Christmassy thoughts in Wales
In Germany and in Wales the Christmas season can be very special if you are religious or not. It is Weihnachten in German like Nadolig in Welsh.
Many people in Germany decorate their houses in December, the children get excited about St. Niclas Day on the sixth of December (St. Niclas is the patron saint for the children) and about Christmas Eve, the 24th.
On the 5th , people put out a shoe or boot in the evening. I do this here in Machynlleth! If you were good during the year you get a present - that is the tradition. I like the Christmas markets, all the stalls, the crafts and the different food there. Students in Göttingen in Lower Saxony, not far from Hanover, where I went to university, they enjoy mulled wine there in the weeks leading to Christmas. It is a nice atmosphere!
I like December when there is snow. There was snow up on Cadair Idris a week ago.
Christmas-time is not complete without music. I like the Christmas oratorio by Bach, Welsh carols and festive music from all over the world really. “Atgof y Ser” with Bryn Terfel is nice at this time of the year.
At university I had a British Christmas party with my friends who also studied English Literature, linguistics and medieval studies. This was fun. We had mince pies which is not typical in Germany. In Göttingen, there is an English carol festival every year.
Ten years ago, I spent my first Christmas in Wales. I celebrated in Talley in Carmarthenshire. We had Christmas lunch in the Talley Arms. The food was generous and very good. All the locals were jolly and friendly. Our friend Delwyn showed me the village of Bethlehem. How nice to go to a place like this on Christmas Eve, don’t you think!? I have been following Heledd Cynwal’s “Seren Bethlehem” on S4C this year. Another time, I spent Christmas in Cardiff. We had Christmas lunch in the Quality Hotel. It was nice, too. I saw the nativity play in the Welsh church Capel y Crwys a few times, went to “Tweilwng yr Oen” in a Wesleyan Church in the city centre of Cardiff. Another year, I experienced Christmas in Llandovery and Llandeilo. I like Llandeilo. It has unique little shops and I used to go to the kitchen shop there which is marvellous for Christmas presents and Toast is quite nice for fashion, I think. I do not know if it is still there. A German friend Susanne came to Cardiff to see the Christmas celebrations in St. Fagans Open Air Museum. This is usually very good! I once went to Tredegar House, Newport which is always decorated nicely for Christmas, too. I have always loved Christmas shopping in Cardiff. The atmosphere with the Christmas lights is just wonderful! And Winter Wonderland with its ice-rink – how nice to be up in the ferris wheel looking down to Cathays and the city centre. Fab! From Cardiff I also travelled to Leicester, London for Christmas shopping. Since I lived in Machynlleth, we used to go to Shrewsbury and Birmingham for Christmas shopping.
In Machynlleth, we always have decorated Llys Maldwyn. I like Ian Snow and the Spectrwm Gallery to choose presents. Sadly, the lovely cookshop has gone from Machynlleth. We have never cooked a turkey here because we do not have a good oven. Ha ha ha! What an excuse, I know.
I used to write a lot of Christmas cards. Now the internet and lack of time has taken over but I do not like e-cards or virtual presents though. I never shop online for presents. That is lazy. Also you do not get the nice atmosphere I think.
I have spent Christmas three times in North Wales. One time it was snowing which was nice.
One Christmas-feeling film I love is “Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. An American comes to Britain while an English girl goes to the USA. We will hire it again from the DVD shop in Machynlleth.