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Merry Christmas

Believe it or not, I am sitting at work - Heiligabend (Christmas Eve). This has to be a first for me.

It is so quiet, someone is playing holiday music but to be honest, I’d rather be home. Unfortunately, I had wasted away my generous ration of 15 vacation days by September and since then I am trying to get by. Fortunately, I have the best boss ever (and no, he doesn’t read this) and I will take my laptop home and work from home between the years. I have collected some chores that I can easily do from home but I can still get emails and generally “be available”.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanza, Diwali or whatever makes this time of the year special to you. All the best from me to you!

What a deal!

Just found this at Tiger Direct:

What a deal!
Doesn’t make much sense if the sale price is higher than the “Compare at” price. Other than that, gimme gimme gimme!

Christmas Cups / Weihnachtstassen

Yeah, it’s old. Yeah, it’s German. Yeah, it’s lame. Yeah, I love them and it wouldn’t be Christmas if I wasn’t smiling at the cups. And year after year I am surprised that I still get a kick out of them. It is probably because I don’t have to watch them over and over.

Here we go:

Snowy days

We are covered in snow! Since Thursday night, it started to get really bad. On Friday morning, I wasn’t able to leave the driveway because they hadn’t plowed our street - I assume the small residential streets are not a high priority. I called my boss and told him that I would wait and then take my husband’s car. His Kia Optima seems to have more ground clearance than my VW Beetle, which has a hard time in deep snow. At 10am, I send my boss an email that they still haven’t plowed but that I am still planning on getting in. He told me to forget about it and that they officially close shop at noon. Yeah me - snow day rocks! I let Chuck do the snow blowing and just enjoyed my Friday.

Starting to Plow

Starting to Plow

Saturday was uneventful, but over night we got hit really bad again. This time, I thought I have to put my time in and help with the snow, so I actually ran the snow blower while Chuck raked the roof. It started out nicely but a westerly wind really had it out for me. Try to blow snow into the wind!

I actually managed to plow a whole row down to the road and I don’t think a single flake landed where I meant it to go. Most of it actually managed to cover me and at the end of it, I looked like Susanne, the Snowfrau!

Snowfrau Susanne

Snowfrau Susanne

The Christmas Pickle - a cherished German tradition

On Saturday, we had the yearly family cookie back-off. It is mostly about decorating cookies in all colors of the rainbow and is a tradition from back when my nieces and nephews were little. We still hold on to it because it is a nice get-together before the stressful Christmas days. Everyone brings some dough, we are usually responsible for gingerbread dough, and my sisters-in-law make sugar cookie dough and dough for rosettes. We mixed up the rosettes this year and instead of dipping them into a sugar/cinnamon mix, we had a sugar glaze which was actually much better and a lot easier to eat.

The Christmas Pickle

The Christmas Pickle

Anyway, seems like every year we get to talk about the Christmas Pickle and whether or not it is a German tradition. I usually explain that I don’t think it is a German tradition, while someone else says they know someone who knows someone who lived in Germany and had a Pickle in the tree. Apparently, I am not the only German dealing with this story - other people fight the good fight too, trying to explain that “No, we do not hang gherkins in a tree but thanks for asking”. Don’t get me wrong, I find it very interesting and I am not bothered at all, I am just flabbergasted that this seems to be such a widespread rumor.

My theory to this day is that somewhere in the Alps, a village idiot tried to participate in decorating the tree but got mixed up with the snacks and hung a Pickle in the tree. An American tourist or soldier saw that and thought to themselves “Oh my, what a fun tradition. They are hiding a Pickle in the tree; I must go home and tell my fellow Americans all about it!” - and thus, the myth of the Christmas Pickle was born.

Of course, when a friend of mine visited us a few years back, we went to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth MI, which is the “World’s Largest Christmas Store” (and they are not kidding). Bronner’s had a whole section dedicated to the German Christmas Pickle, which made Markus and I both shake our heads. He had never heard of it either, which means that in Fulda (East Hessia), Stolp (Pomerania, now Poland), Kleeste (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) and the Cologne area (Rhineland) no one has ever heard of the Pickle. Unfortunately, it is hard to disprove it too, because just as Halloween has been imported to Germany - without a doubt people now have brought Christmas Pickles back to Germany, which would make it somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Either way, I hope everyone has a happy holiday season - pickled or not.

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