Christmas time is always a hard and an absurd time. And with this I don’t only refer to the ‘treats’ of having christmas merchandise around from September onwards, the ‘festive’ spending of money on junk and the excessive meals. It’s also the fact that our atheist family keeps celebrating christmas even now that the children have grown up and the grandparents are dead, just because it’s a ‘done’ thing.
Of course we don’t go to church or anything, but we go for almost everything else. There are christmas decorations, there are advent calendars, there are biscuits, there’s a – usually rather big – christmas tree and of course there are massive christmas meals. I even have to play some christmas songs on the piano for the occasion, which I consider a drama in its own right: I basically stopped playing when I moved out my parents’ house and now I only get to play when I visit. This isn’t pleasant to begin with as people always want to listen to ‘nice’ stuff and I definitely prefer nobody listening to begin with. At christmas time it’s worse as the ‘nice’ stuff are suddenly crappy christmas carols. Grrr. But who’s going to argue with my mum?
This year there were also some South African friends around for the christmas time. They probably enjoyed the whole thing with actual winter temperatures where there are christmas trees and lights everywhere. They are also in some kind of sectarian christian stuff (which sounded remotely like the ‘born-again’ crusading crap that that American president guy is into), so they probably liked the whole thing.
Anyway, the whole things started, as usual on the night of the 24th, with lighting the tree, playing those few christmas tunes and giving and receiving presents. I got some cash, which I can’t remember having gotten before and found this a bit uninspiring, particularly as I was specifically asked for stuff I wanted before. (Nonetheless this turned out a to be a rather useful present for the upcoming skiing trip.) In addition to that I got a new keychain, something I had actually asked for, as my old one had been stolen in summer. A very nice keychain, I should add. Add to that a record from my brother and four books, two of which I already owned, to get a rather unspectacular effect.
After that there was a meal. Usually that’s a small one because the kids want to play with their stuff. But as we’re old enough now and we had guests we had a fondue, which is fun: You spend all afternoon chopping stuff to make nice sauces and the you have a pot of boiling fat on the table in which everyone can fry pieces of meat. You can cook your own food and eat slowly as you have to cook your pieces of meat one by one.
On christmas day, the abundance of food continued. – As I heard someone say:
It’s not the eating between christmas and the new year that turns you fat but the eating between the new year and christmas. In the afternoon we had one of my favourite cakes, the one that I used to get for my birthday when I was little, it’s called Träubletorte and consists of a thin crust with a topping of red currants with egg white, thats nice and crispy at the top after baking. For dinner, my mum had prepared the traditional dish of a goose, two geese, in fact, which was a lot of rather nice food. Even better, there was a dessert with even more red currants to finish it off.
After that meal, I finally reached Claus on the phone to learn that I could still join them on the skiing trip but that it’d start the next day, which meant that I could avoid further christmas nuisance but missed the nice meal of deer the next day. You can’t have everything, I guess.
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