Friday, December 21, 2012

Multicultural Christmas mash-up to maximise the fun

I've always loved Christmas, and have very fond memories of leaving out a can of beer and a couple of carrots on Christmas Eve, ready for Santa and his reindeer to stop by and fill my sack with exciting gifts. (Curiously, although the beer can was always empty the next morning, the carrots were sometimes still there.)

Now that it's my turn to be Santa and my nearly three-year-old understands something of Christmas for the first time, I'm excited about starting our own multicultural family traditions that I hope my son will grow up to fondly reflect on when he reaches my age. I guess starting isn't quite the right word because all I really want to do is meld together the traditions from Australia and Germany and perhaps throw in anything else we think is fun too. Thanks to my travels, I guess, my son's Christmas experiences will be somewhat different to mine - but hopefully just as memorable.


For a start, Germans (and many other Europeans and South Americans and probably others that I don't yet know about) celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, December 24. At first, I found it strange that children didn't get the anticipation of going to bed, knowing that Santa would visit during the night, but the German alternative is just as lovely. The tradition my husband follows is that in the evening (he says, in fact, always at 6.00pm!), the children are allowed into the living room which has just been decked out with Christmas decorations, and it's time for "Bescherung" - gift giving. The story goes that the Christkind (Christ child) has brought the presents, but before the kids can open them, they sing a song or say a poem. (I'm pretty sure my son will go for "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" this year!) And of course the big Christmas meal follows.

Back-pedalling a couple of hours, this year we plan to head along to the German church service for kids in the afternoon (yes, even Perth has a church which conducts services in German). We went a few years ago to the adult version and it was full of singing and fun and the version for kids is meant to be even better - we'll be taking our son along this year along with some of his German playgroup mates.


And when my son eventually gets to bed on Christmas Eve (I'm not sure how this bit works: give them presents at 6pm then hope they'll go to bed sometime before midnight? I'd better pick the boring half of the presents for Bescherung I think!) then the German part of Christmas will be pretty much done - time to wake up the next day to the Australian version (which obviously borrows much from the English version of Christmas - just without the snow or cold weather). Santa will visit during the night and leave yet more presents at the foot of his bed, and then we'll spend the day eating seafood and swimming and relaxing - much of it in air-conditioning this year I guess because 40 C is forecast (104 F).


And despite the sweltering weather we'll be singing Christmas carols about snow and sleighs and the Christmas cards hanging in our living room will be covered with snowmen and Santas in thick red clothes. One of these years we'll ditch the Aussie traditions for a year and spend a "proper" Christmas in Germany, but until then our multicultural mish-mash will suffice, I'm sure. I'm also quite certain that once my son gets old enough to understand that his 100%-Aussie mates have to wait until the 25th to get any of their presents, he'll be very glad to have some multicultural heritage!

Merry Christmas everyone, however you celebrate it!

10 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas to you and your family Amanda. Should be a lot of fun now that your son can enjoy his Christmas presents. The Portuguese also celebrate Christmas Eve, but with us being adults we swap presents around midnight!

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    1. Ah interesting to know! I'd be terrible at celebrating Portuguese-style then because I'm never able to stay up til midnight!! Merry Christmas to you and your family too, Sami. xx

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  2. Have a wonderful Christmas Amanda. My son is currently trying to persuade us to let him open a present on Christmas Eve so he would love to be half German!!

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    1. Ha ha I think most kids would love to be half German on December 24! Once ours is old enough to realise that I can imagine we will have some battles about which presents will be opened when ... Merry Christmas to you too xx

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  3. Have a wonderful Christmas Amanda, I am just as excited as a child waiting in anticipation to see the girls faces when they open their presents. I have been to one midnight mass, my husband being Dutch, however that was a very long time ago in Aucklandxx

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    1. Hope it all went beautifully Rae, Christmas really can be so much fun, can't it!

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  4. Hey! First I would like to say to all Friends Merry Christmas and happy new year also this post is really awesome and now I am waiting For new year with Amanda's new thinks.

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  5. Thank you Amanda. Great post!. Even though i am not a christian, i hope you all have a happy holiday and a joyful new year.

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  6. I love Christmas too and have a lot of Danish traditions. Of course it is something else now, but when I was a child Christmas was magical - and it still is in a small way. Now I like to mix in a few English ideas, as I live in the UK part time, and carol singing and the beautiful huge crackers are favorites of mine... :-)

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    1. Glad to hear of someone else mixing some traditions together, Mia! I forgot to mention the carol singing! I love it too.

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