Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Very Swiss Christmas

It has been one busy month! On top of it being the holiday season, I am also about to change host families.In 5 days to be exact.Therefore,my current host family is trying to cram in all the things we thought we had enough time to do but have sadly put off until the last minute. However, I had a great Christmas here! And I hope you all did too. I want to paint you an exact picture of what it's like to be Swiss on Christmas. To do that I have to take you back to December 6th. The day when Santa Claus comes. He doesn't have reindeer or slide down the Chimney. He doesn't bring huge presents or have elfs working for him. He does however walk to each house and drop off a bag full of. . .peanuts and oranges! Yes, peanuts like we would eat at a baseball game or Texas Road House. Granted there was also some chocolate in the bag, but this is Switzerland. There is chocolate in EVERYthing.
And there's your Swiss Santa!

Another tradition they have are the window displays. For the 24 days leading up to Christmas, a different house in our neighboorhood has a window decorated with the number of the day and some christmas picture. People are welcome to come by and see the window, eat food, drink wine and basically socialize. As you can see,we went on day six.

The major Swiss department store Globus theme this year was an American Christmas. And according to them this is how we decorate our trees. . .

The Swiss are also very in to candles. This year we have a candle that you burn down to the number of days left until Christmas. A candle arrangement with four candles. Each week up until Christmas we light one. And there are even candles ON the Christmas tree. And swiss houses don't have smoke detectors. Oh and there are are sparklers on there as well. 

Come Christmas Eve the family gathers around the tree and sings (yes in german!). Then there is a reading from the bible. After that we opened presents. And I got my "wish" as the Swiss say. Each person has one thing they wished for and you are basically garunteed to get it. Mine was a Swatch, a swiss-watch so that I can be an official swisser! When all the gits had been opened we sat down for a big dinner. Then had the swiss version of christmas cookies for dessert while waiting for it to be time to go to the church for midnight mass. Though technically it wasn't at midnight because the buses wouldn't still be running when it was over. On actual Christmas day there isn't much activity. But it was great getting to see a special holiday being celebrated in a different way. It's strange how what is tradition to you, isn't even normal for someone else.


  1. 2 ?s
    How do the candles stay on the tree?

    AND how was the Christmas festival in Austria?

  2. They are in little holders that attach to the branches. But they still look like they are about to fall over to me :P I will have pictures of that soon!