Christmas has always been a special time in our household. From the time that I grew up, I have memories of my parents and time-honored traditions that made the holiday special. In time, I got married, had a wonderful daughter and we started making memories for our family.
From annual carriage rides to putting up our own decorations, wearing matching Christmas pajamas and having lights put up outside, we have our family traditions. We also have traditions with good friends of a Christmas-themed dinner with amazing and decadent food and wine, a carriage ride with close friends, family Christmas PJs and an annual champagne tasting with my girlfriends to start off the season.
This year, the holiday traditions are going to be non-traditional. We are in Munich with our daughter, who is spending her junior year of high school in Italy. Since she left the end of August, we have visited her once and the jet lag from the three-day trip and a work trip prior, made me realize that I am not as young as I used to be.
We started off this trip in Italy where her school is based with a fantastic dinner at her host family’s home, who are amazing people. I can’t imagine her feeling more welcome as they have made her feel like part of the family.
The night prior to leaving for Munich, we celebrated Winter Solstice in city with a tour of lights where we saw her city under the glow of lights and community. It was perfect view of a special city and we something that we’ll remember for a lifetime.
We are now in Munich (where I’ve only gone in the past for conferences). We are discovering another city and traditions this holiday. We still plan to experience the joyous things, but we also want to visit places we can’t forget – like Dachau. It is an experience that will remain engrained on my mind of what can happen with the wrong people in power and must never happen again.
We walked all over Munich, saw gorgeous Christmas villages, did some shopping (on Christmas Eve things close at 2 pm and you’ll find stores and shops closed for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day opening again on December 27. So last night, we had an amazing four course Christmas dinner at The Charles Hotel, which we followed with family movie night watching Elf, one of our family favorites, cuddled in bed.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … just a bit different this year, but just as special. Probably more so because of the distance we’ve had with Morgan due to her year in Italy.