Christmas Traditions

Dressed in comfy socks and pajamas, sitting opposite the Christmas tree, enjoying the warmth of a log fire, drinking hot chocolate or mulled wine, eating too much chocolate, and listening to Christmas carols. If someone would ask me, this is my perfect Christmas eve. Surrounded by people I love, doing nothing and just enjoying the fact that we're all together for once.

For the last four year, me and my roommate bought a Christmas tree together, which we then carried on our shoulders from the shop to our home, to the amusement of everyone who saw us. I mean, two little people carrying a 2m tree is quite funny, there's no point denying that. And I actually enjoyed putting smiles on people's faces, after all this is what Christmas should be all about.

This year I have absolutely zero Christmas decoration in my house, which is a first. But there is no point in buying some as I will be going home a week before Christmas. So I must make do with my awesome advent calendar (don't let anyone tell you you're too old for that) and the fairy lights I have hanging around anyway.

When I was little, me and my brother used to watch old films about Grimm's fairy tales and Pippi Longstocking on TV on Christmas Eve while my parents set up the Christmas tree etc. To this day I refuse to decorate the Christmas tree at my dad's as I want to be surprised each year. I just love seeing the tree at night, all illuminated and looking festive.

We then went to church, as everybody else, although we switched between a catholic and protestant service each year, depending on which church had the better nativity scene. Yup, that's how we chose where to go. I'm not a religious person, I don't like church as an institution, but I do appreciate the sense of community and comfort. I used to go to my best friend's church Christmas party, she is part of the New Apostolic Church, who always made me feel welcome despite not being one of them. But let's not make this a conversation about church and religion and stuff.

I've only been away from my family for one Christmas, and although I wasn't looking forward to it I actually had a really nice day, hanging out with friends while eating and drinking too much. Nowadays, we don't go to church any more, but I go to three different family Christmas parties each year, which is just a little exhausting tbh. Not including my aunt's birthday party on the 30th, where all the family comes together and does a belated Christmas / birthday party.

Anyways, I started writing this because I've been listening to Christmas carols for two days straight. I am one of those people who prefers the old songs to the new pop songs. The carols remind me of the old days when I would sit on the couch with my brother waiting for the Christkind to bring our presents.

When I was playing in the school orchestra we used to play two massive Christmas concerts each year, with sometimes 350-400 students on the stage, requiring not one but two conductors. And although songs like Sleigh Ride are fun to play, I most enjoy playing the carols. Or the good old german carols I used to sing along to as a kid.

Nowadays I listen to those songs to get me into the Christmas mood. And to help me forget that I still don't have a single present for anybody. Although Christmas isn't first and foremost about the gifts, I am one of those people who tries to give somewhat meaningful presents to people. But this year I feel I am completely blank in my head.

I guess it is again a reminder on how powerful music is, and how it can give you a sense of comfort, coziness, or how it can remind you of the good old days. I am one of those people who gets goosebumps when I listen to a piece of music that invokes some feeling or other. And I need to listen to an hour of music a day to feel happy and level-headed.

What was the point of this again? Oh yeah, Christmas traditions.
I guess I was just reminded that although things change and evolve, it's nice that some things stay the same. You can't stop change, but hold on to the things you love. Reminiscence about the days when you were young and didn't have a care in the world. And be glad for those days.

For me, Christmas is not about the religious origins. It is about enjoying time with your family and friends, about looking after one another, and about finding joy during those cold and dark days. Cheesy, I know.

So, don't stress out too much, call that old friend you haven't spoken to in a while, and cuddle up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate in your hand. Enjoy the Christmas season, be nice to one another, and take care of yourselves!

Yours truly.

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