The two volunteers of CID, Kevin from America and Rosalie from Germany wrote their experiences of the Christmas time in Macedonia and compared it with the way they are celebrating at home.

This is the way Kevin usually celebrates Christmas:

First off, let me preface this by saying that although there are common celebrations for Christmas in America, it is different from family to family (depending on their particular religion).
Some general themes, or celebrations include:
Putting stockings over the fireplace (or elsewhere in the house)
The stockings are filled with smaller gifts (some families open these gifts on Christmas eve)
Kids believe that Santa Claus and his faithful reindeer visit every good little boy and girl on Christmas eve to deliver gifts while the kids sleep
Christmas music is played all over the radio, in households and in stores beginning in late November.
Most important overall, its time for friends and families to gather together and enjoy each other’s company.

Kevin Work

And here is Rosalies Christmas experience:

2012 was the first year for me that I didn‘t spend Christmastime in Germany (24th -26th December) at home with my family.
In my home, we traditionally spend the three days of Christmas together as a family.
On Christmas Eve (24th December) the food is very simple-“Kartoffelsalat“ -potato salat- is the traditional food for the night, when Jesus was born. Presents (of course brought by Santa Claus), cookies and hot wine complete the evening.

The following two days are holidays for everyone. Then the bigger celebration starts.
No one is in the streets, everyone is sitting in their family’s home enjoying the quiet time of Christmas to calm down from the stressful year.
But now I`m here, in Kumanovo, where Christmas starts after the new year, with big parties on the streets, traditional music and dancing people. One night before the Orthodox Christmas (after a lot of food and trying to find the coin in the bread), there was a big fire for everyone in the square in Kumanovo – of course with loud music and many people (…and don‘t forget the hot Rakija!).
The next day, CID organized a great Christmas Party for us, where we experienced the traditional food of Christmas in Macedonia. In Germany, for example, it is not unusual to eat meat on Christmas eve, but in Macedonia you are supposed to eat vegetarian meals.
All in all, it was a very nice experience to have a completely different Christmas without the family but with the friendly surrounding of CID and the international Volunteers.

Rosalie Beyer