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Christmas in Germany:

In finding the right tree, one must find the perfect dimensions. Here Katrin and her father see how close they can come to the ceiling of their living room, a practice found also in North American homes this holiday.
We find also the familiar tradition of lashing the tanenbaum to the roof of the family car with rope, bungy cords, and rubber bands.
One very noticable different is that many European homes retain the tradition of lighting the Christmas tree with real candles. Yes, the tree could wholey ignite at any moment, but therein we see why our own Christmases lack a certain sense of excitement, a void ineffectively filled by TV specials. Actually, it's not as dangerous as you might think; small yet sturdy metal clips offer a nest for each small candle. And they are lit only on the 24th while the artificial lights, exactly like ours, are turned on the rest of the time.

Speaking of the 24th, our Christmas Eve IS Christmas in Europe. More on that in my journal section.

Below we see the Seibel nativity set. It's detail, age, and hand craftsmanship gives a deeper sense of the tradition behind this too-often commercialized holiday. (Each figure is close to 5 inches tall.)

Noticably absent from the picture below is any trace of turkey. Though not like any Christmas meal I had had, this fondue was unbelievably good, and the nature of such a meal requires a united effort, symbolic of the season, to obtain all parts of the meal.
There's me to the right posing in laughable mock-intellectual fashion, adorned with some of the many gifts I received that night. The Famous Seibel family gave me those sweet Adidas shades while Herr Seibel gave me what is one of the great Christmas presents of all time: a hardcover edition of The Neverending Story (which was originally written by a German author, Michael Ende, who has come to be one of my all time favourites). I am sipping green Berlinerweisser "beer" studiously through a metal pipe-like straw. Quite academic, huh?
And though no mass present unwrapping awaited me, I rose on (our) Christmas day with no less (conditioned) excitement and commenced preparation of a good Canadian breakfast: egg-in-a-hole with back bacon! Mmmm.
Dinner on the night of the 25th was racklette (do I have the spelling right there?) Another team-effort meal, it was so great to have because for many Christmases I have enjoyed racklette with my best friend, Pete(r), whose dad hails from a German canton in Switzerland.

Just look at the cornucopia of food on that tray! And that is but a small representation of the whole offering.

Below is pictured (with the tip of my finger) a stocking stuffer from Katrin: the World's Smallest Book from the Gutenberg Press. Look a' tha wee thing!!! The Lord's Prayer is written in 7 languages within.