Jungfrau Region's Blogbuster Series / Nr. 22
Well, it's that time of year again. December is knocking on the door with it all the joys of Christmas. So stay with us, while we take you on a little Christmas journey...
#1 Fun Fact
Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. However, some people think that this spelling isn't right, because it takes the «Christ» out of Christmas. But don't worry, no one's taking Christ anywhere. In the Greek alphabet, the letter X («chi») is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ or Christos.
#2 Fun Fact
This one's a bit ironic. Two weeks before Christmas is the one of the two most popular times for couples to break up. According to data analyzed from Facebook posts and statuses, couples are more likely to end their relationship two weeks before Christmas. Christmas Day, however, is the least favorite day for breakups.
#3 Fun Fact
«Jingle Bells» was written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. The song was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title «One Horse Open Sleigh». It was supposed to be played in the composer's Sunday school class during Thanksgiving – inspired by the famous Medford sleigh races. «Jingle Bells» was also the first song to be broadcast from space by the way.
#4 Fun Fact
Not for people who are afraid of spiders but: In Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, finding a spider or a spider's web on a Christmas tree is believed to be a sign of good luck. According to one legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus, according to the other – a spider web on the Christmas tree turned silver and gold once the sunlight touched it. One way or another, decorating a Christmas tree with artificial spiders and spider webs will inevitably bring you luck and prosperity!
Christmas in Switzerland
Advertisers and supermarkets usually bombard us with Christmas stuff when we just got out of the Summer vibe. And songs like Last Christmas start playing on the radio haha. Yeah we're early too, check out our Christmas playlist on Spotify. But it's not really Christmassy until the Advent season, 4 weeks before Christmas. That's when you slowly start to decorate the house together, bake Christmas cookies (we call them «Güetzi» here), make handicrafts or buy presents. Of course, a nice Christmas tree is very important as well. So we have many Christmas rituals that are also common in other countries.
Santa Claus too, which is called «Samichlaus» in Swiss German. He's always a highlight for the kids. It's usual to practice verses for the «Samichlaus» in school. And on 6th December, the kids meet him (mostly outdoors, for example in the forest) and his helpers to present their verses and receive treats from his big bag. The rod is with one of his helpers – but it's more symbolic. Santa's generally a good guy haha, he doesn't really punish kids or put them in his bag. Of course Santa Claus also comes to many people's homes as well. Or is it just the dear uncle. Hm, we don't know...we're not gonna destroy any childhood dreams here. Church visits are also common of course, especially on Christmas Eve – after all, it's the most contemplative time of the year.
We also sing together at home – mostly traditional German Christmas carols. Here and there paired with typical Swiss folk music instruments. For example the «Schwyzerörgeli», which resembles an accordion. You can also have fun outdoors. Especially if it has fresh snow. Go for a sleigh ride or build a snowman together. Or a good old snowball fight where you can resolve an old conflict with your relatives haha.
Every region, every place and above all every family has its own Christmas traditions. Many of you will certainly have beautiful childhood memories of them – we hope we have been able to revive them a little for you. Maybe take you back to a more carefree time.
One things is clear: you can't get around food during the Christmas season.
Traditional meals for Christmas are very common in Switzerland. Swiss families rely on tried and test stuff and rarely dares to experiment with culinary delights. But while in America on Thanksgiving (which is almost more important than Christmas there) for example – an entire nation unanimously eats stuffed turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. In our little Switzerland, there's no actual dish that could be described as THE Christmas menu par par excellence. Individuality and independence that characterise us Swiss can't be concealed...even when it comes to eating.
But anyway, here's some common items to eat on Christmas:
- Fondue Chinoise or Bourguignonne (meat fondues)
- Table-top grill
- Filet in dough
- Schüfeli and Rollschinkli (cured and smoked pieces of pork)
- Turkey roast (in the French-speaking part of Switzerland)
- Ravioli and Panettone (in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland)
With starters or desserts you can usually be more flexible. Might be smoked salmon, terrines or tartare for starters and some exotic fruits or a pie for dessert. «Güetzis», our Christmas cookies, are eaten everywhere with coffee.
Something seems to apply though. A good piece of meat usually finds its place on Swiss Christmas tables. Besides all the presents and everything: We believe the most important thing for many is a harmonious get-together with good food and your dearest ones.
A little Christmas Quiz
Now, for fun and to use your brain a little: welcome to our Christmas Quiz.
You'll find the answers at the end of this blog. So don't cheat haha!
The legend of Santa Claus can be tracked back to which person?
Who invented electric Christmas lights?
Where did the Nativity take place?
Which country was the first to use the tradition of Christmas trees?
How do you say Merry Christmas in Spanish?
Canada, the UK and most other Commonwealth countries officially celebrate the day after Christmas as what holiday?
Which movie character tried to steal Christmas?
Which type of sweet bread loaf, which originated in Milan, is traditonally eaten at Christmas in Italy and many other European countries?
Now here are some suggestions for activities during the Christmas season:
- A nice snowshoe hike through our winter wonderland, discover more
- Hit the slopes – people are often busy on Christmas, which means less people
- Attending a church service in the nice little church of Grindelwald
- Ice skating on the illuminated rink in Meiringen
- Benefit from special hotel offers, for example overnight stay & dinner
- Or book a nice apartment, preferably with a fireplace
Somehow, not only for Christmas,
But all the long year through,
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you;
And the more you spend in blessing
The poor and lonely and sad,
The more of your heart’s possessing
Returns to make you glad.
For Santa Claus all people are equal. He makes no difference between nationality or old and young. He is tolerant and understanding.
Don't question everything, don't judge everything, you don't have to understand everything. Focus on the important things, enjoy and be thankful for the small things. Really take a minute and recollect, whether you're religious or not. Also think of the many people that, sadly, are alone on Christmas. If you can: make someone smile, help someone, donate to a meaningful organization. We too, as a company and in our private lifes, must try to focus on the essential, be objective, be fair, honest and respectful. But open for new, different and challenging things.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our guests from all over the world! We are privileged to live in such a beautiful region and we are happy to welcome you here and show you the things you can do and experience.
And for our dear partners in Grindelwald, Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Mürren and the Haslital:
Merci vilmal firdi flotti Zämmenarbeit! Mier wiinschen eech u eune Liebste e fridlichi Wiehnachtszyt und de gli es guets Niuws! Mier freuen iis ufds nägschta Jahr – gämer doch zämen offe, fair u sachlich ad Arbeit. Midenand geids ja schliessli ringer, niid!? Häbid sorg u häbids gued.
We're sure you didn't get a word of that. Don't worry, we didn't gossip about you. We just said thank you in Swiss dialect, to our dear partners.
1. The monk St. Nicholas
2. Thomas Edison in 1880
3. In Bethlehem
5. Feliz Navidad
6. Boxing Day
7. The Grinch