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Off topic: Christmas, Bah, humbug........ ?
Thread poster: Alison Sparks (X)

Alison Sparks (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:50
French to English
+ ...
Dec 3, 2012

Are you a Scrooge like me? How do you celebrate Christmas?

Do you have the main meal Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? When do you give presents? Do you have special menus, or food items?

I'd love to know more about other traditions.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:50
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
We eat all wrong Dec 4, 2012

In Finland people usually eat ham, and eating starts on 24th. But we usually have only borshch (vegetable soup) and rice-porridge. Otherwise we eat sweets and hand out presents on eve. Christmas meal is on 25th, and last year we had only desserts, three or four of them. We might also eat fish or a bird.
This year I baked a huge whisky-fruitcake (15 y old single malt Scotch) because last year's fruitcake, brought from Britain was not so good as the one my daughter had bought at Harrod's the
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In Finland people usually eat ham, and eating starts on 24th. But we usually have only borshch (vegetable soup) and rice-porridge. Otherwise we eat sweets and hand out presents on eve. Christmas meal is on 25th, and last year we had only desserts, three or four of them. We might also eat fish or a bird.
This year I baked a huge whisky-fruitcake (15 y old single malt Scotch) because last year's fruitcake, brought from Britain was not so good as the one my daughter had bought at Harrod's the year before.
So we have a mix of British, Finnish and German Christmas.
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Anna Sarah Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 23:50
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Not all humbug Dec 4, 2012

Although I cringe when I see sweets and decorations appearing in the supermarkets in October and get sick when I hear the 500th repetition of "Jingle Bells", I enjoy Christmas preparations with my son. This year we already set up the tree (it has traditional Christmas decorations as well as glowing monsters hanging on it and underneath is a manger with dinosaurs taking the place of the holy family).

We eat fish on Christmas eve and presents are distributed on that day, as well. On C
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Although I cringe when I see sweets and decorations appearing in the supermarkets in October and get sick when I hear the 500th repetition of "Jingle Bells", I enjoy Christmas preparations with my son. This year we already set up the tree (it has traditional Christmas decorations as well as glowing monsters hanging on it and underneath is a manger with dinosaurs taking the place of the holy family).

We eat fish on Christmas eve and presents are distributed on that day, as well. On Christmas day we'll have bird. I hope I still manage to invite someone that knows how to make desserts - I'm not good at it.

I am not Christian, but you can't ignore Christmas when there are kids in the house. I see it as a kind of winter celebration and a beautiful occasion for friends and family coming together.
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NataliaAnne  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:50
Portuguese to English
Summer and the beach Dec 4, 2012

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro wrote:

...I see it as a kind of winter celebration and a beautiful occasion for friends and family coming together.


Or summer celebration with weird traditions that don’t quite fit lol. I’ve always cringed at the fake spray snow on shop windows and the like.

In Australia, Christmas was always synonymous with the beach for me. And forget about trying to cook anything too traditional or you’ll die in the heat! Hence our stereotype of prawns on the barbie.

Here in Brazil I do prepare a big meal with the family but we try to cook things in stages and then leave it all cold to be eaten whenever so we don’t pass out in the kitchen. Most of the family show up on the night of the 24th and eating happens until the wee hours. We’re not very traditional and cook whatever we feel like but there is always a stupid amount of panettone in the house for weeks on end.

This year I bought a Christmas tree (i.e. some type of little pine) so I’ve gone firmly against my mother’s tradition of decorating the palm tree.


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:50
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Xmas Market Dec 4, 2012

Me and my significant other go to the Christmas Market here in Manchester and have some mulled wine and we always keep the cups. That's our little tradition.

I do not like Christmas these days, our society has managed to destroy its original purpose and concept completely. I also believe that grown-ups should not receive gifts.

