Christmas ... German style!
One enormous advantage of spending my year abroad in Germany is being here to celebrate Christmas. Germany is an absolutely beautiful country but especially at winter. The Christmas markets fill most towns and cities with an array of colours, smells and tastes. I had been to 'German' Christmas markets in England before, for example the ones in London and Manchester but nothing compares to the real Christmas markets here in Germany. I was lucky enough to have my family visit me last weekend for the first time since I moved here. We had a lovely time and seemed to eat and drink for the entire weekend! The Gluehwein and Lebkuchen is just too tasty to resist! Gluehwein is a red wine which is mulled with herbs and spices and Lebkuchen is similar to gingerbread, often covered in chocolate or sugar.
It was really nice to see my family again and has made me even more excited to go home to England to celebrate. Christmas in Germany is quite similar to England but one big difference is that it is celebrated on the 24th December rather than the 25th. Most families go to church and have a large meal in the afternoon followed by present giving. Whereas in England, we call the 24th December "Christmas Eve". Each family is different but my family celebrates Christmas eve by having a nice meal together, going to church, listening to Christmas carols and watching a typical Christmas film. This year, we have decided to cook a course each. I will be cooking the starter and would like to pick a typically German dish.
We wake up early on Christmas Day, to swap a few small presents followed by a nice breakfast before the drive to my auntie's house where we see our entire family and have an even bigger meal! There are usually around twenty guests so there is always plenty of food! We then swap more presents in the afternoon. As my family is so big, we do something called "Secret Santa." This means that in November, you pick somebody's name at random out of a hat and you have to buy them a present for Christmas.
I can't believe it's Christmas already. The past four months have flown by but I'm already looking forward to coming back to Germany in the New Year.