Blending old traditions and creating a few new ones along the way – Christmas


Ok now try to keep up. No really you need to stay focused if we are going to get through all of this without tears, diplomatic incidents or a nervous breakdown.

To recap the story so far, earlier in the month we had:

  • the visit from Krampus (bad children and scaring the hell out of the kids tradition)
  • also a visit from Saint Nicolo  (good children and encouraging the kids to eat lots more sweats tradition)
  • a trip to Zwettl to see the devils and demons parade through the streets (more scaring the hell out of the kids tradition)
  • lots of trip Christmas markets (playing, skating and sweats for the kids, whilst for the adults drinking Glühwien and talking about what Christmas was like when you were young  traditions) (Note: Bad news the Christmas markets close down after tonight, the good news they will be replaced a few days by New Year markets)

Now our Christmas tree went up last night (23rd) and so it’s important to remember that when H’s little Austrian friends come round, this morning, we have to explain that Christkindl brought the English family our tree (but not yet the presents) early.

This morning it’s important to get up early to give yourself time to remember all the things you’ve forgotten as the shops will all be closed by midday.

This afternoon I need to remember to leave the more protestant half of my Anglicanism at home as we go with friends to a Catholic church for the children’s Christmas service.

Like most families in this part of the world, we will tonight sit down with our wider family for the Christmas meal. This will be followed by the traditional gathering around the Christmas tree (delivered today along with the presents by Christkindl) and presents will be opened along with suitable quantities for wine.

Note to self: don’t forget to let Christkindl know which presents from the list are to be delivered today and which are to be left for the Weihnachtsmann (Father Christmas).

With our traditional Austrian Christmas safely navigated, it’ll be a few hours sleep before H’s wakes us up to start the English Christmas.  Father Christmas will have left his share of the presents under the tree and in the stocking emblazoned with the name Helena. Grandparents will be summoned to join us for the present opening ceremony and the English Christmas will be well under way.

One recent tradition in our family is to invite a few friends to join us for our ‘traditional’ English Christmas meal and to stay for the afternoon/evening to drink, talk and play. R likes to prepare this meal and out does herself each year. I, as with all such ‘English themed’ social events, try to stop R from turning the house into something resembling an English pub. This has become a greater challenge over recent years as she now has far too many ideas inspired from her time sitting, drinking and eating in a certain establishment in Lincolnshire.

One ‘English’ tradition we don’t have here of course is the gathering around the TV at 3pm to listen to the Queen.

The next forty-eight hours are always an enjoyable time of the year but in a few days we will head to the mountains to recover (another tradition I very much approve of).

Note to English readers: If you don’t want to spend all your time in the company of Austrians being told that you are simply an extension of the USA/Coke Cola Corporation when it comes to Christmas then it’s useful to read up on yours and their traditions. As ever, if you want to get a quick summary then Wikipedia is a useful starting point   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christkind

Merry Christmas for today and tomorrow 🙂

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Filed under Christmas, Vienna Life

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