Monday 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas!

Dear friends in Blogland,
No matter whether you are regular or occasional readers, commenters or not, fellow bloggers or readers only: 
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, and all the best for 2019!

My biggest Christmas wish is coming true: Having my Dad still with us. The four of us (my parents and my sister) will be able to spend Christmas Eve together, something that was not at all certain back in October when my Dad almost died.

And last week Thursday, we even went to the Christmas Market together! My Dad coped rather well, walking with his walking aid (he hates the thing but it really does make things easier). We all had mulled wine and some of the food traditionally offered at the market. My sister took this picture of us, and I am allowed to show it here:

On Friday, I left the office at 4:00 pm, feeling like a runner who gets really exhausted on the last bit and is just glad to have finally made it to the finishing line. I won't go back to work until the 7th of January - such luxury!

Saturday morning saw me on the train to Offenburg; I spent the weekend at O.K.'s. It was the village band's annual concert on Saturday evening. I had helped with the selling of tickets a couple of weeks ago and heard O.K. practise a few times, but of course I had never heard the entire band playing the pieces. This year's motto was "Heros", and here is the play list:
  • Music for a Hero (Thomas Doss)
  • Ivanhoe (Bert Appermont)
  • Grandfather's Clock (George Doughty)
  • Cry of the Last Unicorn (Rossano Galante)
  • The Polar Express (Alan Silvestri)
  • Astronautenmarsch (Josef Ullrich)
  • The Wizard of Oz (Harold Arlen)
  • Indiana Jones Selection (John Williams)
  • Satchmo! (Louis Armstrong; arranged by Ted Ricketts)
I am sure my friend Kay will know most of them! Of the three extras, the last one was what must be one of the most popular Christmas songs in Germany (O du Fröhliche), and many in the audience sang along. The band played well, and the soloists were excellent. The village hall was decorated beautifully for Christmas. Afterwards, we had sparkling wine and snacks and talked to friends and family who had come to listen. We were home shortly before 1:30 am.

Sunday was rainy and windy and, after we had spent the morning helping with the clearing and cleaning of the village hall, a very quiet day for us, with only about an hour's walk between showers, and at 8:00 pm, O.K. took me to the station. Both train journeys were smoothly on time and not crowded, and when I arrived home last night at 10:30, I lit the four candles on my Advent wreath, had cup of tea and some chocolate and watched the second half of Midsomer Murders before going to bed.

My to-do list for today reads as follows:
  • open Advent calendars:
  • have coffee, read emails and blogs:
  • write this blog post:
  • shower and get dressed
  • light candles on wreath and have breakfast there for a change (and not in front of the computer)
  • blow out candles
  • put on CD with Christmas songs sung by Thurnscoe male choir
  • clean flat while listening to CD, singing along and having little cries alternatingly
  • write card to favourite neighbour
  • take card and present over to said neighbour (the elderly lady whose garden I see from my kitchen window)
  • have a small meal of things in the fridge that need eating up
  • have a little rest (optional)
  • play favourite computer game for a while (optional)
  • write blog post on my other blog (about said computer game; optional)
  • light candles again and sit down with Christmas book from my childhood
  • have another little cry
  • change into pretty dress and put on some lipstick
  • put presents for tonight in big bag
  • take said big bag and walk to parents'
  • celebrate Christmas Eve with family and the three friends that are part of the family
As you can see, only the first three are done. Now I'm off to do the rest!
Update at 2:30 pm: more things ticked off the list!

And then?

Christmas Day will see me on the morning train back to O.K.'s, because his sister has invited us for lunch. I will travel back home again in the evening on Boxing Day. The 27th I intend to spend mostly with my family. On the afternoon of the 28th, I will once more be on the train to Offenburg - we are yet again invited somewhere, and again on the 29th. I am not sure yet what day I will be travelling back to Ludwigsburg, but I already know it will be by car with O.K., as we are going to celebrate New Year's Eve at my parents', with my sister and a friend being there, too.
Whether we'll be back at O.K.'s parents for their traditional New Year's reception (it sounds like a grand affair - in reality, it is just "us", the family, having champagne and a traditional regional meal) I don't know yet, as his parents have also had health troubles. In any case, O.K. has to work between Christmas and New Year but has the first week of January off, so that we get to spend a bit more time together.

Let me finish this post with pictures I took this morning from the Christmas book of my childhood, mentioned in above's to-do list. As you can see, it is very battered and well thumbed, but I would never, ever throw it away.

I do not remember exactly how old my sister and I were when we were given this book, but it always belonged to us together, and at some stage, we wrote our names and (wrongly spelled) address in the front. We made a few clumsy attempts to repair it when we were still kids, and they are just as much part of the book as the pictures, song texts and stories in it. The pictures coined my ideas of Christmas, and are very traditionally German; in style, they range from the 1930s to the late 60s. 

