Austrian Christmas

Christmas in Austria is one of the special treats of the world.

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Maybe because we have Austrian friends.  Maybe because we’ve been here two years now, and Austria feels like home.  Maybe because we are lucky enough to be a family that loves each other, and we would probably be happy anywhere.  Being in Austria is really just the icing on the cake.

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How could you not love a place that gave the world Sachertorte and the Sound of Music?

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Or Christmas trees, and cappuccino?

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Or restaurants decorated with teddy bears?

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It’s hard to think we could be happier anywhere else.  Or with anyone else.

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Celebrating Christmas the Austrian way means the tree appears on Christmas Eve.  Peter, our host, brought a freshly cut fir to the house and shared with us the Austrian traditions.  Silver balls, stars, candles, and chocolates as ornaments, except we kept the candles on the table because that might set the house on fire.

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We loved hanging the silver balls and the chocolates, though!

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Dad and Jake brought the tree in from the snow and the rest of us helped decorate.

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At the end of all that attention the tree was beautiful and perfect, and all ready for Santa.

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Our Christmas morning was like all other Christmas mornings, with a flurry of running feet and kids lurking around the stairs, waiting until the huge clock in the dining room chimed 6.  Or was it 7?  I can’t remember now.

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All we know is it couldn’t come soon enough!

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As wrapping paper was torn and ribbons were strewn over the floor, Uncle Mike and Uncle Naties made french toast and brought in bottles of Prosecco from the snowbanks outside the kitchen door.  The kids were so excited by their presents that they didn’t even notice the big pile of bacon on the table.  That is a sign of serious excitement!

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Plane models, cupcake pillows, journals, Nom Noms, a DJ mixer and a bunch of other fun things.  The floor was quickly covered in Legos and Star Wars and stayed that way for the rest of the week.  One of the nicest thing about Christmas in someone else’s house.  Nobody minds the mess!

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Later in the day, the ice crystals in the trees outside made a sparkling winter wonderland.

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Perfect for a snowman and an afternoon walk in the snow, although it wasn’t really snow, but prettier because everything was so shiny!

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The lake, like the trees, shone like glass.

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As the sun went down the adult games came out, with Bottle Rockets, ass-betting, and delusional beliefs in one’s ability to conquer the world.  These ideas are always aided by a little wine or an extra tumbler of scotch.

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Thanks to Auntie Leila, we discovered some pretty awesome wine at Hofer!

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All of us preferred the red ones, and this one from Italy was a nice surprise.

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Mike’s wins were also a nice surprise!

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Christmas dinner was roast tenderloin and risotto to go along with our Italian wine, although that really wasn’t on purpose but just a stroke of luck.   There were gingerbread boys and chocolate mint cookies, and Mike made Bananas Foster with all of us crowding around the flames to watch.  We all have something to offer, don’t we?

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Flaming desserts, playing with the kids, singing Christmas carols, wine tastings, making cookies, setting up trees, making sure new babies are happy and safe.   We are all pieces of the puzzle that make the family perfect, and we need every one.

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