Although it is standing on a wet surface, it is getting colder and the snow is still up in the mountains, but gradually thinking about coming to our level. This is the Christmas tree greeting us outside the local supermarket. The Christmas tent selling the decorations, candles and whatever has been standing outside the supermarket since mid November. After all you have to be early to maintain a nice turnover.
Not that I am anti Christmas. I do not believe in it, but it is a time of the year where we can relax and enjoy - at least as a golden oldie. I really do not know how I coped with the Christmas stress when I was a working woman with two boys and a husband, plus other guests at Christmas. It was all planning and logistic I suppose.
I made the list of food to cook already in November and prepared the order for the local supermarket. Just turning up on Christmas Eve wanting all the special meats is not a good idea. You just get the leftovers from the butcher that no-one else wanted. I remember baking two weeks in advance, our special Christmas biscuits - all my own work.
It is not worth the work today, just for me, Mr. Swiss and my two boys. The youngest arrives on Christmas Eve with all sorts of goodies and I have enough problems keeping my hands off diabetic damaging foods.
Then, of course, there are the present hunting expeditions. knowing what to give everyone. Luckily as the boys became older, their taste was reduced to something from the Bank of Switzerland known as Swiss Francs.
Of course a small problem are Christmas Cards. In Switzerland, no bother, the Swiss do not send each other Christmas cards, so you are not disappointed when none arrive. England is another kettle of fish. If you do not send a Christmas card, then you could have problems. English people seem to have a psychological list of all people they expect cards from. They count the amount of cards they receive and you are probably put on some sort of black list if you do not send one. In this sense I do buy and send Christmas cards, but only to England.
We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve in Switzerland, starting with the evening meal. If you have a Christmas tree, which everyone does, you put the wrapped presents beneath it. We do have a Christmas tree. It is about 50 centimeters high, has 8 electric small lights and stands somewhere on a table. Luckily envelopes are not so big, so you can actually still see the tree when the presents are arranged around it. We discovered that our cats love a real tall Christmas tree with decorations, but we did not love what they wanted to do with it, so we gave up.
In the way of Chrismas decorations, we have a so called "Weihnachtskranz". This is a wreath decorated with four large candles and usually fir tree twigs, although the twigs might be substituted by something plastic Christmassy. Outside the supermarket they had a table full of them. The idea is to light the first candle on the first Sunday of Advent, and then one a week until the Chrismas week when all four are usually burning. So enjoy your Christmas preparations, make the most of it, it is only once a year.