Saturday, October 31, 2009

Favorite Holiday in Switzerland: Christmas




My favorite Swiss holiday has to be, without a doubt, Christmas. I am so unbelieveably bummed that we will be in Australia this year for December, so I will miss all the Christmas festivities - but that does not mean that you have to miss out on them!

Naturally, Christmas is an important religious holiday in Switzerland but most of the Swiss partake in the Christmas celebrations in one way or another. At the beginning of December, the Advent begins, in which families count down the days until Christmas, either with an Advent Calendar or an Advent candle, marking the Sunday's until Christmas with a candle for each Sunday (4 candles total). But Santa actually comes long before Christmas Eve! In Switzerland, Santa, or Samiclaus, comes on the 5th of December and kiddies that have been good get some sweets, nuts and mandarins (and probably some toys!) on the 6th. Those that have been bad get a sack full of coal from Schmutzli - the anti Santa. Otherwise, Christmas is very similar in Switzerland compared to the US or Australia - tree (check), gifts (check), lots of food (check)... but the festivities are very special and celebrated by many families.

Last year I committed the entire month of December to Swiss Christmas celebrations and the Advent count down... There is just so much to love  - the Advents candles, the Apfelchuechli mit Vanillesausethe Zürich Samiklaus Swim, and the Weihnachstpyramide - but my favorite part of the Christmas festivities are the Christmas markets! Here is a list of Swiss Christmas Markets in 2009.

If you time it just right, you can probably hit up at least 4 or 5 Christmas markets, perhaps even some in Germany or France where they are also a big to do.Christmas markets tend to start at the end of November and run through Christmas Eve and sometimes the day after Christmas. Make sure you take some warm mittens and lots of money with you - as you will definitely want to sample some of the Glühwein (to keep you warm of course!) and buy some of the best handicrafts and decorations available.Fröhliche Weihnachten (in October) everyone. Start making those Christmas plans now! Before long, it will be 2010 (wowzers has time gone by!) and you will have to wait another 12 months for Christmas. :)




Now, please check out the Next blog on the World Surf Day Tour - Peterhals in Zürich...

I read this blog often, and know you will enjoy Deb's post. Thanks for stopping by Swisstoryblog and please follow me to get future updates on our adventures in Switzerland.
This post was written as part of the World Blog Surf Day. You can also follow the World Blog Surf Day on Twitter, thanks to our Twitter reporter Karen. Karen is an American expat blogger last seen in Prague. The Wall Street Journal said, "Her blog makes a fun read for anyone looking for reassurance that change can be a wonderful thing--and also for anyone interested in visiting the Czech Republic." Read Karen's Czech Republic Expat Blog-Empty Next Expat.
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16 comments:

Ivanhoe said...

Indeed, there is something magical about Christmas in Europe.
Growing up in Czech, I remember Dec 5th was a St. Mikulas day. He was traveling with a devil and an angel and was giving out candy & fruit or coal - based on kid's behavior that year. That was fun!
Happy surfing :o)

Karen said...

Jessica, I love your Advent countdown! You have all of the anticipation of a child - beautiful!

Karen said...

Hi Jessica, can you check your link to my blog, thanks!

Sezin said...

I also used to live in Switzerland and indeed it is one of the most magical places during the winter and Christmas seasons. Lovely reminder of some fantastic times there. Thank you!

Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf said...

Fantastic post! I am so ready for the Christmas festivities - I think (that means c-c-cold weather too though, haha!)! Thanks for all the great links, I'll definitely try to take advantage of markets and events this year. Just sad you won't be there to enjoy them with.

Hope you're enjoying Colmar this weekend! Alsace has some pretty phenomenal Christmas markets too..

But wait, before Christmas --- happy Halloween! :)

Emmanuelle Archer said...

What a lovely post! I love Christmas Markets - there is something so cheerful and festive about them, that just thinking about it makes me smile...

Thank you for taking me back to my childhood in Europe, and have a great WBSD. Happy surfing!

Emmanuelle

expatriatelife said...

Christmas in Switzerland sounds absolutely magical. In my opinion Christmas just can't be done properly in a warm climate, which is another reason I'm glad to be back in Canada this year.

BBE said...

That's the first that I have heard of the "Anti Santa". Will have to keep an eye out for him ;)

BBE

*lynne* said...

Despite having spent many a Christmas in Switzerland, I never did have the opportunity to attend the Christmas Markets, as I was in my grandparents' small village... it was probably also a strategy of my parents, ebcause omg things are ~so expensive~ in Switzerland, especially when compared/translated to Malaysian currency :p

Sher said...

This is a great post! Christmas sounds very magical there in Switzerland! Speaking of the markets--that's one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season here, in the Czech Republic! There's nothing like the smell of the holiday fare for sale, along with so many beautiful decorations and many other things!

Have a great day,
Sher :0)

Kathy said...

I'm so looking forward to our first Christmas here. We just found out that a good friend will be coming to visit, so I am already planning all kinds of fun stuff to do. Thanks for posting all the great ideas.

One of my teachers says Stuttgart has the best Christmas market, but of course she is from there :)

M'dame Jo said...

I know I've said it a few posts ago: I strongly advise Basel's Christmas market.

hospitalera- guestblogging at Working Nomad said...

Christmas markets are great fun, and sometimes real fairy tale locations when it snows ;-) SY

Nancy said...

Hi, found your blog through my friend's blog... lovely! I'm hooked and you're bookmarked. ;)

hospitalera said...

Update: My own blog post for WBSD suffered an emergency url change (don't get me started on the 'why?') please and can now be found at http://hospitalera.com/christmas-in-prague/ Unfortunately I have lost also all comments I had *sniff-sniff* and can't retrieve, transfer them, SY

Elisa, The Unlikely Housewife said...

I absolutely agree, Christmas is lovely here. My favorite part is without a doubt visiting the Christmas market at the ZUrich HauptBahnhof, and looking at the tree decorated with Schwarowsky pendants. The food is just a bonus. The atmosphere changes here at Christmas, the usually cold Swiss become friendlier and smile more. Love it!

 

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