Christmas Traditions

Christmas is just ’round the corner and I feel so festive! I’ve already bought all my presents (if you’re still struggling to find the perfect gift, go check out my Gift Guide) and now I can just relax and enjoy my favourite month of the year.

this made me think about how people all over the world celebrate it different… so I thought I’d share with you how we do in Switzerland or at least our family.

so the main difference to other countries is probably the appearance of Father Christmas.. well not exactly Father Christmas – we call him “Samichlous” > Saint Nicolas! He comes on the 6th December and brings nuts, clementines, chocolates and pastry to the children that have been good and rod to those who have been bad. usually the child says a little rhyme, for exmple:

Samichlous du guete Maa, gäll i muess ke Ruete ha? Miter Ruete Füürli mache, mitem Füürli Güezi bache – chasch de o eis ha!

and then the “Samichlous” talks about what the child did good or no-good in the past year and hands them their goodybag. obviously my parents knew the man who played Saint Nicolas and told him what to mention but as a kid I was pretty impressed by the things he knew about me!

In the goodybag is also a pastry called “Grittibänz” – a yeast dough pastry with nuts and raisins. and because I love it so much I wanted to share my recipe for this. my “Grittibänze” always look like a child made them – but I kind like it that way, it reminds me of the joyful times when we were younger.

here’s what you need:

500g flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 1/2 tbsp sugar

20g yeast

70g butter, melted

3dl milk

Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add melted butter and half of the milk. Heat the other half of the milk (should be warm and not hot) and crumble the yeast in it. Give it a whisk and add to your bowl. Knead for about ten minutes until smooth. cover and allow to rise to double at room temperature for about 2 hours.

after two hours you can simply shape the dough, decorate it, spread it with milk and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180C – enjoy!

then we wait until the 24th December to celebrate again. in my family this is like the ‘main’ Christmas Eve – we eat dinner with all of the family and give our presents to everyone (and of course open them), sing Christmas carols and just enjoy our time together. the next day is basically the same but with the family side of my father.

so we don’t actually know Father Christmas or any other figure that distributes gifts – it has always been our parents, god mother/father etc. that brought us presents and Saint Nicolas who looked after us when we’ve been nice throughout the year.

how do you celebrate Christmas? I’d love to hear from you ❤

Maruschka x

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