This Christmas, The News takes a look at how various nationalities celebrate the festive season around the world. We start the December series off with Marion Mewburn, who moved to New Zealand about 30 years ago and now resides in Millers Flat. Formerly of Germany, Marion still enjoys embracing many of her homeland’s festive traditions.
QOn Christmas Eve our family . . . always did the very traditional thing of my father secretly decorating the Christmas tree and putting the presents under it, then ringing the bell to say the Little Christ Child has been and we would come in and open the presents. At Christmas it’s the baby Jesus who brings the presents, not Santa. Santa comes on the 6th of December and brings chocolate, fruit and nuts. It was cold and dark outside and German Christmas carols would be playing. After that we would have a big Christmas dinner, consisting of pickled red cabbage, potato dumplings and meat for the ones who were not vegetarians; and then us kids went back to playing with our presents.
QChristmas Day was always spent . . . lounging around, going to visit family who were not present at Christmas Eve, eating leftovers and going for a walk through the forest. I loved the walk best.
QWhat I miss most about Christmas at home is . . . the “Besinnlichkeit” which sort of means the “quietness and thoughtfulness” or “contemplatedness”. This for me happens in midwinter when it’s cold and dark outside. (But, maybe what I miss is the childhood memory of that, rather.)
QMy favourite things about spending Christmas in New Zealand is . . . the fact that to me it doesn’t actually feel like Christmas, since I’m not very big on Christmas just for the sake of it, so hey! It’s party season! Let’s party! And watch on in wonder as our friends get super excited about stuffing themselves with ham, new potatoes and pavlova and trifle on a hot day.
QThe one thing I had to get used to about Christmas in NZ was . . . that it happened in summer and the fact that because of this the prelude to Christmas felt terribly false and commercial. But I don’t mind that any more.
QIf one Christmas carol could sum up the festive season back home, it would be . . . Silent Night
QWhat is your preference at Christmas time between eggnog or Christmas cake?I’d have to say I don’t like either. I want hot roasted almonds in a thick crust of caramelised sugar!! Mmmm.
QDeck the Halls or It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas? Neither song I actually know.
QRudolph or Santa? Neither again. If I have to go for a fictional character, it’ll be the Little Christ Child. I sort of know and trust that guy . . . tho . . . my goodness . . . I don’t even know if it’s meant to be a boy or a girl! It’s mostly portrayed as a little blonde girl. But, the direct translation is baby Jesus, which definitely should not be portrayed as blonde. Or girl. Or actually . . . there’s a thought!
QWinter or summer? Winter.
QBeach or bach? Bach.
QReal tree or fake tree? Again, neither real nor fake. Rather just lots of bubbles!
QHome Alone or Love Actually? Are these the movies people watch here on Christmas? I never knew! I love both of them, but for the sake of it being Christmas I would have to watch Three Nuts for Cinderella which is the movie shown in Germany on Christmas Day.