I had a weekend full of Christmas fun! The celebrations may look different than they do in the States, but we are celebrating Swiss style. Of course, there are some things from home that I have to maintain, and one of those is wrapping presents! I brought so much Christmas wrapping paper with me when I moved here for fear that I wouldn’t be able to find any. Of course, there’s plenty of wrapping paper here, but not nearly as adorable as what I used to buy at Target. On Saturday morning, I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” while wrapping Christmas presents. I LOVE to wrap!
In the afternoon, I went out to buy snowshoes. A friend notified me of a big sale at one of the sporting good stores in town. There really aren’t very many sales here, so I couldn’t say no to -33%! As a bonus, I got to enjoy some carolers performing in the shopping centre.
In order to be prepared for any and all winter sports, I decided it was also time to rent skis for the season. Two of my friends are committed to learning / re-learning to ski this winter. AND…I got really ambitious and purchased magnetic anti-theft ski racks for the roof of my car, so we don’t have to depend on the Nestle Ski Club every time we want to ski this year. I have no idea how they work (as in, how can they be anti-theft when they’re only magnetic?! and how do they not fly off the car when driving down the highway?!), but we’ll figure that out soon enough when we’re ready to hit the slopes! Now, we just need more snow!
After buying all that gear and lugging it home, it was time for an evening of Christmas fun! We headed to the Montreux Christmas Market for some food and vin chaud. I had some good eats last year, but this year, my friend introduced me to what we called “Swiss Mac & Cheese.” It was yummy, and yes, they serve it out of this huge vat!
We walked through the market, which was bursting with people. As we neared the end, we stepped out of the crowds to enjoy a drink and some “Christmas balls” (better known as doughnuts). I noticed that people seemed to be lining the street across from us and asked my friends if they knew why. Turns out, a parade was about to start. We had no idea, but we had a great spot right next to the road! We decided to stay for a few minutes to see what it was about, and I’m so glad we did! The most bizarre combination of things went by for probably an hour. I laughed so hard at most of it, and I tried to document as much of it as I could, so you could experience the ridiculousness, too. Oh Switzerland, you never cease to amaze me.
[A proper Swiss parade needs to start with cowbells. The bigger, the better.]
[Arguably, the best part of the parade…a woman we assumed to be a tourist who was standing in the middle of the parade route staring at her phone than up at the street around her. Perhaps she was expecting the Montreux Christmas Markets to look differently?]
[A band dressed like creepy butterflies…obviously.]
[The first of many 4-wheelers and tractors]
[A float for Chateau de Chillon – the castle located in Montreux]
[A child riding on a pony…]
[A woman riding a horse…]
[And everyone wearing costumes from the middle ages]
[The next group was a collection of construction or utility workers. They were literally wheeling their tools and supplies down the street. The final thing they were dragging along as part of their display was a garbage can…with a kid inside!]
[For a moment, I thought I was in Colonial Williamsburg]
[A cross between the Michelin man, Casper the ghost, and a really big lightbulb]
[Thomy Mustard, anyone?]
[The first of FOUR Santa’s. The kids must have been so confused! What happened to Santa being the grand finale?!]
[And I forgot to mention…he was riding on a forklift!]
[Annnddd…there was a display of Christmas trees behind]
[And as if that weren’t outrageous enough, there were gymnasts performing on the back of the float, too…and an inflatable Santa for good measure]
[We’ll just go ahead and dress everyone as Santa…men, women, and children]
[Is this funicular float in honor of the re-opening of the Vevey funi?!]
[And what’s a funicular without dragging kids on sleds behind?]
[More Santas…this time playing in a band]
[Santa #2…and he’s taking up an offering]
[And being followed by women carrying umbrellas with tinsel, which is normal to do when it’s not raining]
[More tractors. I warned you!]
[This time, dragging white Christmas trees behind]
[A tractor with tinsel is hard to beat]
[ESPECIALLY when it’s dragging a boat behind!]
[A tractor dragging a group of musicians behind is the best kind of tractor]
[I’m still not sure why this giant face was parading on top of the tractor]
[Proof that we were there witnessing all of these shenanigans]
[Dancing women on stilts painted white with blue lights in their hair…typical Saturday night]
[They don’t look very excited for the Reindeer Games]
[A forest of people dressed up like Christmas trees]
[Santa #3 (I think) is ready for take off]
[Selfies with Santa #3, who’s totally posing in the background]
[Because it makes sense to put the three wisemen on the back of the Green Swan float…]
[These glowing creatures were downright weird]
After taking in all of the outrageous elements of the parade, we headed to a Christmas party at a friend’s place. We found these great antlers, which obviously required a picture.
Every year my mama throws a Christmas Open House. She’s been preparing all week and was so excited. I woke up on Saturday and decided to have some fun Christmas flowers delivered to her. She was SO surprised! Mission accomplished. (And can you tell how much she loves gingerbread men?!)
Bright and early on Sunday, I headed to church to help set up for an apero to be held after the service. The theme of the week was “Love Lausanne,” and the church had the opportunity to make a large donation to a parents’ home in Lausanne that provides respite for families with children in the hospital. It was such an exciting morning and so sweet to have some of the C3 children give the donation to the directors. I love the heart my church has for the city of Lausanne.
And because I can never get enough of Christmas, I went to the church down the street from my apartment in Vevey to see a friend perform with her choir on Sunday evening. So many lovely Christmas carols. I actually thought it was really interesting that they made a point to reflect on a unique Christmas 100 years ago. It was the first Christmas of WWI in 1914, and an unofficial ceasefire took place on Christmas Day between the soldiers. I am continuously amazed at how defining the World Wars are in the history of Europe.
Today, I arrived home from work to find 14 Christmas cards in my mailbox! I am definitely feeling the love all the way across the pond!
I love that there are 10 days of merriment left to enjoy! I will be singing “Fa La La La La La La La La” for the rest of the week!