Christmas time
For me Christmas time is the most beautiful and most important time of the year. It begins shortly after my husband's birthday. On the Sunday in commemoration of the dead I remove the whole decoration from the cupboards and shelves, I dust and then I put the Christmas decoration there: candle arches, angels, incense smokers, snowmen, figures of Santa Claus and so on. Yes I know, one should decorate after the Sunday in commemoration of the dead, but when you are young, you often bend on customs and create your own this way.

What are our traditions? What belongs indispensably to the Advent season? Of course first and foremost an Advent calendar - my Advent calendar. Every time the happy faces of those 24 toilet-paper-roll-Santa-Clauses are smiling at me, my heart becomes much lighter. Furthermore we need a winter rose in our flat, that my husband traditionally gets on his birthday. On every Sunday we watch the fairy tale quiz with Angelika Mann, at this time we have a bit coffee and cake perfectly.
What absolutely belongs to Christmas is music, which can be also modern, but not solely. At least at this point it is much easier for me than for my husband to accept new things as Christmassy and to establish them. By the way Christmas and the Advent season are the time of the year, when I certainly play on my own instrument. I can only remember two exceptional cases, where I have not played on Christmas Eve or rather the holidays: once I was ill and the other time I scalded my hand while preparing the holiday roast.

We spend a perfect Christmas Eve at home and (for having no own children) and in pairs. In our living room we have a real Christmas tree, before dinner we go to church and then we eat potato salad with Vienna sausage, afterwards is the gift giving. I could not imagine, celebrating Christmas anywhere else than here in the Erzgebirge, where all windows are illuminated so brightly and fir trees glisten in the front gardens, where the possibility of snow on Christmas Eve is so high, where the smell of incense cone lies in the air everywhere, where the most beautiful Christmas markets are.

Christmas time always brings me, like so many other people, closer to my bygone childhood. Back then I was often caught by an anticipation from the middle of October, a vague foreshadow of Christmas lay in the air. Today this happens extremely seldom and less intense. When I was a child, I got all the presents for my family by the beginning of December. Today it is the same as with most adults: suddenly there is December and it occurs to me, that there was something to do. Nevertheless I never had to buy a present on 24.; not at the last minute. Of course there is much more to be supplied these days; husband, parents in law, nieces, nephews, bothers in law and sisters in law have been added to mother, father, grandparents and siblings. And normally the gifts are no more handicrafted, but bought. Although I think it is better to give something self-made away with love, like a photo calendar, marmalade, liqueur or my much-loved mulled wine jelly. Incidentally it is interesting, that we siblings say every year, that we will make no gifts to each other, and every year we do not adhere to it. I guess it is because in the end it is joy to fulfil a desire as well as getting a present oneself. And so again and again a striking mountain of Christmas presents piles up in our flat, so that one truly feels like Santa Claus in his workshop.

But what is it, that makes this time so special? What pulls a non-believer like me to church every year on 24 December? Why is Angelika Mann looking forward to being a witch and presenting the fairy tail quiz for weeks? Why do we overwhelm each other and especially the children with gifts? It is the glow in their eyes, their tangible anticipation and jumpiness. It is the feeling like being a child again. It is the wonder, that more than 2000 years ago a new born child gave people hope. Once in the year everyone of us may drop everything that burdens us from our shoulders and taste the sweet lightness, we never felt since we were children. For that no Santa Claus is needed.

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