Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas in Germany

Christmas in Germany is a 3 day holiday.  It all starts Christmas Eve and then there is Christmas Day One and then on the 26th they celebrate the 2nd day of Christmas.  This fit well with how we usually celebrate during the holidays and it was extra special to be doing it for a second time this year (our first go round was in Saudi 6 days ago).  Our first stop... church.  We walked to the big church in the middle of downtown to celebrate the birth of Jesus.... I just LOVE this town lit up with all of the Christmas lights and candles!
 Despite the fact that I was the only one that understood the message the pastor delivered during the church service.... all of my family was able to follow along with the story of the birth of Jesus thanks to the kid actors who put on the play!
 All of the kids did great sitting, listening, and singing!!!  Even though he didn't know a single word, Ethan sang along with every song!!!  It was SO adorable!!!
 After church we went home to find the Christmas tree decorated with ornaments and real candles!!!  Beautiful!!!
 This was a moment I always dream of doing with my family one day and I was SO happy to be living it out!
 Part of the tradition in my host parent's house is to light the candles and sing Christmas songs around the Christmas tree.... back in Hannover we even held hands and danced around the tree!!!  We sang a good mix of English songs and German ones.... some of them I still remember! : )
 18 years ago I taught my host family Joy to the World..... and they still remember it!! :)
 Before going to bed we exchanged gifts from the heart!!!  One of the things we got my host parents was our favorite game Blokus... so after putting the kids to bed we played a couple of rounds!!  It was the prefect evening!
Christmas morning started in our apartment... we get up much earlier than everyone else.... we had tea and cookies in our Christmas jammies!  See our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Owen is holding up?!?!  He had been searching and searching on our walks to find something for our apartment.... and he was very proud of his find!!!
 After breakfast we all bundled up and went for a hike around the nearby lake.  It was beautiful!  I didn't take my camera because I didn't want to carry it and now I'm SO bummed I didn't!  The weather was perfect and the scenery was breath taking.  When we got there Ethan was ready for a nap but he was such a trooper and walked almost the whole thing...1.5 hours... he did his best hiking when he was able to use a walking umbrella.... so we always let him have the longest turn with it!!!  : )
 We worked up an appitite after that hike... thankfully Mutter had stayed home and a super yummy lunch!!!
 A goose with sides... turkeys are harder to find here and the care of turkeys isn't very friendly so geese are more of the traditional meal.
 A cinnamon ice cream star was the perfect way to wrap up our Christmas morning!!!
 After our nap we took another walk into town.  It was so quiet but all lite up... it was beautiful and peaceful!  Just about the perfect, relaxing Christmas holiday!
 Our last thing for the night was to put together our gingerbread house so we could decorate it another day!  Thank you to my wonderful Host Family for sharing this special holiday with us!  We made so many memories we will never forget!  Merry Christmas!

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