Christmas is my favourite time of the year. All the lights, the hot chocolate, the Christmas songs, and the time with my family are the most special things for me. Before I moved to Germany, we would start to celebrate early, at the beginning of December. But since I am here, I can only be with my family close to the Christmas days and I just visit them for a couple of weeks, which is very short for me.

Germany starts to celebrate it even before November, which brings warmth to my heart because I see all the Christmas markets, the lights, and people getting together, and makes me feel less sad that I am still not with my family.

Although I go later to Portugal to be with my family, I have my friends here to enjoy the Christmas spirit, the German Christmas spirit. Not everyone religiously celebrates Christmas, but I see that they also like this time of the year. Going to the Christmas market with them, having “Christmas” dinners, and just enjoying this magical time with them is very special for me, they are like my second family, and I am grateful that they know how special this time is for me.

We are all international students, and most of us are from a warm country, so spending time with each other and celebrating this time of the year in this new country and cold weather is essential, even if some of them are not catholic. These are a few things that we like to do to “celebrate” Christmas:

Christmas markets 

Like every other German, we love to go to Christmas markets together. In Darmstadt, in Frankfurt, we are even planning to go to more cities to discover more beautiful markets. Even if it is terribly cold, it’s a new tradition for us to go, eat currywurst, drink something hot, and just enjoy our time together, and it kind of makes the cold go away (for a little while). Sometimes some animations happen, like people dancing in beautiful costumes, some bands, and Christmas music. It’s always so nice to go!

Hot drink at the Christmas Market
Hot drink at the Christmas Market@ Susana

Dinner parties

One of my favourite things to do at Christmas in Portugal is to have dinner parties, where everyone can cook, and we try different things. Of course, I couldn’t let go of that tradition, so I always invited my friends for a “non” Christmas dinner where we could just try our foods and just celebrate together.

Dinner party
Dinner party© Elisa

Respect each others

So, even though most of my friends don’t celebrate Christmas religiously, they know how important it is for me and they like to try different Christmas traditions, especially German traditions. We are all finding our way here in Germany, and I believe that it can be hard for them not to relate to this celebration one hundred percent, but everyone respects everyone and their beliefs and we know what is important for the other ones and we are together in the especial moments.

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