The favorite season begins
The cozy pre-Christmas season has begun. Dive into the past and learn how Christmas was celebrated in earlier times.
The "silent" time
The "silent" time began with the knocks. Every Thursday afternoon before Christmas we, my siblings and I, went from house to house in the neighborhood and sang Christmas carols. In return, we either got a few shillings, home-baked cookies, or candy. The afternoons by the tiled stove at home in the parlor were always especially cozy. Time flew by with a game of Mensch ärgere dich nicht or Memory.
Incense and cookies
After school, a wide variety of cookies were baked, such as Linzer eyes, vanilla crescents, gingerbread or aniseed bows. Either at home or at grandma's house, it was a hustle and bustle. Everyone helped in the Christmas bakery. My siblings preferred to taste the cookies before they disappeared into cookie tins in the Christmas room. Only the Christ Child was allowed access to the Christmas room. The presents were also wrapped there and kept until Christmas Eve. Sometimes it smelled like incense coming from the Christmas room. Thinking back now, I have the smell in my nose.
Santa Claus knew everything
The Advent calendar always came from St. Nicholas, usually homemade and filled with sweets. Sometimes he knocked on our front door or came by in person with a Santa Claus sack. It's funny that St. Nicholas always knew so much about our misdeeds and our grandpa never got to see him? I wonder why, this secret was never revealed.
Christmas scent all over the house
On Advent Sundays, as soon as it became dusk, my siblings and I played music at the Advent wreath. My big brother and I with the recorder, not always without mistakes. The rest of the family sang the old Christmas carols live. I still have the booklet with the lyrics.
Dear Christ Child
Writing the letter to the Christ Child was always especially important to us. The many wishes were written on stationery, decorated with drawings and deposited at the window for the Christ Child. Sometimes I was quite disappointed when the letter was still there the next morning. On the other hand, sometimes there was an answer with golden writing or sometimes golden blond hair was left behind. Unbelievable what joy we had in it. Also an experience every year, the setting up of the manger. A few days before Christmas we took the crib from the attic, cleaned it and put it up in the living room. The crib was festively decorated with the collected pine cones and branches. The baby Jesus was placed in the manger only on Christmas Day.
Give homemade cookies as a gift
On Christmas Day itself, the excitement was great from the morning. After breakfast we went out. If it snowed, we went to the ski slope or downhill on the toboggan behind the house. At green Christmas we were allowed to go to grandpa's barn and take care of the animals. The Christmas program on TV was also a highlight, ORF 1 and ORF 2 were the choices. We were particularly taken with the Christmas fairy tales on ORF 1. There were also no arguments among us siblings. My two younger siblings had to take their afternoon nap until they were 10 years old. We older ones were allowed to visit the neighborhood with Dad and distribute the homemade cookies. Also a particularly nice custom.
The most exciting day of the year passed almost too slowly. I love to think back to the many wonderful customs in our family. Traditionally, we always had sausage soup for dinner on Christmas Eve. A clear homemade beef soup with sausages. We children could hardly eat any of it, the excitement was much too great. Just don't miss the bell of the Christ Child.
Oh, how the tension was great, full of awe into the living room. The many lights on the Christmas tree, the smell of incense and cookies, the packages under the tree....a still beautiful image in my head.