What is your personal Christmas treasure you can not imagine this time of year without?


  1. I am glad your father recovered. You sure are a busy girl, I get tired just looking at the things you will doing. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Hugs from Sicily.

    1. It's not too bad, Francesca; most of the things on the list do not take very long, and I have all day until it is time to walk to my parents'.
      Merry Christmas to you and yours, too!

  2. Merry Christmas Meike, I hope you and your loved ones have a lovely time together, as that is what life is all about, isn't it? So lovely to see your parents too and your Dad looks well.
    I love your Christmas book. I don't have a physical treasure as such, just family traditions such as watching some version of A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve and happily preparing for the Christmas dinner feast, this year there are 13 of us for dinner, good job I'm not superstitious!

    1. Merry Christmas Karen! 13 for dinner - who does the cooking?
      There are going to be seven of us at my parents', as far as I know, and we'll have the traditional Christmas Eve meal of Wiener sausages and spuds salad.

  3. I hope that your Christmas would be enjoyable and may the essence of Christmas remain always with you. Merry Christmas and Happy New year!

    1. Thank you, and the same to you!
      Merry Christmas and all the best for the new year.

  4. Happy Christmas to you too Meike. Rachel

  5. Merry Christmas dear friend! Your holiday sounds wonderful. I wish you and your family and friends and O.K. all the joy of the season! xxo

    1. Merry Christmas to you, too, dear friend!
      By the way, your card arrived this morning - thank you!

  6. Merry Christmas
    Love your blog

    1. Thank you, Brenda - on both accounts! I think this is your first comment here, right? Welcome to my "Mental Library", and merry Christmas to you, too!

  7. I still have on single tree ornament from my childhood - a little 'silver' house
    far too fragile to use. It is wrapped in cotton wool in a little box and has been there for years, but I wouldn't throw it away. Your Christmas sounds lovely and here's wishing better health to your Dad for next year. Happy Christmas to you all - meet you in blogland in the New Year.

    1. Thank you, Pat! I very much like the idea of your little silver house safely resting in cotton wool in its own little box.

  8. Merry Christmas to you and your family, OK included.
    I have "The Night Before Christmas" book that was my mother's when she was a little girl and like your book it has names and penciled scribbling (this I did as a child) all throughout. It is a dear treasure and has a place of prominence each Christmas.

    1. Thank you, Jill! Isn't it wonderful how books can pick up so much from their owners and readers through the years? And it's the other way round as well, of course!

  9. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!
    How lucky you are to have the book with so many memories attached. I don't have anything that dates back to my childhood but special memories surface when I see the felt stockings I made when our middle son was a few months old - that would be 51 years ago.

    1. Thank you, Joyce! How lovely to still have the felt stockings you made half a century ago.

  10. I hope you have a wonderful time with your parents, sister, OK and friends. That is what Christmas is all about xxx. Safe travels to you and Ok as you go backwards and forwards too. Merry Xmas:)

    1. Thank you, Fi! The last few journeys went really well, with all departures and arrivals punctual and no connection missed. It could stay that way as far as I'm concerned :-)

  11. Oh my, that's a lot of comings and goings and train journeys... <:) I'm happy for you that your father is still with you and even able to do some such things as going to the Christmas market with you. Lovely photo of the three of you! I'll probably write a bit more about my Christmas on my own blog before the day is over; but for my own part I'm happy nowadays NOT to have to travel anywhere :) May all your journeys go smoothly and as planned! ♥

    1. The next set of train journeys has gone smoothly, too - I have arrived home last night as scheduled, and will sleep here another night before travelling back to OK's tomorrow.
      I loved your Christmas post!

  12. Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones, Meike! I am so glad your father is back with you and able to enjoy a Christmas market, and most of all, enjoy the holiday with his family.

    1. The same to you and all your loved ones, Kristi! Yes, we are all very glad about that, too.

  13. Well it's now Friday 28th and I can hardly even remember Christmas Eve. You are so organised. I make lists too (through not that detailed). However I'm not quite sure why because life never seems to go in the direction the list anticipated. My daily (unwritten) list includes breakfast and reading blogs. However as I don't have a set time for getting up in the winter mornings I may or may not have time for that before I have to go out or embark on other tasks.

    I think I may have blogged about my childhood books but in case I haven't I've just put it on the 'Posts to write' list which is next to the 'Things to be mended list' which is next to........

    1. Many of my lists are only on my mind, too. But I'd be lost without my diary - an old-fashioned book where I write down my appointments and things that need doing. Working sometimes at 3 or 4 different places for different customers all within 5 days of a typical working week means I have to be organised, or I'd end up being at the wrong place at the wrong time!
      Also, travelling by public transport means you have to be at least a little organised, as you know from your frequent travels using the ferry.

      The books of your childhood? That is very interesting! I can't remember any such post of yours.