Christmas Traditions Everyday in Switzerland~ Friday Roundup


photo by Lovonne Burrow

photo by Lovonne Burrow

Some weeks life seems impossibly busy and exhausting with very little to show for it, how does that happen? There is definitely no shortage of Christmas Activity here in Switzerland. The snow is covering everything and we have even seen patches of blue sky this week! Samichlaus comes to our house tonight, and I don’t mean while everyone is sleeping, I mean to actually interview the children and access how they can improve some of their behaviors and talk about what things they are doing well at!!! This is a country with accountability! I love it!!!!

Sami came to town in the UMZUG (parade) last Saturday night. Her is a video from a nearby village Umzug– don’t be alarmed by the guys wearing white pointy hats and white robes carry torches. The video is only a short clip but normally Santas enterage includes the Smutzli this video explains his purpose and origins:

Here in our village it was a long processional of lantern carriers and bell ringers. He has been visiting speil gruppe today and leaving little treats for the children. Axel has heard that all areas of Switzerland have their own Samichlaus- there are many of them. It appears that he is a man of the cloth since he dresses like a catholic priest and made a speech last week on the steps of the church after the parade. I couldn’t understand his Swiss German so I am a little out of the loop. The parents of the children in town receive a paper ( a cheat sheet of sorts) that must be filled out for Sami so that he can have talking points, then we dropped it off at the little candy/newspaper stand in the village where Sami goes to collect the sheets and make appointments. We got a telephone call from him on Tuesday and were shocked to learn that he has picked up some English and will be able to talk to us in both German and English. He will bring treats for the kids and we hope to see some clean bedrooms today!

Other things that are keeping us buzzing with Christmas Spirit is the Free Cookie making at the big shopping center near us. They take the children over 3 and help bake, and decorate a box of free cookies!


I always imagine this Christmas tradition of family cookie baking to be one of the most happy and memorable of the season. In my mind its a Norman Rockwell painting, the fireplace is lit, the house smells of cinnamon, the tree is glittering with handmade ornaments. Mothers smile wearing the perfect share of red lipstick, high heels and a beautiful pressed white apron. They cradle a lovely ceramic bowl in one arm and calmly stir the concoction into a lovely cookie dough. The counter-tops are clean and magically free of the giant mess that seems to be inevitable with a baking experiment that includes the children’s help. The cookies come out of the oven at the perfect golden brown and the frosting and candies are applied with artistic precision. My attempt at the tradition have never born the stress free smiling version of this fantasy but I still try every year. And this year Landerpark allowed me to stand smiling in my heals and red lipstick while I watched professionals cover the kids in plastic aprons and carry them through a painless process stress free! My kitchen is clean and I am smiling. Not to mention the word free is rarely used in Switzerland so we get pretty excited when we hear it!!!

The kids and I also took the train into Luzern on Wednesday (that’s the day all kids get out of school by 11:30) and we went to the Christmas market and walked around drinking warm Christmas punch and looking at the decorations in the city. It was a perfect afternoon because the sun came out and the skies were clear and you could see beautiful snow covered mountains all around. We lingered in the book shop to warm up and then headed rode the train back to the village while snacking of freshly made chocolate filled “berliners” (they aren’t Krispy Kremes but they’ll do in a pinch).

day of the donut 2009

Since this post is full of links I only a few good ones for the weekend:

  • Motivations for my work out 
  • I know this is probably old news in the states but we have watched this video a 100 times- amazing!!!! Does this kid have a scholarship yet?
  • This looks so good and with a name like Christmas Crack it must be addictive too!

Finally let’s not forget the reason for the season:

Tomorrow we travel to a few nearby villages with reputations for some very special Christmas Markets (here too), it will be a fun way to spend the day. I wish you were here! What are some of your families favorite traditions that put you in the mood for Christmas?