I’m officially on Christmas vacation, except for a few things to grade and absences to count up for my labs. Now I can finally start answering all the e-mails that have been sitting in my Inbox forever. I really want to work on my French tutorials and add a listening section, but Christmas always put me in a “German” mood so I’m concentrating on Deutsch right now. Maybe it’s because Germany actually knows how to do Christmas, unlike France, or perhaps it’s because of Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, that I always associate Germany with Christmas. Plus Christmas trees and markets first originated in Germany and the oldest Christmas carol, Silent Night (Stille Nacht), was originally written in German in Austria. Even after years of going to Bronner’s in Michigan, I never knew that the chapel outside the store was a replica of the Silent Night Memorial Chapel in Oberndorf, Austria where Stille Nacht was sung for the first time in 1819.
Bronner’s always put me in a good mood, not only because it is year-round Christmas, but also because of its multilingual decorations and signs. Stille Nacht has been translated into 300 languages and all of the versions appear on plaques around the Chapel. They sell Christmas bulbs with Merry Christmas written on them in 100 languages. Even the trashcans in the parking lot are multilingual!
And their website has a Christmas Wonderland section where people from all over the US and Canada submit pictures of their houses decorated with Christmas lights. They also show the address so you can actually go to the house and see the lights in person (if you live in North America…)