09 December 2007

Something Old, Something New

Marriage is about compromise and negotiation. Especially at Christmas Time when you begin the delicate process of combining traditions from both families as well as creating a few of your own.

So we started the process early.

Back in November GLH and I set out one day to have a look at artificial trees. After much debate, we had decided to go artificial for two reasons: Max and Tilly. After all, there is a reason why we do not have any live plants in the house. Max and Tilly love to eat them. We thought artificial would be less tempting.

The first place we went to purchase a tree had a perfect one on display, but none in stock. Keep in mind, it was the middle of November. Almost 6 weeks left before Christmas. We asked when a new shipment would arrive. Not until next September. Could we purchase the one on display? Certainly not. Second place, the same story. Finally at the third place we found a very nice tree, although as it is only 6 1/2 feet tall GLH was slightly disappointed.

Then it was time for us to negotiate. I do not care for colored lights and strongly prefer only white lights on a tree. However, GLH wanted bright, multicolored blinking lights. Compromise? Colored lights, but absolutely no blinking. (Hey, when you have a tendency for light-induced migraines, blinking lights is a very bad idea.)

Next up are the decorations. I have a fair number of ornaments. Some are from my childhood tree, including a few made by my grandmother who died before I was even born. Other ornaments are from my adult years, pre-GLH. Including the admittedly unattractive ornaments I made one year when I had no money and could not afford a trip home to visit my family. So about 1/2 of our total ornaments are from my past.

Unfortunately, GLH has only one ornament from his family, a beautiful antique paper doll that once belonged to his grandmother. As the single representation of GLH's pre-GL Christmases, it is featured prominently on the tree.

The remainder of our ornaments are ones we purchased together when we happened to see one that "spoke to us." And we have one ornament that has the year on it for each of the years we have been together. That collection will continue to grow.

Our next negotiation involved the Christmas Angel for the tree top. We had decided to purchase a Rauschgeldengel at the Nuremberg Christmas Market as they are best known for this decoration. I would have preferred the more traditional gold foil angel as that is what the first Nuremberg Angels looked like. However, GLH felt it very important to go with the more Victorian doll, also handmade in Nuremberg, because it reminded him of the one they had on their childhood tree when he was growing up.

Compromise? We purchased a gold foil angel ornament...

But went with the Victorian angel for the tree top.

And the final negotiation? I cannot abide tinsel. Just do not like it. Never have and never will. GLH loves it. The more the better. Compromise? A gold foil garland, but no individual strands of tinsel.

And here is the finished product:

With a close-up on our Nativity set purchased in Münich as well as the creche handmade by my parents:

And yes, we did get a Christmas pickle. Even though it's actually a German American traditional, not a German one. It was obvious that the German Christmas Markets stock them because the American tourists want them, given how many of them said "Merry Christmas" and none of them said "Frohe Weihnachten."

However, we went with one that said nothing. Just seemed nicer that way.


CanadianSwiss said...

Oye. Looks like it's gonna be another compomise Christmas at CS's, too :) I wish I had my Mom's Christmas ornaments. Some of them are over 40 years old! I remember putting them up myself. Beautiful.

But tell me one thing: What on earth is a chritsmas pickle?!!?(ok, I can see it, but never heard about it)

Global Librarian said...

On Christmas Eve after the children have all gone to bed, the adults will hide the pickle ornament somewhere on the tree. The first child to find it on Christmas morning gets a small, special gift as a prize.

For years I thought this was a German tradition. I recently discovered it is actually a German-American tradition.

A Librarian said...

Keep an eye on your tree. Abby loves eating those fake plastic needles. Yes, she's weird but then, so is Max.

Ashley said...

We have a pickle too! Sebastian has never heard of this German/American tradition, but we still hide it in the tree every year and the finder gets a little prize.