I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.
Christmas imagery is packaged up with a man in a fur-trimmed red suit, reindeers pulling large wooden sleighs through white powdery snow, evergreen fir trees with a dusting of snow on the branches, perfectly formed snowmen with carrot noses, rugged up carollers going from door to door singing about a silent nights.
Coming from Australia, these images provoke a feeling that Christmas is a magical time. Our Christmas is a time of trying to find a cool spot in the shade, battling the heat to keep the drinks cold, breathing in air so hot that it feels like it is burning your throat, trying not to move too much so that the sweat doesn’t start beading again,
While the scenario may seem foreign to each opposing hemisphere there are two elements in common. Both involve eating a hot meal despite the outside temperature and family.
I think most Australians dream about experiencing a “white Christmas” at least once in their lives, so when the opportunity arose to spend Christmas with my brother (also ticking off the second element of Christmas) in Winterberg, Germany, I jumped at it. Even the name Winterberg conjures up images of snow and cold. I decided that this was an opportunity not to be missed.
I was going to experience my first white Christmas.
After the 21 hour long flights, the airport delays, the long immigration lines, the blast of “artic” air upon walking out of the Frankfurt airport, the 2-hour drive, I arrived in Winterberg in complete darkness. I could hardly contain myself in eagerness to waking up in the morning to a winter wonderland.
As excited as a kid on Christmas day, I woke up at 7.30am on 23rd December, rushed outside to still find it pitch black, but in the darkness, I could see that there was one thing missing. Snow. Someone had forgotten to tell the powers that Be, that snow was a crucial part of the white Christmas experience.
Trying to contain my disappointment, I managed to soldier on with pithy sayings like “no its ok, I knew that there might not be any snow” and the classic, “I’m just happy to be spending Christmas with family”
The truth is, I was shattered. This was not how I had pictured my Christmas to be.
Being a trooper, I managed to hide my disappointment and smiled meekly throughout the day as we went to check out medieval Marberg, the winter markets in Winterberg, caught up with some friends of Grant and Tamara’s, went out for dinner and ate pork knuckle and a few glasses of German bier. It was a pleasant day, but it wasn’t a white pre-Christmas day.
The day finished with a night cap (or few) back at Grant & Tamara’s house, when I noticed out the window that it looked like white specks glistening in the darkness. Rushed outside to see that it was actually snowing.
It was going to be a white Christmas after all.
The next morning, Christmas Eve, looked like a baker had dusted icing sugar all over the landscape. Now it was beginning to look like the Christmas cards displayed on the mantle… if people actually sent Christmas cards anymore. To say “looking like an ecard sent because a company was saving all the money to save an endangered profit margin”, just doesn’t conjure up the same magical imagery.
By the end of the day the ground was covered in snow, so the day was spent out in the snow, looking at snow, photographing snow, throwing snow, walking in snow, slipping in snow, falling over in snow.
Europeans tend to celebrate Christmas Eve more than Christmas day, and this 24th December was no exception, and we celebrated, and celebrated and celebrated with the South African next door neighbours.
As the drinks flowed, the flakes snowed.
Woke up on Christmas Day with my dream fulfilled, it was a White Christmas. Except in my idyllic dream, I didn’t have a hangover.
Now, I’m dreaming of a Panadol Christmas.
Experiencing a white Christmas is on many bucket-lists, as it should be. I think everyone in the southern hemisphere, who has the opportunity, should forgo a sandy festive season at least once and head north to experience the magic of a white Christmas.
If you want to experience your own white Christmas, email The Don’t Forget Travel Group on firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew is the owner and director of The Don’t Forget Travel Group, a boutique travel agency that specialises in tailor-made itineraries.