Saturday 23 December 2023

Advent Calendar Blog Hop - Day 23

Hello lovely people! Today it is my time to write a post for Jo's wonderful yearly Advent Calendar Blog Hop. I'm going to start with a picture of a new Christmas stitch I made this year, a little flat fold for my sis in law.

This is 'Waiting for Santa' designed by Maria Warmke of 'The Stitcherhood' and released in the 2021 JustCrossStitch ornament issue. I thought 'waiting for Santa' would fit this post very well because, Jo's topic that she gave us this year was Santa stories, and, sure will be waiting for those! Honestly, I don't have any Santa stories because we don't do the whole Santa thing here. *gasp*, I know, but here me out...history lesson time!

I do not know how the Santa tradition evolved in other countries, but in Germany, things are as followed. Originally, there were no presents on Christmas itself, but St Nikolaus used to bring little gifs for the children on December 6th. Then, when reformation happened, the newly-emerging protestants thought the whole St Nikolaus business smelled of veneration of Saints, and hat's a Catholic thing that any respectable protestant wouldn't want in their house, no thank you. So instead, they started the tradition of the Christkind - baby Jesus himself - bringing the gifts on Christmas Eve. So we had St Nikolaus for Catholic areas, and the Christkind for protestant children.

Times went on, and traditions evolved. I guess mostly they evolved because children love presents, and before long, Protestants started celebrating St Nikolaus again as well, and Catholics adopted the Christkind. And while all that was happening, the protestant regions in the North of Germany became influenced by their Scandinavian and British neighbors, and started replacing the Christkind with their own version of Santa Clause, the Weihnachtsmann. So it's not as easy as saing 'Germany doesn't have Santa Clause', but for me, living in the South of the country, it has always been the Christkind.

The Christkind, by the way, can be seen at the Christmas Market in Nürnberg, where they select a blond girl for the role every yeah, evolution! Even though technically the Christkind is baby Jesus, in any depiction they are usually portraid as a girl, some kind of female angel. And not so much baby, too, I think you need to be 18 to get elected in Nurnberg! 

So how did things work in my childhood? I think it's another thing 'different' here in Germany that often the living room is not central to the house, but a little off to the side. About a week before Christmas, the door to the living room would suddenly be locked, with some kind of decoration around the doorknob that indicated - angels at work! During that time, the Christmas tree and all the presents would find their way in there. On Christmas Eve, we'd go to church in the afternoon and have dinner when we came back (traditional South German Christmas dinner is potato salad and ham, because the ham can cook while everyone is at church). Then after dinner we'd change into our Christmas clothes (I remember always having a special dress or jumper for the occation) and at some point, a little bell would ring - which was the sign that everything was ready and we could go into the living room to open presents now! 

I know one year I (at that age when you are getting sceptical of the magic) remarked that the bell would always ring while grandpa was out of the room. So the next year, the bell suddenly rang when everyone was present! To this day I have no idea how they did it, but I continued to 'play along' (not quite convinced, but not willing to take any chances either) for several more years.


Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Thanks for taking part in the Advent Calendar Blog Hop this year. Love the cats waiting for Santa around the fireplace.
Your stories are most interesting too. Especially the magic bell, very intriguing!

jocondine said...

What a funny and cut pattern! I'm surrounded by "cat persons" certainly a good reason to love it! Joyeuses fêtes de Noël ! xxx

Shelly said...

What a great story about the ringing bell! Kids are smart and figure these things out. It's a nice memory you have of your Christkind and how it was in your family😊Happy New Year, Leonore!

Denise :) said...

Lenore, I love your story about your childhood Christmas! It really is delightful to learn the traditions of other cultures and countries. My daughter homeschools her kiddos, and they did a lesson on St. Nicholas and enjoyed little presents on December 6. Fun stuff! Your stitchery is darling and perfectly themed for the post! I hope you had a Merry Christmas ... and have a very Happy New Year! Hugs! :)

Astrids dragon said...

I know growing up in Germany, my Mom's family would open their gifts on Christmas eve. Sadly, my Dad never let her do that when they were married, he was stuck on Christmas day only. I like how they got you with the bell ringing!
Such a cute stitch, that could be our house but we're a cat short!

Rachel said...

I love the history lesson! I didn't know different versions of 'Santa' were borne from different religions. I did, however, know about 6th December being St Nikolaus Day. My son was due on that date and early in the pregnancy we chose Nicholas as his middle name.
I love the idea of the tree being magically decorated in a closed room. I might have to try that next year, and work out how to magically ring a bell!

Toki said...

Thank you for tracing me about Christmas in Germany. I love your simple question and your grandfather’s story.
This gift for your sister-in law is too cute.😂