If you live in southern Bavaria or Baden-Württemberg, visitors to your home may have complimented you with the following over the Christmas period after they've laid their eyes on your festively decorated Christmas tree: "Das ist aber ein wirklich schöner Baum."
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If you've heard these or similar words in recent days, you've witnessed an excellent example of Christbaumloben – which literally translates as 'Christmas tree praising'.
Christbaumloben is a tradition in southern Germany, and while it is of course a genuine display of affection for your tremendous Christmas tree, it also might come with an ulterior motive. That is because Christbaumloben – at least according to tradition – should not go unrewarded, with at least one (but probably a few more) glasses of schnapps.
Traditionally – and unlike in shopping malls where they seem to appear in September – Christmas trees are to be put up and decorated by the family on Christmas Eve in several regions of Germany.
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During the period 'zwischen den Jahren' - which means 'between the years' or the period between Christmas and New Years Eve - locals in southern Germany will engage in a spot of good old Christbaumloben.
Neighbours, friends and long-lost acquaintances will pop around – sometimes unannounced – and lavish praise upon your Christmas tree.
Once you've digested the praise, it is time to reward your kind visitors with schnapps - along with uneaten Christmas cake or other leftovers from the festive period.
And while you may be offered more than one schnappsy treat, there is no limit to the amount of Christbaumloben that you can do in one evening. It is tradition to visit your entire street or block, lavishing praise on tree after tree before being plied with schnapps like some kind of compliment-giving Santa Claus.
Examples (Step One):
Das ist aber ein wirklich schöner Baum!
That's a really nice tree!
Was für ein baum!
What a tree!
(Step Two): Prost!
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This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.
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