmas (yes, you might never heard of that in your country) is often the most boring day for a lot of germans. And the time afterwards between christmas and new years day – and sometimes even later – there is hardly any events, many offices are closed, organisations don’t meet and even some shops are closed. Surprising that this is affordable in a country whose economy is not really in the best condition at the moment.
the alternatives: While you could just decide to not celebrate christmas and put a palm tree in your apartment and drink a tropical cocktail many others obviously want to make a point – and can afford it too – by driving away from it going on holidays to southern countries.