Mistletoe and Glühwein

Un­ser Au­tor Ross kommt aus dem ver­reg­ne­ten Nor­den Eng­lands. Letz­ten Herbst ver­liebte er sich in eine Re­gens­bur­ger Erasmus-Studentin. Nach zwei Se­mes­tern war ihr Aus­lands­auf­ent­halt vor­bei. Sie ging zu­rück nach Re­gens­burg – und er kam mit. Doch die Stadt und ihre Ein­woh­ner be­sche­ren dem Zu­a­groastn seit­dem den ein oder an­de­ren “what the fuck?!”-Moment. In sei­ner wö­chent­li­chen Ko­lumne „Ra­tis­bo­nisms” er­zählt Ross mit sei­nem dry english wit von Re­gens­burgs Eigenheiten.


So Christmas is coming and the geese, along with many of us, are getting fat. Thanks to the plethora of festive goodies plentifully stacked in every store, I can’t resist a box of Lebkuchen or a fancy bag of assorted nuts. The temptation is too strong. The mental debate goes something like this … Ok, that’s everything, let’s pay. Hold on, these biscuits are reduced by 20% AND they’re shaped like a snowman! No you don’t need biscuits in the shape of a snowman. But they look so delicious and biscuity and Christmassy! You would never buy these biscuits if they didn’t depict two balls of half-frozen water, a smaller ball stacked on top of the larger, given a carrot nose, two twigs for arms and a raggy scarf! Ah fuck it, it’s only Christmas once a year!

Germany is synonymous with Christmas and particularly Christkindlmärkte. Right now, all around England, markets masquerading as ‘Authentic German Christmas Market’ will be opening their doors to a ravenous surge of people who are magnetised to such places for a taste of classic German festivity. I have been among this horde in previous years and I have to admit, I was drawn in and devoured by a clever scheme. At the time, the market, in my eyes, was brilliant and I recommended it to many of my family and friends. I sold myself to fancy stores packed with foreign-looking products and food with German names. Cheered on by my care-free ‘it’s Christmas’ mentality, I spent a small fortune.

Since arriving in Germany, before the actual, real, genuine, authentic Christmas markets were opened, I’ve learnt some painful truths. The stalls at such markets in England are pretenders who prey on the ignorance of us English folk. Most of the goods on sale were no more festive than a gorilla sitting in the jungle, eating ants from a leaf. They sold Currywurst and Dickmann’s and to compound my misery, I discovered that the little bag of cakes – which I paid five pounds for – was Gut und Günstig (the equivalent of Smart Price). I now feel pity for those who will this year, and for years to come, buy shit just because a Scottish or whatever guy dressed in cotton Lederhosen tells them it’s traditional. But you know what, it’s Christmas, so fuck it.


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