Celebrating Christmas around the World: Magdeburg, Germany

December 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

A Happy Christmas Eve to all of you!

Having read all about Christmas in different countries around the world you might wonder how are we actually celebrating the holiday in my home country. And here it goes…:

We are really into Christmas. As soon as December starts you can listen to Christmas music all around and enjoy the lights in the streets and stores. On the first of December the kids (including me ;)) start opening the first door of their Advent Calendar -a calendar with surprises for every day of December from the 1st until the 24th-, it can be a bought one, filled with chocolates or other candies, as well as a homemade one filled with a lot of little gifts.

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On the night of December 6th, the first highlight happens. St. Nicolaus comes to all the houses and gives everybody either a little gift or a wooden stick; it all depends on your previous behaving the year to end. According to the tradition, that means that everybody needs to clean its shoes on the evening of the 5th and put them in front of the door, then you wake up on the 6th of December and run to your shoes to check which of the two options you received. During December we have Christmas markets all over the towns. You can simply go with friends to have a hot wine (Glühwein) plus food and check around the offered products (ornaments, pottery, jewelry…).

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Around the 23rd we put up our Christmas tree which we usually buy in the beginning of December. We gather together as a family and decorate it carefully with ornaments and wooden stars.

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On the 24th we meet within our families, listen to Christmas music, have cookies and coffee and later more food (one common meal for Christmas Eve is potato salad with sausages). We exchange our presents on the same day, then on the 25th we wake up in the morning, go to enjoy the tree and check out our presents in detail. For lunch or dinner we get together with more family to enjoy another meal and time together. On the 26th Christmas still continues, more family and more delicious food with presents exchange.

And now I wish you all a Merry Christmas! Enjoy the time with your family and happy reading!

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xxSarah

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Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Merry Christmas Eve!IMG_2659

xxSarah

P.S.: Julie let me write a guest post on her blog A Hopeful Hood, don’t miss it!

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College student gift guide – a guest post by Julie

December 22, 2014 § 3 Comments

Hey everybody!
How are you doing? Today I have a special treat for you: My friend Julie was so kind to write a little guest post here on sparklingcrane and made a last-minute gift guide for college students. If you are a procrastinator like me you will love her suggestions :)! But let’s Julie start:

Hi, I’m Julie Hood! Sarah and I met back in high school when she did an exchange program with my high school in Pennsylvania, USA and we’ve stayed in touch ever since!(Check out the dorky picture of us some years ago at the bottom of this post, as compared to the one we took when Sarah visited Pennsylvania this winter.) I blog about teaching Español, home improvement projects, married life, and crafty-random things over at A Hopeful Hood.

I started my blog back in my freshman year of college, and since I only just graduated college in May 2014, the majority of my posts are from a college student’s perspective. With Christmas just around the corner (and in case you’re like me and somehow wait really late in the season to finish Christmas-shopping), I’ve put together a list of last-minute Christmas gifts for the college student in your life.

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1. a restaurant giftcard (for the socialite/foodie)
Photo 2--restaurant-gift-card
2. a carry-on that meets international requirements (for the traveler)
Photo 3--international-carry-on
3. …and a personalized luggage tag!
Photo 4--personalized-luggage-tag
4. concert tickets (for the music-loving college student)
5. this t-shirt (for the marathoner of netflix)
Photo 5--netflix-tshirt
6. an ihome for the iphone 5 or 6
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7. apartment gear, like a set of wine glasses or this throw pillow
Photo 7--throw-pillow-world-traveler
8. a laptop bag, of which amazon has plentyyy
Photo 8--laptop-bag
9. a keurig desktop brewing system (and some k-cups!)
Photo 9--desktop-keurig
10. some stocking stuffers like chapstick, coffee shop giftcards, dvds, snacks, nail polish

And now for pictures of Sarah and me:

julie and me

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What are some presents that you’re excited to give this year?

Julie

Thank you all so much for reading today and a special thanks to Julie for guest posting! I love that we have stayed on contact over these years and can now interact like this. Don’t forget to check our her cool blog! 

All the best to you all and stay tuned!

xx Sarah

 

Celebrating Christmas around the World: Toluca, México

December 17, 2014 § 3 Comments

Hola a todos!

How are you doing today? I am happy to introduce you to the Christmas celebration in my second home – México! As some of you may know Javier is Mexican and therefore I spent some time with him and his family in his home country. IMG_2925

In México, again, Christmas was pretty different to me, but I enjoyed the time a lot! Well, first of all, the weather is so different to our cold, snowy winters here in Germany. Over there it was mainly sunny and warm during the day but colder in the night. IMG_2840

For Christmas Eve we went to have a nice dinner with one side of the family (2 aunts + family, 2 uncles +family, grandparents). Before the meal started we were doing a little play, in which some of the group went outside to wander around the garden like pilgrims and singing and asking for asylum just as Maria and Joseph on the same night. We also had a big piñata in form of a star hanging in the garden and all the kids took turn to hit it in order to open it and get the candy that were hidden inside.

