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Weihnachten 2003

This year Christmas is something special for us, a so-called first experience, because our son Christian is not at home. This is the first time ever that the family is not completely together during the holiday season. Therefore we made this page for Christian who is still staying in Delphos, Ohio, USA. He lives at our friends' – the Kayser family's – house and he really feels well and happy there. When he is on the phone we always get the impression that we will have diffculties to get him back some day...

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Cindy, Chip, Scot, Adam and Nick, for the great chance that you give to Christian. A very Merry Christmas for the whole family from your friends in Germany! You are just wonderful people, we love you.

Now, this little photo album is for you, Christian, to see how things were here without you, but everybody else is also welcome to have a look, especially the Kayser family of course, since we are sharing something/-one special this year:

[ Click on the photos to enlarge them. ]

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xmas2003_001.jpg

The Christmas tree decoration is the same as every year and the tree is a so-called "Nordmanntanne" with smooth fir needles. We bought it at Kaunitz church where the "Kolping", mostly Ernst Nüst and his family, organized a Christmas tree market in order to earn some money for the "Jungkolping" and for painting the church. By the way, our pastor has put the altar in the middle of the church now and reorganized the benches. I must say, I like it this way, it is like in French cathedrals. 

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xmas2003_002.jpg

The Christmas crib or – as the Americans say – crèche has been put up and decorated by Helen and her friend Giulia two days before Christmas. My only job was to fix the brown cloth around the crèche to cover the cases under the whole construction, the same job as every year. All the light bulbs worked on the first try, something new, right? 

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xmas2003_003.jpg

When we entered the living-room for the distribution of the Christmas presents, you will not guess who entered first. Yes, is was Moritz and he looked at Christine as if he wanted to say, "Mum, give me my Christmas present, please." We had the impression that he remembered from all the years before that Christmas Eve means a nice present for him, too.

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xmas2003_004.jpg

Then Christine gave him his big buffalo bone and off he went to his basket. As you see in the picture he started chewing on that thing right away and we didn't see him until hours later when he came back and was completely exhausted from all the chewing. He had eaten half the bone!

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xmas2003_005.jpg

This is Grandma Lore, looking a bit skeptical about the big box on her part of the table.

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xmas2003_006.jpg

Jochen and his friends are much into cocktails at the moment and they make these cocktail parties all the time. So he got a mixer for preparing some of the ingredients. He got also some other things, but this year he did not get much for Christmas. This was fine for him though, since we paid most of his trip to visit his brother in the US in the fall.

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xmas2003_007.jpg

Helen with a new pair of warm slippers, but there were some toys for her as well... and a new bike as you can see in the picture below.

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xmas2003_008.jpg

Christine is looking at Helen unwrapping one of her gifts.

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xmas2003_009.jpg

Helen insisted on having "Bello" down in the living-room with us, since she thought that he would bring you, Christian, a bit nearer to us, as your substitute so-to-say.

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xmas2003_010.jpg

Grandma Lore smiling after she had found out that she got a video recorder, finally, after all these years! Now she can watch videos, and she also got one for Christmas: the film of little Frithjof in the year 1955, the engagement and wedding of Christine and Frithjof and some more.

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xmas2003_011.jpg

Christine has always been upset about my old travel slippers and wanted me to throw them away, but I would never have done this because I love them. Now this is her latest trick to make me get rid of them: giving me new ones for Christmas...

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xmas2003_012.jpg

...but perhaps I am lucky, since they are too small. I hope this means I can keep the old ones. ;-)

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xmas2003_013.jpg

The Christmas pyramid, something that most Germans have in the homes at Christmas time. These things are made in the Erzgebirge, a mountain area in East Germany, and they are all handcrafted.

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xmas2003_014.jpg

Jochen playing around with the camera, making an experimental photo with mum and a 45 degree Christmas tree, but I assure you, the tree stands upright. It is a wonderful tree, not bent or anything, the nicest that we have had so far.

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xmas2003_015.jpg

Now Christine is "unwrapping" her present from her three kids. This thing is so heavy that Jochen could hardly carry it in and it was too big to put nice paper around. So he just covered it with a white cloth. 

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xmas2003_016.jpg

As you can read on the box, it is an electric gadget to adjust your bed in various positions. Well, I guess that this is the kind of luxury that elderly people need since Christine was really happy about this new piece of technical equipment and she says thank you to all her kids, i.e. also to you, Christian!

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xmas2003_017.jpg

Again "Bello" on Helen's arm as a part of the party. As you can see here very well, Jochen is wearing a St. John's t-shirt to express his connection to "his" former school.

