Today, one of my sister Berit's wishes came at least partially true: she has wanted her siblings to celebrate Christmas together at my mum's house in Geldern. Well, this had not been an option for me for years, as I could never take time off over the holidays. So I quit my job in September and here we are. Not all siblings there at the same time, but in stages over the next few days.
Andrew, Sophie and I took the train to my mum's on the night of the 23rd. I got a few smiles for the Santa hat. Some Germans take this Christmas business very seriously. Since Christmas Eve is the big day and Santa has to magically deliver all of his presents to the German kids in a very short time span between church and dinner and not before it gets dark of course, we decided to come up a night early to get the English/American Christmas Eve feel full of anticipation and last minute tasks. We brought English Stilton and some good port (it was 'sweet' enough so that my mum would drink it as well) and enjoyed confusing Andrew with ever new rules to the board games we played. He thinks it's a mean German trick.
So here are a few pictures of our not so white but very fun Christmas in Germany. I'm still sorry about the picture quality.
Thank you auntie Sandra for sending Sophie this beautiful outfit. She took such good care of it that she was able to wear it again on Christmas Day.
Happy times ... and off to church (!) for the kindergarten nativity play. Sophie was mesmerized, especially since her friends from her Geldern preschool were performing.
When it was getting dark, Andrew, Sophie and I went for a walk trying to spot Santa. It felt very cold, but we had to stay out for a little while. Only to find out that we had missed Santa! If only we had stayed home, we would have seen him drop of all of these presents!
Oh, and Santa knew exactly that Sophie wanted a doll house.
Andrew's present: a bottle of Laphroaig single malt. I don't think he liked it one bit.
My mum stuck on the floor while...
... the three big kids played with the doll house.
We had a relaxed and happy evening together filled with good food (raclette), drink, laughter and games. And although we missed our family and friends in California, it was nice to celebrate Christmas in this constellation for a change. If we ever host Christmas at our house in future years, we might ask Santa to come during the night while we are sleeping, however. That way we will not have to come up with some weird explanation why the NORAD Santa tracker showed Santa only over Russia when in reality he had already been at our house in Germany.