So to sum it up, I never celebrate it really


 

Sitiens (X)
Sweden
Local time: 23:50
English to Swedish
+ ...
Jul, not Christmas Dec 4, 2012

In my family, we meet on the 24th and do all the celebrating. We eat ham, meatballs, boiled potatoes and a couple of Finnish classics, and wash it all down with julmust. There are a couple of gifts exchanged, but otherwise it's more about meeting family and having a good time. On the 25th, I make sure to watch A Christmas Carol starring Patrick Stewart (personal tradition).

Another interesting thing is that almost all of Sweden sits down in front of the TV at 15:00 on the 24th to w
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In my family, we meet on the 24th and do all the celebrating. We eat ham, meatballs, boiled potatoes and a couple of Finnish classics, and wash it all down with julmust. There are a couple of gifts exchanged, but otherwise it's more about meeting family and having a good time. On the 25th, I make sure to watch A Christmas Carol starring Patrick Stewart (personal tradition).

Another interesting thing is that almost all of Sweden sits down in front of the TV at 15:00 on the 24th to watch From all of Us to all of You (also available on youtube). It has been running every Jul from 1960, and the year they didn't want to show it because of copyright issues with Disney, we nearly had an uprising.

During December we also eat lots of gingerbread cookies and drink mulled wine. Our liquor cupboard actually holds more mulled wine than anything else, although I keep to the alcohol-free versions.
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Alison Sparks (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:50
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yuletide Dec 4, 2012

Like Diana I prefer to think of it as yuletide, but we mix up our traditions a bit. The main meal always used to be lunch on the 25th with turkey and trimmings. Now that we're in France it's on the evening of the 24th with a capon and trimmings, but we start with foie gras.

No presents for the adults, just good food and wine, but the grandson gets a few presents in the afternoon of the 25th. We do hang up stockings over the mantelpiece and they always have chocolate money, ora
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Like Diana I prefer to think of it as yuletide, but we mix up our traditions a bit. The main meal always used to be lunch on the 25th with turkey and trimmings. Now that we're in France it's on the evening of the 24th with a capon and trimmings, but we start with foie gras.

No presents for the adults, just good food and wine, but the grandson gets a few presents in the afternoon of the 25th. We do hang up stockings over the mantelpiece and they always have chocolate money, oranges and nuts in them. As each new member of the family arrives I make another one.

I'd put in a picture if I could work out how!!! Can someone explain please?

I remember the Swedish cousins eating lots of ginger biscuits too.

We also have a big tree which we all decorate together on the 24th. I wouldn't bother myself, but the grandson's face is a picture when he sees it.

And strangely my family have always put a holly decoration on the front door, which I think must be from the pagan traditions.
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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:50
Hebrew to English
No religious significance whatsoever....but so what? Dec 4, 2012

And I see nothing wrong with adults getting presents.

I also see nothing wrong with abandoning the religious side of it, it's the middle of winter, there's hardly any daylight, you need to have some kind of distraction.


 

Theo Bernards (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:50
English to Dutch
+ ...
As a true Dutchman... Dec 4, 2012

... I have no particular Christmas feeling, since the Dutch tend to celebrate Saint Nicholas ("Sinterklaas") on the 5th of December, Christmas was in my youth the period where heated family arguments were either started or ended. I also find Christmas celebrations hampering my birthday (22nd December), but as one gets older, birthdays tend to get less important ever... See more
... I have no particular Christmas feeling, since the Dutch tend to celebrate Saint Nicholas ("Sinterklaas") on the 5th of December, Christmas was in my youth the period where heated family arguments were either started or ended. I also find Christmas celebrations hampering my birthday (22nd December), but as one gets older, birthdays tend to get less important every year.

This last few years we celebrated my birthday with the family and we had a tradition of roast duck going, but this year we'll have a proper X-mas meal where we veer away from ham & turkey abd instead ask the Michelin chef in the family to cook us a nice 7 course meal, with ample pause to let the grandchildren unwrap their presents and a good game of Risk afterwards ☺ . We might even put on the Fireplace DVD with romantic piano music (courtesy of Okapi Entertainment, "The Endge of Entertainment") or put on a CD with Irish Christmas Carols...
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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:50
English to German
+ ...
Hate it. Dec 4, 2012

To be honest, I hate it. I hate Decembers. Shopping malls of any kind make me nervous and demand a hell lot of my patience in order not to cry out right in the middle of one of them.

