The great thing about being a multi-national family is that we have twice as much culture and twice as many traditions, and out of that we create our own new culture and tradition. Whether or not that is an advantage for little Germericans, I am not sure. On the one hand, he gets to open presents on two separate days since we save the presents from my side of the family for a traditional American Christmas morning. On the other hand, he doesn’t get to open all of his presents at once like he would if my wife and I were from the same country. Good, that only counts for the presents under our tree. The presents at the Omas and Opas still get opened at their house or when we see them. The great thing about being a kid that you don’t realize until well into adulthood is that however you grow up is your normal.
In keeping with the tradition of the last few years prior to our move to the States, our first of two dinners on the second Christmas day was at my wife’s Grandparents apartment. As usual there was a lavish meal complete with salad, two separate pork dishes, mixed vegetables, green beans wrapped in bacon, white asparagus, Spätzle, and Pommes Frites. What are Pommes Frites you ask? French fries. That’s right, at a fancy Christmas dinner we had french fries. In Germany, you see, fries are not merely a companion for hamburgers. Here it is just another way to prepare potatoes, with the small difference that you do not use your fingers to eat them unless you are eating fast food. Those are both things that I was not aware of when I moved to Germany all those years ago, and the latter was not easy to adjust to. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that heavenly gift called Spätzle. It is a unique German pasta that is so delicious that I can, and often do, eat it without any sauce whatsoever. Mm, mm, mmmmm. After a nice cup of coffee and some delicious cheesecake we had another fun and joyful round of gift giving. Then one more cup of coffee and it was time to pick up the other Oma and head back to my father-in-law’s house for the second Christmas dinner of the day.
With the 3rd of 4 dinners in the books we retired to the living room for even more gift giving. This time we had the added excitement of international gift giving made possible by the wonders of Technologie. Did you even notice something was missing? After all the talk of combining traditions, was it apparent that we skipped the American one? We didn’t skip it exactly, but we definitely adjusted the time so that grandma and grandpa in America could watch the little guy open his presents via Skype. Oh the wonders of technology, it makes the life of an intercontinental family so much easier. Plus, both sides of our family got to say hi to each other so that was a bonus for everyone. Not long after that though it was time for little guys to go to bed and big guys and girls to finish the evening visiting, another glorious day in Germany was at an end. Bis zum nächsten mal!