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As an expat there are many holidays you can celebrate: those of your native country and those of the one you live in (temporarily or permanently). I feel emotionally closer to the ones from Germany because I grew up with them. However, it is much easier to celebrate the American ones now because everybody around me is celebrating them. Take for example Thanksgiving and Advent.

By Patrick Fitzgerald, via Wikimedia Commons

This past Thursday, Marco and I took part in a big “Orphan’s Thanksgiving“. It was hosted by friends of ours for all of those who aren’t close to their families (my guess is either emotionally or because of actual distances). It was a lot of fun! We hung out with friends, ate lots of food, had drinks, and played games. Everybody brought something to eat and drink and while pretty much everyone else stuck with the usual fare of turkey, potatoes, green bean casserole, and so many more typical and delicious Thanksgiving dishes,

By Joseph Zollo, via Wikimedia Commons

Marco made pizza for everybody. Last year, we brought lasagna. I guess we all stick to our own traditions in one way or another 🙂 Everybody seemed happy with the pizza even though there were some disappointed faces because they expected lasagna again. Anyways, while Thanksgiving is definitely not a part of my traditions, I have grown to like the long weekend in November that allows you to take a break and relax with friends (or family) before the Christmas craziness starts. I still don’t get the whole Black Friday madness… but maybe I’ll be in line at 3am in front of Best Buy if we stay in the US another few years 😉

By Micha L. Rieser, via Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving weekend also typically falls on the weekend when in Germany people celebrate the 1st Advent which is when you light the first candle on your Adventskranz (advent wreath). That reminds me that I still have to make mine. It is usually much less traditional than the one pictures to the left and consists of four candles and some small fake or real evergreen twigs 🙂 This is really when the Vorweihnachtszeit (pre-Christmas season) starts. From what I can tell, this pre-Christmas season is a bigger deal in Germany than it is in the US – or in Texas at least. Having a Sunday breakfast and lighting the candles on our advent wreath was a big deal growing up. And of course, I had to have an Adventskalendar (advent calendar). I don’t know how often the last door was opened and the chocolate long eaten before Christmas rolled around, but who cares. Maybe I should get myself one at World Market?! I think I’ve seen some there. What I really miss though is a nice Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market). Who doesn’t like buying fair food, cute presents, and meeting friends for Gluehwein (hot wine)? I should have some friends over and have a Gluehwein evening. On my last trip to Germany, I bought some premixed spices. so I could make it at home. But how am I going to convince people that it’s meant to be had outside when it’s really cold??? Next year, I’ll bring some to the Orphan’s Thanksgiving (if we’re still here) and mix some old and new traditions 🙂

Christmas market in Nuernberg

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  • Marthe says:

    I was pussled, when I read the heading I thought Americans had Advent, but now I realize it is German, Because we have it too.. and the Advent Calendar (I have made one for Evan/Øyvind) this year 🙂 On the 1st Sunday of Advent we usually have all the “Christmas streets” lit up, (decorations hanging from house walls – across the street, like guirlands (???).
    And on Dec 13th – St. Lucia day.. Do you have that in Germany??

    • Sabrina says:

      I haven’t made an advent calendar in ages. Lucky Oyvind 🙂 No, we don’t have St. Lucia in Germany. What is it? We do have Nikolaus on December 6th though. It’s really a holiday for kids. If you were nice, he brings sweets/presents. If you were bad, his bad counterpart (Knecht Ruprecht) brings you twigs.

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