Christmas Vacation Day 11: The Eve of Christmas Eve

The eve of Christmas Eve in Germany, do you know what that means? Well, if you know German tradition or have read this blog long enough you know that Christmas starts on the evening of the 24th here. So that makes the eve of Christmas Eve last minute shopping day! Technically the stores are open until the early afternoon on the 24th so it is possible to get some last-last minute shopping done, but that is a catastrophe that is best avoided. Lucky for us Amazon in Germany is incredibly efficient and we were able to get most of our last minute shopping done during our two previous “sick days” and most everything was due to arrive this day, with only a couple of shipments delayed until Christmas Eve.  Even in Germany the mail man suffers the wrath of the last minute “orderers”. Seeing as how my father-in-law never orders anything online, both we and the DHL delivery man were all quite amused when he arrived with this stack for us……..
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Now there was only one last present to secure, so off I went on the last Christmas mission of the year. The first stop was actually to get a haircut, which brought a rough start to the voyage as the Friseur* Salon was overflowing with customers when I showed up. I quickly engaged my time management and efficiency skills though and arranged to come back shortly before closing time. Next stop was the Thomas Baumarkt* in search of a garden statue in a classic greek/roman style, but what I quickly found out is that is not such an easy task to accomplish in December. Before leaving the first store empty handed, I happened by the Deko* and Badezimmer* departments and was quickly reminded of the myriad of options available to Germans that we just don’t have in Idaho. Americans, or Idahoans at least, seem to be very keen on a classic style of decoration and house fixtures and that is something I just can’t get on board with. Apparently the time I lived in Germany had a much bigger effect on me than I realized.
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After I was done crying to my wife via texts about the lack of style options available to us, I set off to the Bösen Nursery to try my luck. After a confusing conversation with a woman who I think was not German but I know spoke entirely too quietly, I made a lap around the entire nursery grounds only to leave empty handed once again. But I would not be deterred from my mission, so off I went to the Dehner Nursery. This time I avoided any time wasting conversations and headed straight to where I thought statues would be, only to find the only classic statue was taller than me. Strike three, but luck would be on my side that day. During my store-exiting phone call to report massive failure I mentioned that the only statues they had were animals and kids, and apparently kids was an option that had been overlooked. After a return to the statues and a brief stint of shopping-via-phone, the present was secured and half of the mission completed.

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This one doesn't fit in a Volkswagen Golf

The barber shop was not next on the list though, as I had decided that a quick cup of coffee with the “grandma & grandpa-in-law” would be a good idea to make up for practically sleeping on their table a few days earlier. After some good conversation and 1 more coffee and cake than I should have had,I rushed to the Friseur and then home. Mission complete.
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I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the young man pictured above. I actually saw him yesterday when I ran to downtown Trier to do some shopping. There are usually numerous street musicians playing in the Innenstadt during Christmas time, but this guy was cooler than the rest. All of 14 years old, tops, he had obviously practiced the Star Wars song for hours on end before gathering his confidence to ply his craft before so many strangers. By the looks on the faces of the passers-by he had every reason to be proud, and I joined many others in tossing a 2 Euro coin in his cup to show him my respect for his efforts. As I later left the building I smiled as my exit was accompanied by the same, hard practiced Star Wars song.

As has been the case with many of our evenings here, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law came over to spend the evening. Since the following day was the beginning of the Christmas festivities, we didn’t bother with any fancy cooking and just ordered pizza. I may sound like a broken record, but the “normal life” parts of our visit are most definitely my favorite. Having family you enjoy doing “nothing” with is priceless. So, another awesome ending to another great day in Germany is in the books. Bis zum nächsten mal!

*Glossary:

Friseur = Barber/Hair Stylist
Baumarkt = Home Improvement Store
Deko = Decoration
Badezimmer = Bathroom
Innenstadt = Inner City (Generally a pedestrian only area with a multitude of shops and restaurants)

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