Christmas 2019

I will share my thoughts on Star Wars and The Rise of Skywalker soon, but first here is the obligatory Christmas post for 2019.

Else waiting for Santa Claus

Else, my department store mannequin is looking out of the window, waiting for Santa.

I spent the holidays with my parents, as usual. My Dad and I cut down the tree on Monday morning and I decorated it on Monday evening, after running some errands and doing some last minute grocery shopping in the afternoon.

Christmas tree on patio

The Christmas tree, still undecorated, on the patio.

Christmas tree ornaments

Some of our many Christmas tree ornaments. These ornaments are some of our oldest and date from 1965, which means that they are about to become contemporary with Galactic Journey.

All in all, this is one of the better trees we’ve had. Very straight and bushy enough to provide plenty of space to hang ornaments. Though decorating the bloody thing still took about three hours, interrupted by a neighbour dropping by to bring presents. When decorating the tree I also realised that we were about to run out of candles. And because you can never buy something when it would actually be seasonally appropriate, there were no Christmas tree candles to be found anywhere on December 23. I guess retailers expect us to decorate our Christmas trees in September, when they stock the Christmas products. And so I had to improvise and mix in two slightly used candles I had saved from last year with the new ones.

Christmas Eve is the main event in Germany, so we had coffee/tea and holiday cookies, followed by the traditional Christmas dinner in my family consisting of herring salad and bread. The recipe for the herring salad goes back to my grandmother. I shared it in this guest post over at the Skiffy and Fanty Show almost two years ago. Though nowadays, I half all the ingredients, because otherwise you’ll have enough salad to last you well into the new year.

Holiday cookies

A platter of holiday cookies.

Herring salad and bread

Herring salad and bread. The bright pink colour is the result of beetroot and raspberry juice.

After dinner, we lit the Christmas tree, including the handful of real beeswax candles that had given me such trouble earlier. The candles only burn for about half an hour under constant supervision. Real live candles are still pretty popular in Germany, even our President has some on his official office tree. And every year, the most exciting thing about his Christmas address is wondering whether the tree will catch fire, especially since Steinmeier gets way too close to the burning candles for comfort and some of those straw stars are also way closer to the candles than I would ever put them.

Christmas tree

Our Christmas tree, fully lit.

Christmas tree

And here is a shot of the Christmas tree taken without the flash.

Christmas tree close-up

A closer look at the Christmas tree with its vintage ornaments. Notable pieces include a Hallmark Tasmanian Devil, a pair of vintage woodshavings angels and a Wedgewood ornament I bought as a student in London.

Christmas tree close-up

And another close-up look at the Christmas tree. There are lots of angels and other wooden figurines from the Erzgebirge region here. I took these pictures without the flash, which resulted in that neat purple halo effect around the candles.

Christmas tree close-up

And another Christmas tree close-up, highlighting several vintage ornaments from the 1960s as well as a set of glass ornaments I got in elementary school.

Christmas tree close-up

And one more Christmas tree close-up. You can see my cherished woodcut Disney ornaments here.

My Dad with Christmas tree

My Dad with the Christmas tree in the background.

Once the live candles on the tree had been extinguished, it was time to open the presents.

Wrapped presents

Wrapped Christmas presents (my Dad’s).

Wrapped Christmas presents

Wrapped Christmas presents (my Mom’s).

Wrapped Christmas presents (mine)

Wrapped Christmas presents (mine).

Dad unwrapping presents

My Dad is unwrapping Christmas presents.

Mom unwrapping Christmas presents

My Mom is unwrapping Christmas presents.

Me unwrapping Christmas presents

I am unwrapping Christmas presents.

Unwrapped Christmas presents

Unwrapped Christmas presents (my Dad’s). I used the socks as an improvised censor bar to hide a stray boob.

Unwrapped Christmas presents

Unwrapped Christmas presents (my Mom’s). The Murderbot book is the German omnibus edition. As for the Robert Galbraith novel, I bought that before the recent transphobia controversy errupted, because my Mom liked the first one.

Crochet Christmas tree

In case you’re wondering about the crochet Christmas tree, here is a closer look at it. I made it myself (and the quilted tablerunner, for that matter). The baubles are actually little silver bells, so it jingles.

Unwrapped presents (mine)

Unwrapped Christmas presents (mine). Lots of books (and a package of tea), which is just as I like it.

For those who are wondering about the lone German language book, that’s the brand-new Niegeschichte (Neverhistory) of Science Fiction by German SF writer and critic Dietmar Dath. I’m a big fan of Mr. Dath’s work both as a writer and critic (see his review of The Rise of Skywalker here as well as this video interview with Denis Scheck about Niegeschichte and this radio interview with Max Oppel) and therefore his history of science fiction topped my Christmas list this year. Thankfully, Santa delivered.

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