Freitag, 23. September 2011

Does Christmas really have to start in September?

Alarm Alert, Achtung! Christmas is coming!

Nougat marzipan sticks, stollen, and lovely spicey ginger-bread cookies with delightful names like Lebkuchenherzen and Spekulatius. Washed down with a nice pot of clove & cinnamon tea. Mmmmm...

Germans do this sort of thing very nicely, very gemütlich, particularly when you’re snuggled up to a log fire on a dark and dank winter’s evening, with the promise of snow on the way.

Visiting Aldi the other day, however, with temperatures a pleasant 19 C, and the local Freibad thronging with Frühsportler (queuing up at six o'clock in their bathing robes ready to rack up 50 lengths before breakfast – very German), I'm amazed to find the rummage tables overflowing with Christmas clutter. And doing a roaring trade too, as housewives jostle for foot space, preparing to pounce on the last remaining supplies of marzipan hearts fancily packaged in Christmas-tree shaped woolly stockings with a bobble on the end.

It’s all too much for me. Grabbing the first pack of lebkuchen I can lay my hands on, I head for the check-out, to find the queue for the only point open (Aldi has a total of four check-outs in Mainburg – I’ve never seen more than two in operation at the same time) slowly snaking down the central aisle towards the frozen foods and special offers.

On the way home we call at the local konditorei. As Matilda presses her nose and lips against the cake counter screen, leaving a string of dribble running down the glass, I hover between ordering kaffee with sahne or frothy milchschaum. Describing the scene of mayhem I have just experienced at the discounter, Frau Lutzenburger serves me and offers up a helpful explanation: “So are we Germans. We think if we do not get our things quickly then we will get nothing”.

Ah so. This might explain why holidaying Germans rise at the break of dawn to reserve the most desirable poolside chairs with bathing towels.

Leaving the store I deliberate whether it might pay to pop back to Aldi for a few more lebkuchen, just in case they sell out by the weekend.

Christmas, by the way, is still three months away.

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