Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Multi-culti Christmas

Christmas has become a rather confused and mixed up time of year for me. It used to be so clear: go to bed on Christmas Eve - wake up at about 5am and hey presto - Father Christmas had delivered a sack load of presents. Nowadays my cultural mish-mash of a family makes things a little more complicated and frankly I'm amazed my kids go for any of it at all.

First of all Nikolaus comes on the 6th December - he looks just like Father Christmas - but he isn't.

Then, on Christmas Eve at my parents in-law, the "bescherung" takes place - a little bell tinkles when the "Christkind" has been and mysteriously delivered a huge pile of presents. "How the hell did he do that?" I always think - but the kids don't question it at all.

Before going to bed on Christmas Eve we put out a plate of cookies and a glass of schnapps (for Santa) and a bowl of milk and plate of carrots (for the reindeer). We place it all on the windowsill next to a lit candle (because we live on the 5th floor and have no chimney - how else will Santa find us?) - again - no questions - just huge excitement.

Meanwhile my half Brazilian nephews leave Oma and Opa’s - and go home for a Brazilian style Christmas which starts promptly at midnight – that’s when Papa Noel delivers to all Brazilian kids. My nephews, brother-in-law and his wife go home after a visit from the Christkind to party like it's Sao Paolo in Cologne.

Our kids then wake up at 5am to discover the cookies have been eaten, the schnapps glass is empty, the carrots nibbled and the milk lapped up by thirsty reindeers - and of course, yet another payload of gifts delivered under their tree overnight by Father Christmas.

Is it harder to believe that a baby delivers a load of presents across the country in just 10 minutes - or that a fat jolly man dressed in red comes down your chimney (or through your window if you don't have one)?

Personally, I'm finding it hard to keep track of all the lies I'm telling - thank god for the universal saving phrase "It's magic!" - otherwise I'd be totally buggered.

What lies do you tell at Christmas, or should I say - what are your Christmas traditions?