We bought our Christmas tree this early evening. By American standards we bought it late in the month and by German standards we brought it home early.
Right now the tree is lying on our balcony and we plan to put it up tomorrow. In a way we are having a fusion Christmas by mixing German and American traditions in regards to time put up and taken down.
Traditionally in Germany, the tree is decorated on the late afternoon/early evening of December 24th, when children will be sent outside to play. The tree is put up and then the children are called in for dinner. After dinner, Christkind would deliver the presents and then the children would enter the living room, seeing the brightly lit Christmas tree for the very first time. This is the reason why every store is closed on the afternoon of Dec 24th. Families need this time to cook, decorate the tree and make last-minute preparations. So the tree gets set up on Dec 24th and is taken down on Jan 6th (Epiphany). That same week the German Christmas tree pickup truck goes around to collect them. Some go out easily, some don’t.
Not much has changed for German families in regards to the setup, but the stores in Germany display the wonders of Christmas very early. The sparkle in the kids’ eyes on Dec 24th is gone.
Again, we have a commercial fusion Christmas and in our case, being a German and American family, we (con)fuse a lot of things anyway.
Christmas Eve, or Heiligabend in German, Dec 24th, is our night to give presents. This is a very quiet night – if you are in Germany., just open up your windows and listen to the stillness. There are hardly any cars and people on the road. Everyone is at home – sitting near the tree, feeling stuffed from dinner, watching TV or playing parlor games. It is a very Silent Night, indeed.
Now my daughter suggested to have Santa bring the presents on the morning of Dec 25th instead of having Christkind bring the presents on the evening Dec 24th. We still have to discuss this.
I want Christkind and she wants Santa.
… and we all want peace on earth.