Halloween is barely celebrated here, and Thanksgiving doesn’t exist. There have been beautiful advent calendars and Christmas sweaters in the shop windows for weeks, and preparations are well underway for the extensive Christmas markets that will soon be open. Unlike at home, no one is embarrassed or exasperated about it — without Halloween and Thanksgiving, there’s really no reason NOT to start the celebration of Christmas.
As if on cue, the weather here today felt like something out of Dickens (minus the snow). This evening in Vienna was cold, foggy and damp. Walking through Michaelerplatz, watching the horse drawn carriages go by, I could easily imagine the opening scenes to “A Christmas Carol”.
Our Halloween pumpkins are still in good form, but soon, it’ll be time to deck our halls, too. I’m very excited about Christmas — it’s the time of year I’m most looking forward to experiencing in Vienna. Culturally, Christmas is bound to be very different here — I suspect Austria will celebrate more religiously than I’m used to at home. And the secular icons are different, as well — they have Saint Nicholas here, rather than Santa Claus, and the Christmas tree tradition is executed differently.
I’d better find out the salient differences, because with Benjamin being in school, he’s going to hear about them. He’s has already started his mental Christmas list for Santa — and one for Liam, too — and he told me this evening that he’s concerned that Santa will be able to get in to our house, but maybe not out again. He’s planning ahead. Me too.