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xmas2003_018.jpg

When most of the gifts were unwrapped we phoned this son in Delphos and luckily he was at home which seems to be an exception to the rule.  ;-))  Jochen was the first to talk and I must say, Christian, that we all really enjoyed talking to you and in this way having you with us somehow.

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xmas2003_019.jpg

Your mother and in front of her in the middle of the table the Advent wreath with the rest of the four candles.

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xmas2003_020.jpg

Helen and me with Helen's new horse which makes noises when you feed it or touch it or brush it. She loves this toy.

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xmas2003_021.jpg

Here you see grandma Lore in this special mood that comes to her always when she remembers grandpa. By the way, if he was still alive he would be 90 next year.

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xmas2003_022.jpg

Now Helen is on the phone talking with her big brother in Delphos. There is so much news to tell...

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xmas2003_023.jpg

...for example about her new bike. It is a so-called nostalgia Holland bike. The lamp and gear shifting (7 gears) are modern, the rest is designed like in the 1930s. When Christine, Helen and I were on vacation in Bad Zwischenahn, Helen saw this kind of bike and that was when we got the idea that it would be a nice Christmas present for her.

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xmas2003_024.jpg

Here is the crèche with the meadow and the sheep and all the people that came to see the good Lord that night in Bethlehem. There is also this little pond with the ducks.

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xmas2003_025.jpg

Here a bit closer view. You can even see the little bridge over the pond.

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xmas2003_026.jpg

And here is the nativity scene at a close view. I know this picture is not very good but my little camera can't get it better.

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xmas2003_027.jpg

This is your Christmas present, a new bed. It is big and comfortable enough to really relax. Here is still this old blanket on the bed to protect it until you come back home.

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xmas2003_028.jpg

The real color of the sheet is black, the same as the head rest which makes it quite easy to watch tv in bed.

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xmas2003_029.jpg

We had some problems with the bed, as we have already told you on the phone. But finally we could solve them. Jochen and I put the thing together. Well, actually it was more Jochen than me.

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xmas2003_030.jpg

Here you can see how we put it in your room. This is the view through your door from the little corridor in front of Helen's and your room.

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xmas2003_031.jpg

Here you see the position again. We put it this way because otherwise the room would give the impression of being very small.

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xmas2003_032.jpg

On Christmas Day we went to Grandma Lore's house for breakfast and sure enough there were some Christmas presents as well. Here Jochen gets one of these salt stone lamps. It is just like the one that you have got in your room, Christian.

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xmas2003_033.jpg

This is Grandma's Christmas tree. It is also very nice, of course smaller than ours. Helen helped her decorate it.

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xmas2003_034.jpg

Helen in her new chair. She really needed a new one for her desk and her computer. This is now a very comfortable one.

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xmas2003_035.jpg

Christine and Lore. I know the photos are not best quality, but at least you get an impression of what Christmas was like here in Germany.

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xmas2003_036.jpg

Helen also got a salt stone lamp. She said that she loved it and that she has always wanted one since the day when you, Christian, got yours.

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xmas2003_037.jpg

After the breakfast at grandma Lore's we went home for just some short time and then it was already time to go to grandma Elfriede's for "Kaffeetrinken". Here is her Christmas tree with the crèche in the living-room.

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xmas2003_038.jpg

I am sorry, but I didn't take any pictures during the meal. After "Kaffeetrinken" Henrik was urged by his father, Alfred, to play some Christmas carols on his keyboard. You can well imagine how much the boy enjoyed this... ;-))

Then we had some talking and talking and then dinner was served. I guess we have all put on some weight.

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xmas2003_039.jpg

After dinner we went on talking and talking...

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xmas2003_040.jpg

Just when the camera clicked, people stopped talking and just sat there as if Christmas was a sad thing.

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xmas2003_041.jpg

Finally a smile!

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xmas2003_042.jpg

While the adults were in the living-room, the kids were in the hall playing with their new toys. Helen got the "Arche Noah" by Playmobil, she loves it.

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xmas2003_043.jpg

Henrik does not especially like being taken his picture, but Vera really hates it. It took me some time to convince her to look into the camera.

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xmas2003_044.jpg

The ark is almost ready to sail. Here she puts the cabin together.

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xmas2003_045.jpg

Aunt Donata carrying Henrik's keyboard back upstairs to their appartment.

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xmas2003_046.jpg

This is grandma's second Christmas tree in the big hall. This was the last photo of Christmas Day.

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xmas2003_047.jpg

On Boxing Day, December 26th, we went to Aunt Gaby's and Uncle Leo's house for guess what? Sure enough, for "Kaffeetrinken", again!

