This week’s blog post features a guest, Vita Abengowe-Shaba. Vita and I went to school together. In recent times as we entered similar phases of life – weddings, pregnancies, babies, motherhood, housekeeping – we bonded. Vita is of mixed German and Nigerian heritage, which in itself lends a lot of culture blending in her journey as a mother. She is an incredible wife and mother to little Sophia. And she certainly has had an amazing role model in her own mother. As you will read from the blog post, Vita’s mother is one of those amazing mothers / housewives that goes all out to setting the scene for great memory building. There is so much to learn from the small details she has puts into making a home fit for fantastic fun-filled Christmas that her children will carry cherish throughout their lives. Thank you Vita for sharing this with us.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year; its Christmas!! German Christmas! My mum made Christmas fun and magical each year of our childhood. We had loads of activities in the run up to Christmas- fun fairs and Santa’s Grottos, baking and decorating cookies … not forgetting the Children’s party my mum had every year… And you guessed right my Dad was Santa. Every year. That’s dedication!!German Christmas in Nigeria meant that my mum had to become craft and deco queen! We started off making homemade Christmas cards, an advent calendar and an advent candle wreath with four candles, which we put on each Sunday leading up to Christmas. We used leaves, seeds and string to make it. Each Sunday a candle was lit and we had tea and cookies and listened to Christmas Music. Being a mum now last year was my first attempt to make my own family traditions.
On the 6th of December is St. Nicholas Day. On the eve of 6th before bed time, we put out our shoes in the hope that we had been good all year round and we would get sweets and fruit. Or on the other hand if we had been naughty, we would get sticks and twigs. We always got both. For my daughter, I just loaded her shoes with sweets and games.
Then it was time to bake and bake and bake. Wonderful buttery sweet smelling cookies laced with cinnamon, nuts and all things Christmassy. My mum would begin baking late November and store them in beautiful cookies tins. We would have these cookies throughout December each Sunday and when guests came.
Some cookies were made for us kids to decorate and wrap up as gifts for friends and families. Last Christmas for the first time ever I made loads of cookies. Pheww it took 3 days and nights of baking and decorating, lots of butter and sugar, but they were so delicious! Give some or all of these cookies a try if you can- way better than shop bought cookies!!!!
Find the recipes here- http://www.tasty-german-recipe.com/german-cookie-recipes.html
Germans celebrate Christmas on the 24th and that was the tradition in our household. We the kids wrote letters to Santa the night before and went to bed excited for next.We woke up and cooked up a storm- a breakfast of salmon and eggs and champagne for the adults, then I remember that all us children had to nap while my mum wrapped up last minute presents (I have to say it was more like my mum helping my dad wrap up last minute presents; my mum had all her presents wrapped up by mid December- my mum has a tradition which she still sticks too. In January of every year she has a box which she fills with gift ideas for various people and come December she just wraps them all up). Then we had a late lunch early dinner of potato salad filled with eggs and capers and gherkins and grilled sausages. Then comes the best part for us children; opening the presents while Christmas music played in the background. At midnight we all go to midnight mass. I remember looking forward to the fireworks afterwards. Back home at 1am we were allowed to have a drink and some German meatballs and more potato salad and off to bed. On the 25th we had more yummy food. Our main Christmas lunch was always a goose that had been marinating for weeks. Served with roast potatoes and garlic green beans. Christmas pudding was always for desert. My family tradition now is to have a roast leg of pork with cracking instead of the goose. Yummy Yummy!
My mum made Christmas seem effortless and full of fun. I have to say its only now that I have my own family I realise how much work went into planning and making it so special for us all. Creating such memories are special. Does not have to be elaborate but something the children can remember year in year out and when they are adults is a wonderful gift to give your Children.
Thanks Mum.Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!
This lovely blog post is with the upmost thanks and appreciation to Vita Abengowe-Shaba. Merry Christmas.