I will share my thoughts on Star Wars and The Rise of Skywalker soon, but first here is the obligatory Christmas post for 2019.
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.
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.
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.
Once the live candles on the tree had been extinguished, it was time to open the presents.
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.