The Obligatory Christmas Post 2020

Yes, I know that Christmas has been over for four days now, but I was pretty busy with a large translation job, so here is the somewhat belated obligatory 2020 Christmas post.

In spite of the pandemic, our Christmas wasn’t all that different this year. I spent the holidays with my parents whom I see almost every day anyway. And since most of the extended family we used to see on Christmas have passed away by now, the only other people I saw – briefly and with sufficient distance – were neighbours.

Unfortunately, there was no suitable tree in my parents’ garden this year, so we had to buy one.  It’s a Nordmann fir like pretty much all commercially sold Christmas trees in Germany. It’s a nicely shaped tree, too, though I will never understand why Nordmann firs are so popular as Christmas tree, because the long needles actually make decorating the tree more difficult.

Christmas tree

The Christmas tree to be in my parents’ garden and still undecorated.

I decorated the tree on the evening of December 23. It was a lot of work, because we have a lot of ornaments, including many vintage ones which are more than fifty years old and very delicate. Still, I think the tree turned out well.

Christmas Tree

Christmas tree shot with flash

Christmas tree

Christmas tree shot without flash. Note the real candles, which only burn for about fifteen minutes or so.

Christmas tree close-up

A close-up look at the Christmas tree and the vintage ornaments. Some of these are more than 50 years old.

Christmas tree close-up

Another close-up look at the Christmas tree

Christmas tree close-up

Another close-up look at the Christmas tree with lots of wooden ornaments. Most of those are actually mine and were gifts by relatives.

Christmas tree

The Christmas tree viewed from another angle with two bonus reflections in the windows.

Christmas Eve is the main event in Germany, so we had coffee/tea and Dundee cake, which I baked just after lunch, because cake with lots of fruit and a shot of whisky just feels very festive to me.

Christmas Eve coffee table

Christmas Eve coffee table with Dundee cake and decorations.

Afterwards, we had the traditional Christmas dinner in my family, which consists of herring salad, served with homemade walnut bread and equally homemade Café de Paris butter. The recipe for the butter may be found here. 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 three years ago. Though nowadays, I half all the ingredients, because otherwise you’ll have enough salad to last you well into the new year. Unless it goes off first.

Herring salad with homebaked walnut bread and Café de Paris butter

Herring salad with homebaked walnut bread and equally homemade Café de Paris butter

After dinner, we unwrapped the presents. Because of the pandemic, I ordered everything online this year, even things I normally would have bought in person, which wasn’t ideal, but worked out fine in the end.

My Dad with the Christmas tree

My Dad with the lit up Christmas tree in the background.

Christmas presents wrapped

Christmas presents wrapped (my Dad’s)

Christmas presents

Christmas presents wrapped (my Mom’s)

Christmas presents wrapped

Christmas presents wrapped (mine). The mailman brought the two books which are not wrapped on Christmas Eve, so they just went under the tree as they were.

Dad unwrapping Christmas presents

My Dad unwrapping Christmas presents and admiring the female form on the cover of the 2020 Hot Girls calendar.

Mom unwrapping Christmas presents

My Mom unwrapping Christmas presents.

Me unwrapping Christmas presents

Me unwrapping Christmas presents. I didn’t bother to get dressed up, because I didn’t feel like it.

Unwrapped Christmas presents

Unwrapped Christmas presents (my Dad’s). This time around, it was not necessary to censor the calendar. The little bags contain breadbaking spices, BTW, because my Dad has taken up breadbaking.

Unwrapped Christmas presents

Unwrapped Christmas Presents (my Mom’s). The books are all mysteries this time around, three historical mysteries (Abir Mukherjee, Antonia Hodgson and Volker Kutscher) and one contemporary mystery (Elly Grffith). You can also see some of the crochet Christmas tree ornaments I made.

Unwrapped Christmas presents

Unwrapped Christmas presents (mine). Again, lots of books plus a calendar and a bottle of mulled wine courtesy of the Bremen translators’ meet-up.

Finally, here are some random decoration photos:

Christmas table

Table with wine and holiday decorations.

Glowing Madonna

The Virgin Mary of the glowing heart (courtesy of a votive candle) is back, together with another voive candle holder and a glass nativity scene.

The Virgin Mary of the glowing heart ornament is a favourite of my Mom’s and actually inspired one of my stories, where a similarly glowing figure scares a would-be thief into mending his ways.

The Playmobil nativity scene is back as well. The shepherds are actually farmer women and children, since male shepherds were unavailable. Though I also imagine that farmer women would have had much more practical gifts for Mary and her child than either the three wise men (whom Playmobil does produce) or the male shepherds. I’ve also decided that should I ever come across a Playmobil drummer, I’ll purchase him or her and add them to the nativity scene as the Little Drummer Boy from the song.

Playmobil nativity scene

Playmobil nativity scene


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