One of the best things about a coffee chat is when you get to know a new friend over a hot cup of Joe.    Last week, it was so wonderful to have Brenda stop by and share her giving heart.
This week, I am very happy to introduce you to new blogger:  Susi from Boca Frau.    She's a "hausfrau", that's German for housewife, from sunny Southern Florida.   A German blogger?   Sounds perfect for my Christmas Around The World chat series!   I was also curious about her holiday traditions because my real married surname is German.    Left Brain has been to Germany, but I have never been across the great pond myself. 

What I love is how Susi combines several different cultural traditions together, into one lovely holiday season.    So welcome Susi - thanks so much for coming over to chat, and now: I will turn it over to her.

I'm so excited that RoryBore from Time out for Mom is including me in her Tuesday Coffee Chat. I'm a guest blogger -- who would have thought?  Pretty cool, if I do say so myself.  Thanks, RoryBore!!!!

The theme is Christmas around the World and I thought, I'd write a little about what Christmas is like in our house. We actually don't just celebrate Christmas, we also do Hanukkah, not the whole 8 days, because that would be over-kill.  We usually pick a night, have a somewhat traditional Hanukkah dinner and the children each get a gift from great-grandma.  We do light the menorah every night. Hubby's grandma is Jewish and we celebrate most of the Jewish holidays through-out the year in some shape or another. We are not really religious in any way, but it's important to me that the kiddies learn about all the family's tradition because it is part of their heritage.

Another part of their heritage is celebrating Christmas the way I did growing up in Germany. Christmas Eve is really the big night.  Each year my mom comes to our house for Christmas Eve.  We cook a traditional German Christmas dinner which consists of a roasted goose with stuffing, potato dumplings, red cabbage and gravy.  But it's not necessarily always a goose.  In past years we've also had turducken... which may be on the menu this year!!!  The kids usually can barely get a bite down because they are so excited to see the presents under the tree. There's always a lot of popping around on the chairs and excited chatter going on. We used to tell them that German Santa dropped off the presents at Omi's house and she had to bring them over. The minute one of us gets up from the table to start clearing, the kids are out of their chairs and start dancing around the tree. Meanwhile, the grown-ups will only straighten up enough so the pooches don't get any ideas and then we put the kids out of their misery.

I still think it's magical to have the tree's lights sparkle in the dark and hear the Christmas music softly playing in the background.  It's like a mood setter and makes the whole experience so much cozier. After the kids ripped through all the presents at record speed, it's time to build whatever needs building.  The kids get to play with their new toys for a little while and then it's clean-up and putting out the plate of cookies and glass of milk for the American Santa.  He's still stopping by after all.  One thing I also do every Christmas without fail is give each of my angels Christmas pajamas... that way they are ready to go in the morning!!!! :)

Cue to Christmas morning. Lo and behold, Santa stopped by.  Because the kids also get to experience daddy's traditions.  So, as soon as we grown-ups are set up with a hot steaming cup of coffee we get to watch the kids tear through the next pile.  Afterwards it's time for a big breakfast and more clean-up. The wrapping paper is always strewn through the house like confetti.  Again, the kids get to enjoy their new acquisitions, and then it's time to get gussied up for brunch at Great-grandma's club with hubby's side of the family.  After brunch we go to hubby's dad's house for the last part. There, we have desert and oh and ah over all the pretty decorations my mother-in-law put out. The kids get to go crazy one last time.

I know, it sounds like a lot and yes, on Christmas, they do get a little extra and some of those special things we won't buy through-out the year. But we all stay with-in a budget.  I'm firm believer in a budget.  Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean it's time to go crazy.  The bills still have to get paid after all.  We've had friends who spent more on their only child then I do for all three and then they couldn't pay their bills.  It's just that we try to give them a bit of the experiences we've had as children. And I so love Christmas Eve.  All the other stuff is just icing on the cake.

This is what Christmas has looked like for pretty much the last 10 years, ever since our son was born. We mix and match our different tradition and make it work out so that every one gets a little slice. I know the kids are all about the presents but I hope, that as they get older they realize that being together as a family and doing all those little things together will be important to them, too.

Wishing all of you a happy holiday season, no matter what you celebrate!!!

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Frohe Weihnachten. Feliz Navidad. Feliz Natal.

Susi, thank you so much for sharing your Christmas and Hanukkah traditions.  I simply must try a turducken at some point in my life!    And for me, I really love Christmas Eve too.  My mom also allowed me to open one gift before bed, and I carry that tradition forward with my own kids. 

How about you?   Do you have different traditions that you combine to make your holiday special and unique?   Share your holiday with us, and then don't forget to drop by and visit Susi at Boca Frau.

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