Being sick this week, laying on the couch a lot and looking at old pictures with the kids questions about my childhood come up. Since it’s so close to Christmas most of them centered around how we used to celebrate and what traditions we still have.
Well for starters.. I finally got a hold of the ultra secret Christmas cookie recipe my grandma (Oma) has been keeping from me for years. I remember standing in the kitchen with her, cutting out the dough in round shapes with cookie cutters, baking them, waiting for them to cool and then finishing them. That was my highlight, I loved those cookies.. and can you believe, not only did she hide them back then but when I finally got the recipe, she said : “This is what you need, however temperature and time you have to figure out yourself..” HA grandma! I figured it out (after admittedly almost burning the first batch) and they are delicious!!!!
Then after I read a comment from my mom about how my grandpa (Opa) would always wait till the day before Christmas eve to go up in the woods and get that one special tree. I remember going with him, in the dark, cold and snowy night with a flashlight. So exciting! My nose still turns red in the cold by the way. Then, after we brought it home, we decorated it with Oma. They use real candles! Still scares me and I would never. But she had the prettiest and shiniest ornaments!
I also remember the weeks leading up to Christmas my mom would make me stitch these horrible pictures for Oma with yarn.. She loved them and I was proud. We also used to craft A LOT. Made our own wreaths, colored ornaments, made straw ornaments, snowflakes out of paper, decorated the windows and so on. As I got older, my parents apartment would become my Christmas haven! My parents worked night shift and my mom would give me free reign to decorate.. and so I did!
I have only positive memories of past Christmas eves with my family and for that I am thankful. One tradition I kept, is that my children have to sing a Christmas song for the family. Oh, and we always have what’s called and Advents Calendar. It has become popular in the US. For those who don’t know it has 24 doors and behind each door there is a little piece of chocolate. It is like a countdown to Christmas. It’s hard to combine German and American traditions, especially when you are so far away from home.
I want to bring more of the German tradition to my home and I will have to plan it out better in the years to come and as the kids get older. I don’t want them to forget.