DIY Christmas Decorations

Christmas is just around the corner and about 2 weeks ago or so, we got our home ready for the festive season. I mean, if they can start selling decorations and chocolates in October/November, it’s about time we got our act together.

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Third Advent

I can’t remember the Advent weekends being such a big deal in Australia, but in Germany it definitely is.

This past weekend marked the third advent and in celebration we had a big brunch out in the countryside at our friend’s place.

Unwrapping the Christmas tree

Unwrapping the Christmas tree

Relaxing by the fire

Relaxing by the fire

We stayed overnight and sat by the fire, setting up her Christmas tree. The next morning we got up early and started preparing all the food for the 21 guests who were coming for brunch at 11am.

Taking the beef out of the oven

Taking the beef out of the oven

After hours of slow cooking, it's on to 5 minutes on the grill!

After hours of slow cooking, it’s on to 5 minutes on the grill!

At 9am we put a 4.5 Kilo cut of beef into the oven, to be slow cooked for a few hours. We were thinking about 3, but it turned out to almost need 5! We surrounded the cut with plenty of garlic and onions.

We prepared a fruit salad (banana, grape, pomegranate, orange and honey), some self-made Berner sausages (filled with cheese, wrapped in bacon strips), Italian sausages, pancake mix, chicken drumsticks, salad (cucumber, tomato, mozzarella in balsamic vinegar/olive oil dressing) and a number of desserts. Most of the food we made, but the guests also brought some dishes. A friend of ours brought Kölsch beer, a type of specialty beer that comes from Cologne and we had wines and juices as well.

It was a whole load of food and we ended up leaving around 3pm. After 4 hours of feeding we definitely did not need any dinner!

I’m not sure how people usually spend the third Advent but this is a tradition that I’d be glad to carry on.

Happy holidays and til next week!

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Nikolaus

A tradition that I have only become aware of since arriving in Germany is Nikolaus’ visit on December 6. It’s more of a kids tradition, perhaps, but in this household we definitely still put value on it despite all of us being over 20.

The idea is that you leave your boots, or shoes out on the evening of the 5th so that when Nikolaus visits, he can fill them up with treats. I guess it’s like the stocking on the fireplace in American movies.

It’s so interesting how big a deal Christmas is in Europe, and especially so in Germany. Back home, we put up a tree and some lights, went to church (but we always do) and exchanged gifts on the 25th, but we didn’t go much further than that.

Here, each Advent (the Sundays in December) is a special occasion, as well as the 6th. Before December, you either make or buy a wreath which has 4 candles in it. Then, every Sunday in December, a candle is lit until all 4 are burning. It looks something like this in our home:

Advent Candles

Advent Candles

Each person or couple also gets an Advent calendar made for them. I have a Kinder Surprise calendar because I just love it, but I share two calendars with my fiancé, one from his godmother and one from his sister and her husband. They are filled with goodies and sometimes, small presents are attached to certain days. Here is the one from his godmother:

Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar

The season of giving and receiving. It really is a special time. Merry Christmas, everyone! Stay safe and well. I’m looking forward to being reunited with my brothers and parents over Christmas in Singapore! Feel free to share traditions and Christmas plans with us in the comments 🙂