I always get the feeling when I have to listen to "Last Christmas" just one single another time, I will explode in a hysteric showdown right in the middle of a shopping center and burst into lots of smoke and /&!/!!!&%?!! signals spread on the shop windows.

So far it did not happen
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To be honest, I hate it. I hate Decembers. Shopping malls of any kind make me nervous and demand a hell lot of my patience in order not to cry out right in the middle of one of them.

I always get the feeling when I have to listen to "Last Christmas" just one single another time, I will explode in a hysteric showdown right in the middle of a shopping center and burst into lots of smoke and /&!/!!!&%?!! signals spread on the shop windows.

So far it did not happen, but this is why I am, every year, cautiously just rushing through the shops on the very last day possible and then I do the family girl.

I prefer presents that you find, during the year, because you stumble over something that you know a beloved one would be happy about - but this shopping rush for a calendar... - so much embedded into the business plans of the shopping malls, so much more a question of revenue than of a tradition... (oh no, and now that 'Jingle Bells' again... ooooh noooooow and 'White Christmas' of course directly afterwards...

Recently I had a phone call to make with my Bank. Guess what? Waiting loop and.... Laaast Christmas / I gave you my heaaaart / But the very next daaay ...

I wrote a mail letter to their email support asking whether this was necessary. The person was very polite and answered that my mail was forwarded to the quality management department. :-] I am just simply sure that the person at the quality management dept. desk will -have- to enter one of those shopping malls soon, all I want is that he or she remembers the deleted email when she or he hears the next "Thiiiiis yeaaar to save me from teaaars / I'll give it to sooomeone specccial ..." at full volume hammering from the loudspeakers.

I... definitely love my family. My parents are great, generally (although ... sometimes.... causing me serious headaches...) and my sister is a lovely person, in general (although she would have been really good in riding brooms in a century when witches were trendy).

Well - the family stuff, as usual.

Did anybody see the "Northern Exposure" episode where Maggie O'Connell expected the family letter from her parents, fearing that this year, too, she will have to show up there? Everyone pitying her... - and then the letter arrived and her parents informed her that they are going to spend Christmas on their own this year, on a Caribbean island?

I have the feeling, this year it is maybe going to be a bit similar. I fear this Christmas time upfront - it might be that this year I won't be there and when it happens, I will feel extremely sorry about that on 24th. But every couple of years, I am missing at the Christmas table - only once every couple of years, and this year -might- be one of those. We had a wonderful Christmas time last year (well, with the exception of the usual... minor... issues... like a couple of people wondering what to do now with these presents they simply do not need...), but this year I feel I need a break.

Time will tell.



[Edited at 2012-12-04 20:14 GMT]
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Alison Sparks (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:50
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Mixed feelings too Dec 5, 2012

My mother almost always managed to ruin Christmas with a display of bad behaviour (borderline personality disorder ) especially when we lived in the UK and my kids were little, so like Theo and apk there are memories of arguments. I think it's a combination of the weather being miserable, less daylight, and cramming too many people into too little space for too long!

@Theo, Happy birthday for the 22nd. I'm expecting a
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My mother almost always managed to ruin Christmas with a display of bad behaviour (borderline personality disorder ) especially when we lived in the UK and my kids were little, so like Theo and apk there are memories of arguments. I think it's a combination of the weather being miserable, less daylight, and cramming too many people into too little space for too long!

@Theo, Happy birthday for the 22nd. I'm expecting a new grandchild around about then.

I well remember the Dutch community in Hong Kong celebrating on St Nicholas day. One year when I was about 13, a school friend of mine got a visit from Black Peter instead and received a sack of coal! She'd hadn't behaved very well or worked hard enough at school all year. Mind you, coal was not an easy to find commodity so it must have cost her Dad possibly more than a present. However, her parents relented and she did get a few presents on the 25th.

