Thursday, December 5, 2013

We wish you a Swiss Christmas

I'm an English Mum living in Switzerland.  My Son was born in Switzerland but has a British Passport.  Last year he started in Swiss Kindergarten and we moved to the country where he has made lots of Swiss friends and speaks Swiss German.
On his birthday in kindergarten he was asked where he was borne.  He came home asking why am I English.  We knew this would come but though it might be when he was older.
Over the last year we have realised he thinks of himself more as Swiss and wants to join in with his friends and Swiss traditions.  This year I though I should start to find out more about a Swiss Christmas.

In Switzerland Santa or weihnachtsmann comes on 6th December.  He has a helper called Shmutzli.  Traditionally  Schmutzli is the bad character (nowadays this gets played down).  If a child is bad Schmutzli will take the child to the Black Forest to peel carrots for the reindeer.  We played down the Black Forest bit because it is a nice place to go walking and we didn't want Matthew to be afraid of going there.

Instead of bringing toys he brings a small sack of goodies.   This normally contains chocolates, nuts and small oranges.  Some times also a sweet bread man called a Grattimänner. We actually decided to make our own on the same day.

On 24th December the Christ child comes with gifts.  Like Santa nobody ever sees him.  Lots of gifts are also opened on 24th. In the past it has also been tradition to bring the Christmas tree in on Christmas Eve and decorate it with real candles.  Although I think this is changing over to normal lights and having the tree in for longer.  Sounds a lot safer to me.

In the town near us they have lots of  Santas who arrive on Harley motorbikes.

Matthew will be luck he will be getting his Swiss bag of goodies tomorrow on 6th and will wake up on Christmas day to the English tradition of Santa bringing a sack of goodies.  Just hope he will go to bed in time.  Santa can't come unless he is asleep.

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