January 17th, 2018
Karin let the candles on the Christmas tree burn down last night. The Christmas tree itself didn’t burn down, just the candles that were on it. Karin always puts real candles on a real Christmas tree every year. She has little metal candle holders that attach to the tree branches. She places candles in the holders, and we light them once or twice during the Christmas season. Finally, Karin burns the candles all the way down until the wax is completely consumed. Then the holidays are officially over, and we celebrate the fact that we haven’t burned the house down.
You may at this point ask, “Why do you have candles on your Christmas tree?”
The answer to that question is: “Because Karin is a German.” She isn’t just a descendant of German immigrants. She is a bonafide, genuine Deutscher Frau. Germans like to have real Christmas trees (preferably Douglas firs or some type of spruce). They like to have candles on their trees, and they like to see those candles burn. They just do.
Honestly, watching candles flicker on a fir tree in a darkened room is truly a glorious sight. The scene has kind of an edgy beauty. It is nice to sit and look at the tree, while sipping a warm mug of Gluehwein. The smell of evergreen and beeswax fills the air. Maybe some cheesy German Weihnachtslieder are playing on the stereo. A person closely observes the ephemeral beauty of the the tiny, golden lights. This is due to the fact that a moment’s inattention could result in the whole tree going up in flames. One does not wander off while the tree is lit.
Karin and I start the Christmas season later than most people. This partly due to our desire to follow the Church calendar and actually experience Advent. It is also partly due to our procrastination. We generally don’t buy a tree until the last possible minute. If Karin has the tree decorated by Christmas Eve, we consider that to be a major win. Karin prefers wooden or straw ornaments. We do have a metal star on the top of the tree. Stefan welded it for us. It’s a tad heavy, but it really looks cool.
We do not light the candles often. As a rule, they get lit on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and the Feast of the Epiphany. If there is still any wax left after that, then Karin burns the candles down to nothing, and I hope to God that our insurance is paid up.
Holiday traditions are unique to every family. Every home has its own way of celebrating their festivals. Everybody has a different story and a different tradition.
We just like to live dangerously.