For me, the pre-Christmas time is almost more precious than Christmas itself. Ok, that is not entirely true, because when we celebrate Christmas with my family, Christmas Eve is pretty much my favorite day of the year, but for this year it is definitely true. Knowing that we wouldn’t go back to Germany for Christmas, we really tried to enjoy the Christmas season as much as possible.
As you recall, we met with the German Group at the German Christkindlmarket at the beginning of the month, I spent quite some time with my friend S drinking copious amounts of tea, eating Christmas cookies and crafting handmade Christmas cards and I decorated our apartment (a wee bit – we unfortunately don’t really have enough space for a tree). Also, Christmas shopping is kind of fun for me – if I a) start planning early and b) avoid the mall on the weekends!
Last week, we also had a little Christmas get-together with my (German) friend and her husband and we made Raclette.
Raclette does not seem to be too well-known in the US and I had to explain to some people, including J, what it is.
A “raclette grill” is an electric table-top grill with small pans, known as coupelles , which are used to heat slices of raclette cheese and other foods. Most raclette grills have a griddle top which can be used to brown bread or meat. You serve boiled or steamed potatoes, other vegetables, salami, or anything else you can think of. Each person then creates their own small servings of food by cooking small amounts of meat and vegetables on the griddle, which are then topped with cheese in the small, wedge-shaped pans that are placed under the grill to melt and brown the cheese. The accent in raclette dining is on relaxed and sociable eating and drinking, the meal often running to several hours.
We bought a shitload of different ingredients (that S and I neatly sliced and diced) and then started our feast. There was really everything imaginable on the table: four different kinds of cheese, bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, shredded carrots, apple slices, salami, corn, kidney beans, broccoli, beef, baby potatoes, cornichons, olives, pickled peppers, herb butter, baguette, … etc.
We also made our own Glühwein (mulled wine).
It was absolutely delicious and we really had a hell of a good time!
Friday and Saturday, I ran my last Christmas errands and mailed of my last Christmas cards. Fortunately I had bought stamps and such way in advance, because the line at the post office, where I dropped of my letters, was insanely long. I mean, out-of-the-mailroom-into-the-parking-lot-long!
Why can’t people plan a tiny bid ahead? And moreover, why does the post office only employ two clerks on the last Saturday before Christmas?
(That’s at least what it felt like.)
Sunday we went to see our friend Alicia and her husband. We spent the whole day (and evening) with them. Alicia and I got into a real baking frenzy and spent 8 hours baking 7 different kinds of Christmas goodies.
We made (more!) Glühwein (I think I might have acquired a taste for it!), had bagels with cream cheese and salmon (Alicia totally spoiled us), J and Alicia’s husband played Wii and watched some movies and we got a whole lot of catching up done. I am really glad we’re getting close with her (and her husband) again, because we’ve known Alicia for several years now (since college) and we always got along splendidly, we just hadn’t been in touch much the last two years due to different personal circumstances.
It’s a blessing that we happen to live so close to each other again and are able to spend time together.
Now, that Christmas Eve (traditionally the most important day of the Christmas holidays in Germany) is upon us, I am just looking forward to this:
hanging out in my PJ’s tomorrow, having a webchat with my family in the late morning when they’re getting ready for their Christmas Eve dinner, preparing a delicious Christmas dinner for J and I with “German Apple Strudel” as dessert and having a few quiet and peaceful days, watching movies and drinking hot cocoa. Oh, and possibly more Glühwein.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
And with that; Merry Christmas & peace out!