My Family’s Christmas Traditions
Christmas is all about being surrounded by loved ones and enjoying the calmness of this beautiful celebration. there’s nothing like sitting around my parents’ kitchen table with nothing but candles lighting up the room, drinking hot tea and just chatting or reading festive stories to each other. everything feels so warm and almost like time doesn’t exist. it’s looking back on the year we’ve had and dreaming about what’s to come and just enjoying how cosy and homely everything feels with just a few candles, foliage, and fairy lights. I’m sure every family has their own traditions and I love talking and learning about them. whether is certain activities, foods or rituals, its what makes it so special to me.
1. A Christmas Tree for the Woodland Animals
a lot of men in my family were professors of forest science, took care of acres of woodland, planned and nurtured communal and private woodland and were all qualified huntsmen. its a family history I’m very proud of and even though being a huntsman and forest scientist can sound quite unusual and brutal. it’s not at all. it’s not about killing wildlife, it’s about preserving it and making sure it flourishes. my granddad taught me so much about respecting and caring for nature and wildlife around us and how fragile it can be. he took me on long walks to observe the wildlife and one of my highlights was rescuing a baby fox and nursing it until it became big enough to be released again, when I was around 4 I came up with the idea to decorate a tree in the wood close to were my parents and grandparents live with food for the woodland animals so they can celebrate Christmas too. that’s what we have been doing ever since. we use the same tree and bring apples, carrots, nuts, and seeds. its a tradition very close to my heart and I have shared it before. it was published in Tanya Burrs Christmas book and it makes me very proud.
2. Traditional Christmas Food
I’m german so we have our main gift-giving on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas day. traditionally, Christmas eve food isn’t the big roast with loads of sides and a dessert too, its something rather easy to make so no one has to hide in the kitchen for too long and dinner can be relocated to the living room around the fire if we wanted to. we usually have various kinds of sausages, potato salad, bread, and butter as well as our traditional Christmas salad. a recipe that has been passed down for a few generations. my grandma and I prepare it together. its made with beetroot, potatoes, apples, nuts, beef, and pickles. it’s so good and it just tasted like Christmas to me. I actually can’t wait to have some around Christmas and because we always make so much that I basically eat it all the time around Christmas and although all ingredients are available all year round, I would never make it any other time.
3. Decorating my parent’s tree
I love putting up the tree and I have to say that I probably have adopted a more international approach to decorating mine as I put it up a bit earlier and decorate it right away. all my family, however, decorate their trees on the 24th and keep them up into January. I always drive down to my parents early in the morning on the 24th to spend the entire day with them but also decorate the tree with my family. when I lived back at home, we would have old Astrid Lindgren films playing on the tv, still, in our PJs all decorating the tree with the same baubles, we have had for ages. my grandmother has been collecting china bells for the past decades with special yearly Christmas designs and its all the puts on her tree now. it’s beautiful.
there are various tales and traditions all around the world as to who brings the Christmas gifts and whilst most people grow up to believe its Santa, there are two different tales in Germany. you either believe in Santa or in christkind. she basically is an angel described and beautiful and kind with long gold hair and a long white dress and she brings presents to kids on Christmas eve. I grew up to believe she would come to my house. I also knew that santa must have been there too but he just wasn’t gifting me and they were splitting the work apparently. its the tradition I have been growing up with and the one I will pass down to my kids too.
Location: Königliche Gartenakademie, Berlin, Germany
what about you? what are your families traditions? please let me know and let’s chat about everything Christmas.