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After our meal we began to sing karaoke and talk and laugh. Later during the night we started to exchange some gifts, but each family had only bought one gift for one other member. This is because in México usually the Three Mighty Kings are delivering the presents for the kids no earlier than on the 6th of January. IMG_2898IMG_2852

On December 25th we went to see the the other half of the family, again with a lot of family members. We were enjoying delicious food, such as turkey, ham, pambazos, filled chilies and much more. IMG_2905

All in all I had a wonderful time spending Christmas with Javiers family in México and I am eager to come back for the same time of the year!

Thank you all so much for reading today and make sure to stay tuned:)!

xxSarah

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Where I would like to be #11

December 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

A great Saturday to you all!

I am back this week with some thoughts on places that I would like to visit or haven’t been to at all yet. Some time ago Javier went on a trip to Paris together with his sister. They had a wonderful time and made as much as possible out of there fairly short trip. Unfortunately I needed to stay home due to my studies. But of course they took a billion of pictures, so now I can look through them and dream of going to Paris myself. Can you believe it, I have been living in Europe for 20,5 years and I have never been to Paris. Yet.

But check yourself what sights they visited and what a great time they must have had:

paris collage

It just looks all so pretty to me and makes me wanting to go there like right now:). What do you think? Have you ever been to Paris? Or where would you like to go to these days?

Thank you all so much for reading (and looking) today and talk to you soon!

xxSarah

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Celebrating Christmas around the World: Shenzhen, China

December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Hello to all of you!

Thank you so much for reading today! This week we are changing the continent, the side of the world and the culture completely.

Some time ago, I went to Shenzhen in China to work as an Au Pair. Also I got an inside in their festivities and cultural celebrations. Spending December there was especially different to me. Starting with the weather. In Shenzhen it is humid and hot all over the year. Including the Christmas month December.

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As in most parts of China, Christmas is not a holiday in Shenzhen. You can only find few decorations and music playing in the modern shopping areas and malls.

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On Christmas itself, my host family only has a nice family dinner with lots of different delicious food such as crab, jiaozi or eggplant. But that’s pretty much it.

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The big and important holiday for China is coming up in February though, the Chinese New Year.

I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas time wherever you are living and don’t forget to check in for next weeks country of Christmas celebrations!

xxSarah

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Celebrating Christmas around the World: Philadelphia, U.S.

December 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

A lovely third of December to all of you!

I have had the amazing opportunities to spend periods of my early life in different countries, for different reasons. I spent an exchange year with a wonderful host family in the U.S., was living several months in China, taking care of two adorable little girls and living with their family. And last but not least I have spent multiple times in Mexico being hosted by the wonderful family of my boyfriend.

I cannot even describe how thankful I am to have gotten all of these chances to make the most experiences I can and grow and learn as much as possible!

With my New York series ending and christmas coming up I decided to do a feature on christmas. Haha, so original, right? :). Anyway, every week from now until christmas I will give you a little inside in one of these countries that I have been living in and tell you some facts about their christmas traditions. Starting of today with Philadelphia, U.S.:

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The christmas I spent there was probably the most similar to Germany, compared to other experiences I had. But there were still a lot of things that surprised me and I hadn’t seen like this before. The christmas lights were one of those things. Yes, we do have lights hung up in our windows and even in our gardens. But never like you can see it over there.P1060166

Of course we Germans are all about baking, therefore I was thrilled to find out that my host mom was an outrageous and passionate baker. She taught me so many things about this art and made christmas time so amazing! Every year she is doing an advent calendar on her site, check it out and you will also find a lot of great (christmas) recipes: http://www.christmas-baking.com/ .CRW_7803P1060183

 

Also the look of the christmas trees and Santa Claus were pretty similar to what I am used to in Germany. The order of festivities however was a little bit different. With my host family we spent Christmas Eve with family and exchanged only one gift. The 25th we went to spent more time with family, ate a lot of christmas cookies and probably other kind of food which I don’t remember and exchanged the rest of the gifts. It was a great christmas!CRW_8152 CRW_8144 CRW_8136

Looking back I still like the pictures a lot and during my time in the U.S. I learned a lot about photography as well due to my host dad Jorj!

Stay tuned because next week part two of Christmas around the World is coming up!

xxSarah

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