In past years, I have talked about Swiss Christmas traditions and how things are still fairly low-key compared to other countries (and since I write in English, probably in particular compared to the UK, US and other English-speaking countries). Our main supermarket chain has published statistics that certainly appear to support my theory. Don’t we love to feel we’re right?!
The supermarket I’m referring to is Migros, originally a family-owned company that is still pretty traditional in many ways, and with a “conscience”, as far as that is possible in the world of corporations. Since it’s my favourite place to shop, I have no qualms in being complimentary about it! Great training schemes, support of cultural efforts and progressive with organic and other products are all part of the pros, along with a very fair price policy. Plus a free weekly publication – on recycled paper – that often has interesting articles and a very Swiss approach, possibly contributing to keeping the Swiss Swiss, I have to say.
So this week, some statistics about what the Swiss like to give as presents for Christmas!
1. something homemade :)
3. gift vouchers
4. books and paper goods
5. clothing and accessories
6. days out, e.g. zoo
7. cosmetics or perfume
8. tickets for concerts, theatre, cinema etc.
9. food and sweets
I was pleased with this list, not least with the no. 1 spot, as I think that is something that comes from the heart, whether you love or hate or are ambiguous about the result! Lots of experience gifts there, too, or useful things, much of which shows that it’s the thought that counts and not the clutter… and to my surprise, electronics did NOT make the top 10.
It was nice to see that although 90% of Swiss will have a tree up, a whopping 64% will sit and craft the decorations with their children – that is very encouraging indeed! And lo and behold, apparently 73% will go to the trouble of making gifts with their children – this reflects something we also always tried to do (and I’m delighted to say we still often get homemade gifts from our adult children – and of course, grandchildren!). Another high percentage statistic is that 76% of households will have an Advent calendar and be counting down to Christmas Eve – when 82% will be celebrating with grandparents :). It seems that family values and a sense of simplicity still reign. Thankfully.
Last year I wrote that there is not really a typical Christmas menu in Switzerland – Migros says 41% will have a “traditional” meal – “mostly Fondue Chinoise”, something of a correction on my views!
We will, once again, be combining Swiss and English Christmas traditions to accomodate everybody’s tastes, and I can say this much, our gift-giving is largely within that statistical ranking!
And now onto the next section of December reflections…
12. White – a beautiful seasonal posy I received as a gift, including a brilliant white, 4-bloomed amaryllis :) 13. Comfort – food and a family spaghetti feast! 14. Stripes – after spots above, onto stripes! I loved that all these greedy little ponies were feeding at the same time, with their neatly groomed and trimmed tails lined up tidily… 15. My favourite camera – ooh, spoilt for choice! iPhone or iPad?! I have no photographerly ambitions and am more than happy snapping away with my ever-constant companion, the iPhone 4S. However, on this occasion, I used my iPad mini and was very much aware that the quality, especially with the colours, was vastly superior to that which my iPhone delivers! (Meersburg on Lake Constance in June 2014)We are now into the 3rd week of Advent and more than halfway through the Advent calendar, as well as only two weeks short of the end of the year… definitely December reflections!