Now it's Christmas ... finally. Or should I say 'already'?
I can still remember how it was when I was young. Every day I would open a little window on my calendar (I don't know whether other countries know the tradition of 'Adventskalendern', advent calendars, as well) and receive a little piece of chocolate shaped like a star, a little teddy bear or some other thing you'd associate with Christmas. So the days slowly ticked off and Christmas was drawing closer. Like every other child in a country that celebrates Christmas, I was waiting for the day I would get my presents (in Germany children get their presents in the late afternoon or evening on Christmas Eve instead of the morning of the first day of Christmas, it's traditional). Admittedly, ever since I was old enough to read, a lot of my presents have been books of different kinds - and I liked it.
But behind it all was the magic, the magic of the dark time of the year - which I still feel is the real time of renewal, not spring when everything comes back to life. It was the magic of the shortening days, nicely counteracted by the lighting of more candles than during the rest of the year. It was the magic of the Christmas cookies I would help my mother make ... even though as a kid I couldn't really do much. It was the magic of waiting for this date, for Christmas Eve, the 24th of December. It still is, to a certain degree.
I can still remember how long it used to take - at least in my mind. The 24 days of December seemed to last longer than any other days of the year - except, maybe, for the last week before the summer holidays. And today? Sometimes it seems to me as if we just had the 1st of December yesterday. It's even worse a couple of days before Christmas Eve, while I'm still trying to figure out what to give to my parents. The problem these days it not money, not really, it's finding the right thing. My mother is a hands-on person who likes building things, tending to her gardens and trying out new things to create. Getting something for her is never easy, because in the middle of the winter I can hardly buy her some sort of plant for the garden. My father on the other hand is a little bookish just like me. But he doesn't read as many different books as I do and has a good library to himself already. In the end, though, I always manage it somehow. It must be guidance, whether from God or another form of divine force, I can't say. Once I've got all my presents, I'm quite relaxed and the original Christmas feeling returns.
No White Christmas this year ... that much is obvious by now. I don't mind, even though I still think it's romantic to have White Christmas. But it's gotten cold which - while not exactly what I like most about winter - is a good way to get me into the right mood for Christmas.
Now it's Christmas ... and that's wonderful!