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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nikolaus and living with Traditions
When I was young I wasn't aware of what living with traditions really meant. But when we get older things look definitely different. 

Well, Nikolaus day is over. It was always a swell for us kids when we were permitted to put a shoe on the window sill the evening before December 6. And if there ever was a day when we kids were eager to get out of bed in the morning, it sure was december 6. Our first errand was to check the shoe on the window sill. We KNEW that during the night Nikolaus would have been there and left chocolate candys in our shoe. One year I found it a smart idea to put two shoes out, one at my grandma, who lived downstairs, and the other in our own place. And would you believe it there WAS candy in both shoes. But hey, it happened only once.

In Europe, Christmas Eve is the big day for all kids, That's when everyone receives gifts from Santa.

While the parcels were all packed in nice gift-wrap and locked away in the livingroom so we couldn't sneak-peek at them, one of the things I always knew would be under the tree, was the manger, which originally was made by my grand uncle Willi Harwerth, who during the second half of the 20. century, was a reknown graphic artist in Germany. He had designed this manger motive on a sheet of stiff paper. It was available in book stores during the forties and early fifties. The different shapes could be cut out with a scissor and glued onto cardboard, Small nails held the figures in place on numbered spaces. The whole thing could be taken apart again after Christmas was over, and next year it would be there again. My parents placed the manger under the Christmas Tree which was always carrying real candles. (no, we never burned down the house) 

I hadn't seen the manger for many years when I, a few years ago, received a parcel from my brother in Germany. With modern technology he had re-created the manger and glued everything onto cardboard, flat-packed it and shipped to Canada. Needless to say it was a touching surprise for an older fellow to see part of his childhood pop up so unexepectedly.

Of course we always carry the manger in our motor home and come Christmas time we put it all together.

Simple things like this are hardly available anymore. Today, everything is run by an electronic gadget and made of plastics.

My grand uncle died in 1982 and it was felt as a great loss for the entire family. You can either google him or follow this link which will take you to a German WIKIPEDIA page.

1 comment:

  1. Great tradition stories Peter. I like the manger scene its so simple but still has all the story with it. You might want to consider getting a good saw that wood looks a little big for the fire pit. It reminds me of a farm family that I use to visit with my dad when I was a wee boy they had a kitchen wood stove that had a front clean out door that they would just push a long 8 foot tree into and as it burned shove it in some more. It did work but made getting around the front of the stove to cook the meals a little difficult and if the draft wasn't good the kitchen had a smokey ambiance that mixed with the aroma of rubber boots drying in the oven and a pot of potatoes and oat mash for the pigs boiling on the top..ahhh childhood memories that cannot be found today.

    Be careful out there


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