I also think New Year follows on too rapidly! Why can't we go back to celebrating New Year in March, at least then spring is 'springing' and it feels like there's something to celebrate.
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:50
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I detest Christmas and all other official dates on which I am supposed to behave in a particular way Dec 5, 2012

Alison Sparks wrote:

Are you a Scrooge like me?


Yes. And I regard Charles Dickens as the Joseph Goebbels of the Christmas industry. As we all know, Christmas is simply the hijacked Christian version (they hijacked everything) of much more ancient pre-Roman rituals that marked the passing of the year at the Winter Solstice. The entire Christmas thing is a complete load of baloney. And anyway the Winter Solstice is 21 December. The only thing I like about "Christmas" is that for a week or so, everything goes nice and quiet.

Now can we move on to absolutely not caring about members of the British royal family getting pregnant?




[Edited at 2012-12-05 15:02 GMT]


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:50
Hebrew to English
A married woman,...pregnant?? Dec 5, 2012

Tom in London wrote:
Now can we move on to absolutely not caring about members of the British royal family getting pregnant?


How scandalous! Let's discuss it endlessly on the BBC and ITV

I already noticed "Wills & Kate: Baby Fever" on Channel 5 the other night. (I didn't watch it).
Deary me.


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:50
Danish to English
+ ...
Oh, what cynicism Dec 6, 2012

I love the idea of Christmas as the celebration of the greatest gift of all - God taking human form to give mankind a new chance to find eternal life by believing in him.

I hate the fact that commercialism has taken over this celebration and that it has become a time of too high (greedy) expectations and disappointment.

And to all those who dread the family get-together... well, take it from someone who used to have lovely Christmases with her family - I don't remember
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I love the idea of Christmas as the celebration of the greatest gift of all - God taking human form to give mankind a new chance to find eternal life by believing in him.

I hate the fact that commercialism has taken over this celebration and that it has become a time of too high (greedy) expectations and disappointment.

And to all those who dread the family get-together... well, take it from someone who used to have lovely Christmases with her family - I don't remember even one incidence of people falling out at Christmas - that once your family is gone, you may miss those 'special' times.

But you can simply choose to make the 'festive season' what you want. A nice time with family, or friends for that matter, if your family is so horrible to be with, a chance to shower someone you love with gifts that you have chosen especially for them, or treat them to something else that will make them smile, or just a break from the normal routine of life. Why do people get so worked up about it? Especially if they claim that it means nothing to them?

And, just for the record, as it was part of the question asked: in Denmark, Christmas Eve is 'the big thing' with a traditional dinner, singing carols and hymns while holding hands and walking (dancing) around the Christmas tree and finally, the sharing out of gifts. Christmas Day is merely 'the day after'. In my family, Christmas dinner would be roast duck and roast pork, boiled potatoes and caramelised potatoes, sweet pickled cabbage (warm) and gravy. Followed by a traditional pudding of 'ris a la mande', a cold rice pudding full of whipped cream, vanilla and almonds. Christmas Day would normally feature a vast spread at lunchtime (eaten for hours on end,) consisting of three stages: a selection of fish - various types of sweet pickled herring, typically served with a curry mayonnaise, smoked salmon and prawns, followed by a variety of cold meats, little 'hot dishes' such as tiny meatballs, warm liver paté and left-over slices of roast pork, and finishing off with a great selection of cheese and biscuits. Not to mention coffee with home made sweet biscuits and loads of chocolate treats.

Today, I am a vegetarian, so I basically leave out most of the traditional foods and just eat whatever takes my fancy, although the sweet stuff still finds its way into my Christmas celebrations, somehow.

Come on now - this is the season to be jolly....
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:50
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Actually Dec 6, 2012

Gitte Hovedskov Hansen wrote:

Come on now - this is the season to be jolly....



For me it's fine to be jolly any time.


 
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