As a young child, my memories of Christmas were simply magical. Growing up in Berlin, Germany, Christmas was not only the biggest holiday but also everyone’s favorite. The gifts and presents weren’t the only reason why children looked forward to Christmas. This was the time when snow was in abundance, and the decorations around town including the smells of Christmas made it all the more exciting. I recall making trips with my family to the flea market and hearing the echoes of the Christmas song “O Tannenbaum” sang by the young kids. The smell of roasted chestnuts and cinnamon almonds made my mouth water. Various plays were very popular like “The Nutcracker” including shows put on especially for children called “Spiel mit der zeit”. My siblings and I had a blast while imitating specific characters from these shows.
Traditions in Germany were much different than what we do in the United States. Along with hanging stockings above the fireplace, we would leave our shoes outside of the door in hopes to either get yummy candy from St. Nick if we were good and dreading the possibility of receiving coal in the shoes instead of candy if we misbehaved. Also, Santa Claus had a different name. His name was St. Nick. On Christmas day, we would rush outside to show off our gifts to our friends. After playing outside, we would visit our friend’s homes to enjoy a Christmas meal and play with a toy or two of ours with the rest of the children. Unlike nowadays where children play with certain toys to only get bored after a day or two, our toys were played with throughout the year until they broke or until we received new Christmas present’s from St. Nicholas.
I will only cherish my memories of Christmas for the rest of my life. I encourage everyone to take a trip around the world and experience this wonderful holiday in different ways as the rest of the world does so they can appreciate what joy it really brings to families in various traditions.