Following my Christmas experiences in Zurich, I headed up to the mountains for the real stuff: family!
With all 4 kids, a mountain guide, a tired ETH student, and one excited dog, my Aunt was Wonder Woman and created a truly memorable Christmas for all of us!
Christmas dinner in Switzerland is not as grand a production as in Canada. This is mainly because the tree is only decorated on the 24th (also the night of the dinner) which is a feat in itself. So after surveying most of my Swiss friends, the conclusion was that they tended to have a simpler meal on the 24th before or after opening the gifts.
Up in the mountains, we had a very cool alternative Swiss dinner- personal pizzas using the raclette grill!
Just to clarify, raclette is a traditional Swiss meal where you warm up cheese in little pans (about the size of your palm) on a communal grill in the middle of the table. The cheese is then added to bread, potatoes, or meat etc. For the pizzas, we used the little pans with fresh pizza dough, and a pile of toppings. Everyone could make them as they pleased and waiting for them to ‘cook’ built up the suspense between pieces. Yum.
In terms of gifts, Lisa maintains some Canadian traditions even after 20 or so Christmases here and so we opened the gifts on the morning of the 25th- definitely bringing back some of my favourite memories of Claire and I waking up early, opening our stockings and hanging around in pajamas until the afternoon. In the mix of presents was a Wii for the whole family! I would never have guessed how much fun/exercise you can get from some of those games! My favourite: Just Dance where you have to dance in time to some fun 80’s hits, competing against a partner. When looking at the pictures below, please note that these are not professional dancers and there were some sore bodies the following day.
A few photos to give you an idea of the fun with all 7 of us and the dog!
The town of Schluein also organized advent windows where you can do a loop through the town to see 24 windows dressed up for Christmas. Lisa and Freddi had number 19, and of course a deer had to make it in there too. Adevnt windows are a pretty common tradition and are very fun to see as you walk around.
Even though I was away from my friends and close family, it was a really special Christmas!