Before Christmas, someone asked me if I was excited… and I had to admit… I wasn’t really. I mean, it’s not like I was big into Christmas before we had a child – with a relatively small family it’s really just another day… with presents. But with Sam too young to understand the concept, combined with my stay at home role, it just didn’t hold a lot of focus.Continue reading
Advent… time to light the candles
I’d never really thought about the word Advent before I moved to Austria. Apart from the good old Advent calendar, it never occurred to me this was anything more than a commercialisation of the lead up to Christmas. Which, it kind of is, but as it turns out, starting on the Sunday nearest to the 30th of November, Advent signifies the beginning of spiritual preparation for Christmas.Continue reading
Gruß vom Krampus
I’ve written about Krampus before, Austria’s Christmas Devil who terrifies children into behaving. Another thing I’ve learnt more recently is that on this day (December 5th), it used to be common to post a secret card to someone you admired… kind of like an unofficial Valentine. In fact, the cards were free to send, with the recipient paying postage when it arrived.
This tradition was known as a Gruß vom Krampus (Greetings from Krampus) and was often humerous. Now… from what I can tell the Krampus was a bit of a dirty old man. And the older cards seem a lot darker with more sexual overtones (just my opinion). Now, I know that Google is not the best translator, and when it comes to sayings, even worse, but when I plugged in some Krampus greetings I found online, I came up with hilarious translations. Note of course that the correct translations could be quite different.Continue reading
Weird things Austrians… bake…
I’ve had this photo for a while, and I finally dared ask hubby… “What on earth is this?” I find it to be a wholly disturbing baked good. He looked at me as if I was the crazy one and simply told me: “It’s Krampus.”
Aha. Now I see it. The horns, the bunch of birch rods it carries to beat the children with… it’s definitely Krampus. It’s actually pretty impressive. But then the question… why?Continue reading
Christmas in Lockdown – just lazy lazy lazy
I returned to work this week after more than three weeks off. I don’t think I’ve had this much time off with no ‘real goal’ in mind ever – except perhaps when I was unemployed. In the midst of lockdown (only essential shops open, restaurants takeaway only, restrictions on visiting people), there was nowhere to travel, no one to catch up with and being winter, very little to do.
I thought it would drag. But all of a sudden, it was over and I was back to work.
They allowed us out of lockdown for December 24 and 25 so Christmas could be celebrated in a semi-normal way. There were limitations on how many people you could see at one time, but since my family here is on the small side anyway, we spent Christmas pretty much in the same was as always: Covid test in the morning, gathering in the early afternoon, singing Silent Night, opening presents and eating together. Oh… wait… the Covid test, that was something new for this year.Continue reading
Long Trips – Christmas in Australia – warmth, sunshine, family & friends
Returning after a holiday always leads to a multitude of questions: How was it? What did you do? And you answer: Yeah, it was awesome! We did heaps of cool stuff! But where do you go after that? How do you pick out just a few notables that that particular person might be interested in hearing about?
Well, I just spend a month in Australia. And it was awesome! And we did heaps of cool stuff! And if you really want to know more, keep reading!
I’ll be home for Christmas – and excel gets a work out
Well, after 4 years it’s finally happening – we’re going to Oz for Christmas.
Although I can’t say I absolutely hate the warm coziness of being inside on Christmas Day while the weather outside freezes the landscape white – somehow it seems much more like the movies – but damn I’m looking forward to going back to the Aussie traditions of a Christmas morning swim, and it being too hot to roast inside. Better do it on the Barbie!
Chestnuts and Hot Beverages – the perfect wintery Christmas combination
As autumn winds down and the first frosts hit, it is a sure sign that winter is coming. Yet not everything about winter has to be cold and horrible. With the air cool and crisp and the first flakes of snow threatening, December is one of the most beautiful months to be in Europe – with Christmas markets aplenty!
Introducing Krampus, Austria’s Christmas devil, terrifying little kids into behaving
Austrians have some strange folklore, but perhaps the one which is the most disturbing, especially for kids, is the Krampus. Saint Nicholas is the good guy that rewards the well-behaved kids with gifts on December 6th. But instead of simply telling kids in Austria that he simply won’t come if they are naughty, what they get told is the following:
“If you are naughty the Krampus will find you, pack you in his sack, and take you back with him to hell.” Continue reading
My first Austrian Christmas Party – what was I thinking not wearing a dress?
Are Austrian work Christmas parties any different to Australian ones? I found out last year – and rest assured I’ll do a better job this year!
I was full of nervous excitement about my first Austrian work Christmas party. Excited because it was a night of eating good food, drinking and dancing, nervous because I’d only been with the company a month, and my German was not quite ready for drunken conversations.