Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Another Christmas in Berlin

A Merry Christmas drink, Jürgen-style
Today is the second Christmas day in Germany, where not just one but rather three days mark the holiday: First is of course Christmas Eve, when traditionally gifts are exchanged after some last-minute frantic shopping in the morning; then comes the first Christmas day, on the 25th, when people sleep in, have a big dinner, and then walk off the pounds in the afternoon before indulging in coffee and cake; and finally there is the 26th, a second day that is often reserved for visits to friends or family. Since Christmas Eve also happens to be my father's birthday (he turned 81 two days ago) the holiday always held a slightly different meaning for us.
Last-minute shoppers on December 24
I've been in Berlin for five days now after arriving last Thursday, and this afternoon I'm going to leave by train for Dortmund to see Sabine and her smallish family. Five days in Berlin are enough, especially in the winter when things are wet and fairly filthy. Berlin can be attractive, but that's only in the summer, and when it's sunny. Nothing charming about it when the days are short and the weather undulates between snow and rain. Yuk.
Not enough to ski...
But it was a satisfying sojourn, and my dad enjoyed my being here. As a bonus, I got to do something I had always secretly wanted to do ever since I learned how people in the big city discard of their Christmas trees: They throw them out of their windows or off their balconies into the street! Our tree lasted all of 24 hours (decorated with the help of my nephew Jannick on the morning of the 24th and jettisoned on the 25th since dad would never have been able to hoist the thing over the balcony railing), and the only thing I regret is that I didn't produce a video of the plunge from the third-floor apartment.
Oh Tannenbaum, oh Tannenbaum ...
No worries: My brother acted as a spotter so no innocent by-walkers would be hurt. Have fun hurling your trees. Merry Christmas!


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