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!
Vive la Suisse! Being in the UK for the 6th Christmas in a row, I can only say that nostalgia is strong for a simple Alpine “besinnliche Weihnachten”. I am so pleased for all of you that you can still experience it. Hugs xx
GRANNY SAYA: Migros should pay you for the sponsorship!And she loves the ponies.
I like what you say about the Swiss Christmas Statistics and I like all your photos very much. Thaks for sharing! 🙂
It sounds as though family and homely Christmases are alive and well in your part of the world. Hurrah! And a belated Happy Birthday.
Thankyou – yes, we are lucky that Switzerland is “behind” in some things!! But exceedingly modern in others… a good balance 🙂
i have enjoyed the information on your traditions you have shared with me in the past and it’s nice to see facts back up what you felt in your heart to be true.
Today I had a phone conversation with the two oldest grandchildren. This was their first year in school and it’s changed them in some ways I am not happy to see. Each child shared with me what they wanted Santa to bring them. My grandson wants a dirt bike and a tablet, his sister wants a playstation 360 and a barbie dream house. I had hoped their simple upbringing would hold as they ventured out into the world but I fear they are way too swayed by the things they hear their new friends talking about. Hopefully this is just a phase.
I love your photos. Your table makes me wish for a dining table again, it’s so welcoming and brings back memories of family dinners with much conversation.
I hope you enjoyed my blog as much as I enjoy keeping up with yours 🙂
It is difficult for children these days – we want a simple upbringing but they need to be “fit” for the modern digital world, too. I see the task of parenting getting more and more precarious, like walking a tightrope, really. Presumably this is also why so many parents now homeschool in the US – of course, wanting rubbish toys happens here, too, let’s not delude ourselves, but there is not the opportunity of homeschooling (not allowed in Switzerland or Germany) at all. Finding a balance is extremely hard, I feel, and needs bucketloads of consistency and firmness on the parents’ part!
I wish you a lovely family holiday, Lois!
I love this article. Focus on tradition and handmade decorations and gifts is what Christmas should be about! Here in the UK the focus seems to be on spending as much as possible….
Your photography is stunning too 🙂
All the best, Sal
Thanks Sal, your blog has been a breath of fresh air for me and I’m delighted you’re a Northern redhead, as so many of my family are, too!!