Cookies and Milk for Santa Claus

So unterschiedlich ist die Weihnachtszeit!

Lange Spaziergänge, festliche Menüs, süsse Vanillekipferl: In der Adventszeit gibt es die verschiedensten Traditionen.

Nun geht die Adventszeit auf die Zielgerade. Die Kinder bekommen heute Ferien, übermorgen wird die vierte Kerze angesteckt. Das Christkind und der Weihnachtsmann werden sehnlichst erwartet. Wie aber begehen die Zolliker und Zumiker die Weihnachtszeit und das Fest? Wird es besinnlich oder eher sättigend?

Wir haben grosse und kleine Leser und Leserinnen befragt; sie erzählen uns ihre Traditionen. Und da die Redaktion immer wieder gebeten wird, doch auch mal englischsprachige Texte zu publizieren, kommen wir dieser Bitte mit dem Bericht von Michele Stengard aus Florida gerne nach.

Our Christmas celebration begins the weekend after Thanksgiving around the first week of December. We all go together and let the kids pick out the Christmas tree perfect for hanging ornaments and one smells very fragrant. First we place a festively decorated tree skirt beneath the tree and string it with white lights. Next all of the ornaments and decorations including handmade by the children, glass globes and those given over the years as gifts are carefully unwrapped and placed on the tree. Garland is placed around the tree and is a bit different every year. This year we made our traditional New England cranberry and popcorn strands to decorate the tree. Gold and silver tinsel, silver garland and ribbon is also a favorite some years. The tree-topper this year is a traditional red glass cone. A mini­ature Christmas town scene is on display with people skating, skiers on a slope, a Nativity Scene and Santa’s workshop complete with elves and reindeer. Outside the front of the house, trees and bushes are decorated with colored or white strands of lights. A large wreath of evergreen branches or other greenery is placed on the front door with a red ribbon and decorated with miniature ornaments. Advent candles are lit daily and advent calendars are opened to reveal a new surprise each day.

Presents for everyone in the family and those received from relatives and friends are placed under the Christmas tree – waiting to be opened until Christmas morning. A large decorated stocking with each person in the family’s name is hung (by the fireplace if there is one) up at the same time the tree is decorated. On Christmas Eve, we leave out cookies and milk for Santa Claus for his break during a busy night delivering gifts. When the kids were small, we would sprinkle a bit of Reindeer food with green and red glitter on the lawn to help Santa find the house more easily.

On Christmas Day kids awake to find the stockings full of chocolate, candy and small presents from Santa. Under the tree, presents from Santa are now mixed in with the other ones from friends and family. We drink hot cocoa with whipped cream and serve pancakes while we open presents all morning. Around noon we take a break and the cooking starts for Christmas dinner. Dinner is served at 4 o’clock for as many relatives that have the chance to travel and spend Christmas together (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins). We have a roasted turkey with stuffing and gravy and often a ham as well. The meat is served with mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole with a pecan crumble topping, green beans with almond sli­vers, corn, and bread rolls.

After dinner, everyone relaxes and prepares for dessert which usually pies – in our family always key lime pie (living in Florida twist), apple pie and pumpkin pie and sometimes pecan pie depending on which guests we have that year. Pies are always topped with freshly whipped cream or vanilla icecream.

Von Michele Stengard

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