Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas, German-style

Think of your average German.

Got a good picture?

If you picked "lederhosen and beer" or "stiff businessperson," you're in line with my anecdotal evidence (also known as two friends I randomly asked) regarding German stereotypes. And as with most stereotypes, those ones aren't all wrong - Bavarians un-ironically love lederhosen and beer, and few Germans are at all demonstrative outside of soccer matches. Despite this national psyche, the Christmas season seems to bring about the tasteful magpie in German public spaces. The older of my two malls, for example, has been all decked out since the end of November.

Down the center of the mall you can find a bunch of Christmas-specific temporary retailers, selling a whole manner of traditional shapes and forms for celebrating the season.

The German "Christmas Tree Shoppe"
Lots of pretty glass ornaments
The candles make the little windmills turn.
Besides the little retailers, every surface that isn't a store window or the floor has been festooned with decorations. To be fair, most of any mall is windows and floor, but still.

All the skylights have this.
A jumbo version of the little candle windmills.
Decorated the whole way down.
Notice the two Christmas trees by the bottom of the huge windmill? Every escalator has two little trees flanking it.

Could you call this garland? I'm going to.

The Christmas Tree outside the mall
Germans of a variety of religious bents are also rather enamored of Advent calendars, counting down the days until Christmas. A number of shops whose merchandise is otherwise unrelated sell Advent calenders seasonally to take advantage of this interest. You can get many different themes, rather like Valentine's cards or wall calendars in the US. To top it off, we have a small-scale replica of one famous church as a huge public Advent calendar.
They open a door every day at 5pm.

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