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Winterfest in July Bingo 4

Title: Family Traditions
Prompt: Strings of Popcorn
Fandom: original
Characters: Bernd, Amber, Greta, Maria, Fritz, Minky, Wolfgang, Luigi, Didi, Tino, James, Cesare, & Sophia (OC)
Word count: 915
Rating: G
Summary: The family gets together to celebrate the holidays…
Genre: slice of life
Author’s notes: Thanks go out to my beta, Kat, for pinking this for me. Please note Amber, James, Minky, Greta belong to her Maria & Fritz are shared.

Bernd reached into the bowl of popcorn and grabbed a handful, which he put in front of himself. Picking up a kernel, he skewered it with a needle, pushing it onto the thread. Grabbing another piece, he repeated the process. The rest of his family sat around the dining room table, doing pretty much the same thing, except the kids were stringing pieces of fruit onto twine.

Wolfgang took paper towel rolls that were cut in half and smeared them with peanut butter, before rolling them in birdseed. When he finished with them, he poked a hole in them and used pieces of twine to make a hanger. Every so often, he would get up and make more popcorn.

After dinner, everyone was going to put on their coats and boots and go out to the trees in the backyard, where they would decorate them and in an odd family tradition, sing to the trees. That custom was born out of necessity, for as a child, Bernd was a bit of a handful and the only way to get him to calm down, was to usurp the old tradition of orchard wassailing. It was combined with the idea of a Yule Goat and Bernd took it very seriously. He would stand in the cold, singing, while the strings of popcorn were placed on the trees to help feed the birds and the spirits of the forest. When the popcorn was finally hung, it was Bernd’s job to take the Yule Goat and place it on the tree that would become the one they would use for their Christmas tree the following year. That job now fell to Maria. Fritz, at twelve, felt he was too old to do it.

Amber loved the Pagan influences on the family’s holiday traditions. It made it different and now that her girlfriend Minky was part of the family, they added elements of Hanukah to it whenever Christmas and Hanukah fell together. This year would be one of the rare times Hanukah and Christmas were on the same day, or rather Christmas Eve and Hanukah. Tonight’s dinner they would feast on fish, sushi, and latkes. They would play the dreidl game for a bit while Wolfgang tidied up the kitchen, enjoying their jelly donuts, before bundling up and heading outside to sing to the trees.

At last the moment had arrived. Maria was crowned the Christmas Queen and given the task of carrying the Yule Goat, a small goat that Amber had made out of bundles of straw, tied together with a bit of red ribbon. Wolfgang, got the axe from the woodshed, and everyone trudged through the snow to the stand of trees, singing Christmas carols as they went. After the strings of popcorn and dried fruit were hung, they walked a bit further to where there was a grouping of pine trees. Maria hung the Yule Goat on a tree.

“Thank you for being our next Christmas tree,” she said. Her family cheered when she stepped back.

They made a game of looking for the old Yule Goat, and finding it, Bernd got the first swing of the axe. Between he, Didi, their father, James, Cesare, and Tino they were able to make short work of cutting it down.

“Buona Fortuna!” Luigi cried as the tree fell.

With Maria and Greta leading the way, everyone made their way back inside. The tree was set up in the den. They made a party out of decorating the tree. There were ornaments that were made by the children, a few special ones that Wolfgang had brought over from Germany, even some plastic dreidls that Bernd turned into ornaments, along with some pretty ones Greta and Amber had found at the craft store. Wolfgang hung a garland of popcorn, they has saved from the ones made earlier, on the tree, while Amber, Greta, Mishka, Maria, and Cesare’s girlfriend Sophia set up the crèche on the small table next to it.

Standing before the Christmas tree, Maria, in her little girl soprano, sang, “O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter! Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit, Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit. O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter!

Everyone joined in. When the song was finished, the first presents were handed out. They all got a pair of pajamas. Since they could not wear them, the dogs were given a red bandana as a present, much to the kids’ amusement.

Wolfgang stood off to the side, watching the others enjoy themselves. Luigi came over to him. He looked at his friend and said, “You okay?”

“Yeah…” Wolfgang sighed. “I always miss her the most at this time of year.”

“I know, but she’s up there, smiling down at us and loving how big our family got.”

Wolfgang nodded. He smiled. “She would have loved the Enkelkinder.”

Luigi nodded at that. “Yeah, she would have made a great Nonna.”

They lapsed into companionable silence, lost in their memories of Christmases past. Their melancholy mood was broken when Bernd put on the version of “Jingle Bells” that was made up from clips of barking dogs. That got the family dogs barking. Wolfgang and Luigi looked at each other and shook their heads. Both were smiling.

“Bernd! Turn that nonsense off!”

“Yes, Vati!” Bernd turned it off, his “mission” accomplished. Despite his own struggles with depression, he was determined that they should all be happy during the holiday season.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2016 04:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, that all sounds wonderful!
Nov. 26th, 2016 08:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :D
Jan. 16th, 2017 11:59 pm (UTC)
Very sweet, Kira :) You got a lot in there.
Jan. 17th, 2017 12:35 am (UTC)
Thanks, Kat! Yeah, but they have such an unique holiday celebration, I had to get it all in there. XD
Jan. 18th, 2017 11:14 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, Kira! Yup!
Jan. 18th, 2017 11:19 pm (UTC)
*nods* :D
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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