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Sunday, December 27, 2009

xmas 2009: vegan food + spaziergang + kafka + presents

Our actual Christmas celebration was...different. Even though it was a reflection of our own personal tastes, there was still a (perhaps unconscious) integration of some of the family traditions practiced by C.Dub and Frosty's family.

We decided against getting a Christmas tree early on. I grew up with artificial Christmas trees and tend to prefer them over live trees (less hassle and maintenance). So not having a tree didn't bother me one bit. Plus there was a perfectly decent potted plant in the living room. We just slapped some lights on that bad boy and we were basically good to go. C.Dub got some festive tree branches from a colleague and we put some decorations and candy on those. Way less work and clean up will be a snap.

One element that differed greatly from last year's celebration was that this time we had actual gift wrapping paper for the presents. Last year, most of the presents were wrapped in carefully chosen newspaper articles. From what I gathered, the articles somehow related to either the gift or to the recipient. A lovely gesture, for sure, but we were doing things differently this year. So for the most part, we had the choice between yellow wrapping paper with clowns or wrapping paper with a pattern that, for some reason, reminded me of the Justin Timberlake video for "Rock Your Body".

Click to enlarge (if you dare!!!)

We took turns banning each other from particular rooms in the apartment in order to wrap our gifts. When all of the packing and wrapping was done, it was time to get started with the cooking. It took about 6 hours, but the end menu consisted of falafels, batter-dipped/fried vegetables, homemade hummus, and various related side dishes. This isn't a food blog, so I won't get into whole preparation process. The results were very delicious.

However, since the whole cooking process took about 3 hours longer than anticipated, we didn't finish eating until about 11pm and, when we were done, I was totally stuffed. Additionally, I was more than ready to get to the presents, but Frosty suggested that we go on a little evening stroll to help us digest the food.

is a German term that just basically means "going for a walk". Germans like to partake in this activity at very (at least in my mind) inopportune times. My family, for instance, would look at me with the craziest of eyes, if I were to pipe up and say, "Well, who's up for going on a hike?" directly after Thanksgiving/Christmas food gorging. Or if, on New Year's Day, I were to suggest to everyone (and their massive hangovers), "Hey guys, let's just go fucking walk around in the snow all hungover n shit?"

You know what would happen? After they finished laughing at me and calling me a dumbass...they would tell the government and have my US citizenship revoked. That's what.

But Germans fucking loooove to go spazieren.

Frosty was all like, "You don't have to go, you can say no." At first I told him, that we should do it democratically and vote. I knew a vote would be 2-1 and that I'd have to go anyway, but at least that way was fair. If I said no, then neither of them would go just because I didn't want to go. But Frosty didn't want to vote, he wanted to hear "yes" or "no".

So, I said, "No."

Then, he spent the next 15 minutes trying to tell me how wonderful going on a Spaziergang would be out in the cold. Refreshing. Ahhhh...

You can't just give someone the choice between yes or no and then just not accept their "no".
It doesn't work that way, Frosty.

I ended up going, because, for all intents and purposes, it was 2 against 1...whether they admitted it or not. Just like I suspected, it was cold, kind of muddy/icy and really dark. But it was also just for 30 minutes...and it obviously didn't kill me...but I still feel the need to sound off about it.

Back at the apartment, it was time to do something festive before opening presents. Last year, this entailed singing Christmas carols together. This year, we read a short story by Kafka. It had nothing to do with Christmas, but the narrator was a talking of that what you will.

We were up until 3am on the 25th opening presents. One tradition that stayed the same was that each person had to make an earnest attempt at guessing the content of their present before unwrapping it. This involved the investigatory process of shaking wildly, squeezing, sniffing, etc. And just saying "I don't know" is apparently less than acceptable. A little counterintuitive? Sure. If you guess correctly, then you already know what's inside before you open it, thus eliminating the surprise. At the same time, if you're the gift giver you're not really supposed to tell the recipient if they're right. So the whole process tends to take awhile.

All in all, a very lovely evening. Frosty was a little overwhelmed with the whole food prep stuff. I think he underestimated the amount of work that it would take. So, basically, I think we've already decided to spend next year back in Annerod with his grandparents and other relatives and maybe make the Very Vegan Christmas an every other year type event.

But for the next couple of days, we have some delicious leftovers.

To come: New Year's Eve in Leipzig.

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