Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hallo-what? Summer's over, welcome to the season Christmas

Inside my favorite park near the spas in Baden.
Hoi zäme!  It’s been a long time, I know.  Forgive me.  I’ve currently been working on completing my CELTA certification and I finally have my life back.

It’s my favorite time of year in Switzerland.  The trees are gorgeous shades of brilliant ochre, fiery red, and muted rust.  The roasted chestnuts and glühwein vendors are out, filling the streets with the most amazing holiday smells. And if you think that the stores start filling with Christmas goodies early in the States, believe me, the Swiss have even Wal-Mart beat.  I saw the first signs of Lebkuchen packages in the Coop grocery stores depicting idyllic scenes of children having a snowball fight wearing their puffy down jackets  when it was still 85 degrees and people were swimming in the Limmat river in their underwear (or sans even)!  Nothing says “Christmas” like September.

Jack-o-lanterns carved with my darling girls out of the tiniest pumpkins
My homemade costume.
There really is no buffer between summer and Christmas in Switzerland.  I never really appreciated the holiday leapfrog that is Halloween and Thanksgiving before living in a country where these things are really only celebrated in small expat groups.  Every once in a while, Halloween will have a bit of a showing here, but it is really rare.  When you do find Halloween supplies in stores, the costume choices are confined to witch, devil, or vampire.  Some of these are comical, 1950s versions of the costumes at best.  Trick-or-treating is usually just a big ol' flop.  One of my friends was recently recalling how he and his brother tried to go out one Halloween when they were children.  The night ended with them just terrifying their elderly neighbors, who just didn’t understand the holiday at all.  Eventually, despite these two little boys trying to explain that it was a holiday, their poor neighbors just gave them oranges and called their parents to ask why they hadn’t fed their children enough and they were going to the neighbors' begging for food. 

In fact, this year, many of my friends were met with more vandalism than good holiday fun.  Boo.  Halloween is just doesn't seem to be your thing, Switzerland.


Despite this, when I see a trick-or-treater here, I shower them with candy.  It’s like finding a unicorn. 

Unfortunately, this year there were none.  I had to dispose of all the candy by myself.  Shame.