"Christmas in Austria"

by Erna
(Vancouver, Canada)

I am from a family of ten children. We had no gifts, but we did have beautiful Christmas tree, which my Dad decorated behind the closed door.

My Mom always made a large pot of Potato Soup and fresh bread and a large Apple Strudel.

After all of us kids got cleaned up and dressed in our best clothes, my Dad would ring a little bell, which meant "Christkind has arrived" and we were allowed to go in and see the beautiful Christmas tree. My Mom would start out with singing Ave Maria and after that we all sang different Christmas Songs.

Later on, we visit some of our neighbours to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. The parents all sat together for coffee and us kids played games.

At 10:00 pm, my Mother would heat up "weisswurst" for us. After that, we went to the "Midnight Mass" in our little town. Since we lived a long way from the Church (about an hour walk), we had to start out early.

The most beautiful memory about the Christmas Midnight Mass was that at midnight a trumpet player would stand in the Church tower and play "Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht" and then we all walked home in knee-deep snow.

No gifts. No fancy food. But, a beautiful Christmas it was while I was growing up in a large family.

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Dec 02, 2014
We are in Australia and it's horrible
by: Doris & Hedwig

All the lovely messages from people made me cry so much, and my mother too.

In Australia there is no Christmas like in Europe and it's like a circus (not festive).

This is why your stories make us cry. My mother always told me about her Christmas as a child, and I would have loved to have a Christmas like that.

We still make biscuits and stolen but when its 40 degrees you don't want that.

I so enjoyed everybody's stories, just the same as my mothers time.


Nov 06, 2014
Weihnachten in Amberg
by: Erika Armistead

Thank you for your Christmas story. I always think back when every body was waiting for Christmas. We knew we wouldn't get new toys. I had an older brother and he made me a dollhouse. So I got the dollhouse every year and a doll that Mom made new clothes for it.

In the afternoon we took a nap while the tree was decorated. Then we dressed up and when the bell ring we came in. We had cookies, apples, and nuts on the table. Mom fixed dinner like Weisswurst with Brot or Semmel. After that we could play for a while and then we all got ready to go to the Midnightmass up on the Maria Hilf Berg. It was such a nice Christmas. We always looked forward to it when I grew up.

Now it is all about money and it don't feel like Christmas no more.

Nov 05, 2014
Christmas German style
by: Christy

i grew up in Vancouver, but the whole family had come from Germany & Austro-Hungary. Christmas Eve was our big night. Grandma had made cabbage rolls, a goose, struedal, kieffel, and a pumpkin pie! The tree had all little glass ornaments. Birds, little boys and girls, Santas & silver balls. And all the lights looked like little candles! It was a magical sight & the smells made you think you were in heaven, except for your drooling mouth! A parcel came every year from my Oma & Opa & the aunts & uncles in Germany. It always had my very favourite candy in it! Marzipan! Little pigs, ladybugs, cows & just big bars of it! And the dolls I got! I still have them! 60 years & the memories never die.

Nov 03, 2014
Thank You
by: Carla

I was so touched by your story as it mirrors the stories my mom told us about her family Christmas in Konz. I have a photo of them from the early 1930's standing in front of this wonderful tree. My mother went to Heaven last November, so this story touched my heart so much!

Nov 03, 2014
Christmas in Bavaria
by: Sherry

Ohhh... I was just telling my story the other day about my Christmas , we had to take a nap, and could not come out of our room until the bell rang and my stepfather was talking to Christkindl.

I remember him telling how good we were and then said goodby, we came out to eat and then opened our gifts. Like you we also visited with neighbors and then walked to church for midnight mass. One of my most favorite memories

Nov 03, 2014
My Christmas Memories
by: Anonymous

They mirror yours with a few variants. Not many gifts. But the rich traditions and making everything so "gemuetlich" and festive is what stays in my mind.

My Mom was born in Schlesien. With that she brought her own traditions. Weisswurst und Sauerkraut on Christmas Eve. Can't see the tree till the bell ran, ect. Try as I may, I was not able to duplicate the "feeling". Thank you for sharing.

Nov 03, 2014
by: Barbel

Your story brought tears to my eyes and a chill all over my body. As you described your Christmas Eve my story would be just the same. There were only two children in my family. No presents, just an orange, walnuts and homemade cookies. Oh how I miss the old family Christmas. Vielen Dank fur diese gute

Nov 02, 2014
the REAL spirit of Christma.
by: Anita F.

Love the story and the memories it brings.

I was born in '42. So the early years were meager as far as gifts are concerned. Mostly we would get new (mostly home made) new clothes. When I was 4, I got my first doll and I had it until I was 26, when it fell off a chair and it's porcelain head broke.

But I also remember the Christmas tree being decorated while we took our bath and then my Oma would stand in the hall and ring a bell. We would enter the room where the tree was aglow with real candles and we were given our present (or presents if we were lucky). We each got a plate with oranges, apples, nuts and cookies after we stood around the tree and sang Christmas carols.

Then we blew out the candles and went to bed. The grownups would go to midnight mass, one of them staying home with us little ones. When we got older we got to taste Eggnog and Glühwein, which was also home made. Yumyum ;-)

Nov 02, 2014
wonderful memories!
by: Gerhild

Wow, Erna, love your posting.

What wonderful memories are brought back to us when we relive our Christmases past.

I really like your ending, "No gifts. No fancy food. But, a beautiful Christmas ..." ... a good reminder to us all that there's much more to Christmas than the gifts and food!

Thanks for sharing,

Nov 02, 2014
christmas in austria
by: Barbara

That sounds wonderful. Even with no presents you now know how special Christmas was.

I grew up with 5 brothers and sisters and I always think about the beautiful time we had. Baking with mama in the Adventzeit.

We always had our bellies full. All these Christmas presents are overrated nowadays. I only have one daughter but I try to keep Christmastime special with get-togethers and wonderful food and playing games .

I love it !!!!

Thank you for sharing !!!!

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