After arriving in Germany for the school year in 2008, we quickly got to experience our first German holiday which has since become a favorite of ours. Saint Martin’s Day was this past Friday, and while Brian had the day off for Veteran’s day, we were busy making preparations for our lantern parade. Traditionally, the kids make and decorate lanterns and then go with their local school on a lantern walk accompanied by music and stories, ending with a bonfire. So, we invited some friends and neighbors over for a taste of this German tradition! We bought some cheeses and crackers, had crock pots full of cider and glühwein, and put some youtube videos of St. Martin Day songs on the side of the house with a projector. We had so much fun! The moon was super bright and the expected rain held off. The cool weather was nice however, because it felt more authentic to be wearing a coat and beanie. Oh and I almost forgot! I even made the traditional St. Martin-shaped bread, Weckmann!
I have also heard about this idea (on pinterest) for Christmas, that I am trying to figure out how to adopt as a new tradition. Every child gets 4 gifts marked with a gift tag reading: WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ. I love it! It could work for the adults or the kids or both! Somehow Christmas gets overboard each year and it doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t need to be all about opening the gifts Christmas morning. Everything about Christmas is fun, from the family parties, to going out to look at lights, and everything in between. So, it doesn’t really need to be a big “to do” Christmas morning. While we enjoy giving and receiving gifts, we don’t need to break the bank, stress out, or spoil our little munchkins too much.
In our family, we just do stockings and one gift. So, we were thinking of drawing tags for the extended family. The aunts and grandparents will draw either want, need, wear or read for each child. I think this could be a new tradition!