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xmas2003_048.jpg

In the photo on the left you can see their Christmas tree and this is their crèche on the glass table right next to the tree. Gaby thinks that there is not enough grass and straw, but we told her that everything is ok and looks fine.

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xmas2003_049.jpg

Helen got an album for collecting the Euro coins in it. This is interesting for her, since she has already got several coins of different countries.

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xmas2003_050.jpg

The decoration on the heating in the Kammertöns' dining-room.

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xmas2003_051.jpg

The table was packed, as always. Cake and other nice things. I especially liked the salmon and the other fish.

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xmas2003_052.jpg

Vera and Henrik were sitting at the kids' end of the big table. The seat of Gaby's godson remained empty, guess why!

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xmas2003_053.jpg

Coke for the kids, as usual...

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xmas2003_054.jpg

...and they liked it, but Vera doesn't like being photographed.

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xmas2003_055.jpg

Another cup of coffee, please.

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xmas2003_056.jpg

This is the salmon that I liked so much. It was of best quality, as usual. In the background you can see the strawberry tart.

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xmas2003_057.jpg

You see that the photo format has changed now. This photo and all the following ones were taken with the Kammertöns' brandnew digital camera. It is a Kodak which really makes nice pictures.

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xmas2003_058.jpg

It is always nice sitting at this table, eating, talking and smoking... By the way, the Sielhorsts were not there.

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xmas2003_059.jpg

You know these, Christian, don't you? Your father and godfather.

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xmas2003_060.jpg

This picture was taken by Katharina just by hasard, but I didn't delete it, since it shows the remains of the meal quite realistically.

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xmas2003_061.jpg

Talking about playing cards next week, I guess.

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xmas2003_062.jpg

Clearing the table...

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xmas2003_063.jpg

...and everyone must help...

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xmas2003_064.jpg

...not if you have a camera in your hands!

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xmas2003_065.jpg

I have often wondered why children prefer playing on the floor, but so far, I have not found the answer.

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xmas2003_066.jpg

Behind Aunt Donata you have a look into the kitchen. I wouldn't like to clear all this mess after the guests have left.

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xmas2003_067.jpg

Meanwhile a part of the family: André...

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xmas2003_068.jpg

...and here you see why.

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xmas2003_069.jpg

Henrik got this tricky thing for Christmas, a so-called "Super Bop-it" with five different choices. He loves it, his record is 78, but Katharina holds the family record with 142!

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xmas2003_070.jpg

Uncle Leo's record is a lot lower, but he is the one who loves this toy best of all the "kids"...

After this photo no 70 was taken, we went... no, not home! We went to grandma Lore's house for dinner. She had prepared a wonderful "Rossbraten" (yes, with double-s, not with st!) that she had bought on her last trip to Solingen. We all enjoyed the meal with this wonderful piece of meat very much.

Then New Year's Eve came and we went to friends that you know very well. We were just six people, four adults and Helen and Katharina. It was a really nice party with "Fondue" and we all enjoyed this very much. Here are some photos:

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xmas2003_071.jpg

The ladies enjoyed sitting on the bench of the tiled stove. You know, elderly ladies like it warm...

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xmas2003_072.jpg

Katharina also got a "Super Bop-it" for Christmas, her sister who is in the US right at the moment just like you sent it. It is in English language which makes it a bit more difficult to play with it, even more, if you play it with two people at a time...

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xmas2003_073.jpg

...but the girls really loved it and had some good scores.

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xmas2003_074.jpg

This is the Christmas tree with red candles and red decoration, a really wonderful tree.

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xmas2003_075.jpg

After midnight the girls wanted their fireworks and they got what they wanted, loads of fireworks and sparklers, as you see in this picture.

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xmas2003_076.jpg

Here Helen has just thrown a fire cracker, you still see the smoke that was all around us.

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xmas2003_077.jpg

When you have a look at your mother, you see how cold it was.

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xmas2003_078.jpg

Gaby and Katharina discussing about what to do first, another fire cracker or the sparklers, a difficult decision.

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xmas2003_079.jpg

The adults had a nice glass of champaign, or two, or three. ;-)

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xmas2003_080.jpg

This is Herbert, as one knows him. The party is still going on, but he is already cleaning the place...

Well, Christian, this was your German Christmas page. I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos and reading my little comments. We wish you and your hosts a Happy New Year and I must admit that we are already looking forward to hugging you again in February!

If you still don't have enough of looking at photos from home, here is another gallery: Grandma Elfriede's 70th birthday on December 8th, 2003.

Dad                        

 

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