back to business as usual

It's after 10 a.m. German time, and if the number of trucks parked outside is any indication, we're back to business as usual around here after the Christmas holiday.

Our best gift this year was the ability to experience Christmas as the Germans do – with 2-1/2 days of peace and quiet.

You see, over here foks open their presents and do family time on the evening of the 24th – after a morning of frenzied last-minute grocery shopping, the shops close at lunchtime, and parents spend the afternoon decorating the tree (which in most cases won't have been put up until that day). Kids get taken on walks to get them out of the house, and then when the sun goes down, the tree gets lit (some folks still use candles, despite the fire danger) and the fun begins.

[The only down side to this is some tired kids, as our cousin's daughter Franza displayed to us yesterday. Stayed up too late playing Junior Monopoly with her parents after her kid brother went to bed.]

Then, for TWO WHOLE DAYS nothing is open – except for some restaurants and cafés to go grab a quick Glühwein with friends. No day-after-Christmas sales, no getting to the mall at 5 a.m. for the second largest shopping day of the year, no tossing aside those new presents for the rush of buying still more new things.

Nothing.

Just visiting with family and taking long walks. Both of which we did, with great vigor and enjoyment.

So now Christmas is an FO (Finished Object) for another year. We'll have to see what we can carry over from this to our next holiday season, "wherever our final destination may take us," as the flight attendants (hilariously) say.

In the meantime, I got a great present just this morning from Reuters.