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This year was something special to me. My first Christmas Eve far, far away from home. I was very excited about getting to know a foreign celebrating tradition. christmas21The annual potluck dinner was planned for the 24th (the day we usually celebrate Christmas in Germany!). Everybody came together at 5pm and had some drinks. Then at about 6 pm we started the “Secret Santa” (an a little weird and merciless Canadian tradition The Secret Santa works as follows: everybody buys a little gift. Afterwards you distribute as many numbers as there are people. Then number one starts by unwrapping a random gift. BUT don’t consider this gift as yours it can and will be stolen from you!  The next player can either open a new gift or steal a previously opened gift. We had loads of awesome gifts: a backpack, some chocolate, a PTG t-shirt and the most popular gifts: a bottle of wine and some ice cream! Fortunately, I was the last one to pick a present. Therefore I got what I wanted: a beautiful lilac brooch (Yeah, sometimes I behave like a magpie: I want everything that is shiny jewellery). After everybody got what he or she wanted (or not), we started our famous potluck dinner. We had smoked salmon as appetizer and of course the traditional turkey with yams, hashed browns and some chicken as main course. christmas11The desert was prepared by us Germans: baked apples with Vanilla Sauce (although we called it “sorbet” because of its consistency). Additionally, we had some mousse au chocolat. I have to admit that we had a kind of hard time with our baked apples because Canadian supermarkets only seem to have salted butter. That’s probably the reason why our apples turned out to be a little brackish. Nevertheless, nobody left the table hungrily and some of the little participants even fell asleep at the table. christmas61We Germans planed to celebrate the 25t and 26th too, as we use to do it in Germany. We thought about making some Christmas cookies or “Plaetzchen”, how we call them in our home country. We collected recipes from our mothers and were definitely looking forward to some taste of Germany in our “temporary home”. So, there we were –bristling with anticipation- at Thrifty Foods realizing that this supermarket neither sells nor knows vanilla sugar. The only “Plaetzchen”-option without vanilla sugar was the so-called “choco crossies” out of cornflakes and chocolate. Turns out, nobody knew cooking chocolate either. “Hello, Christmas depression!!!!” I am exaggerating, of course. But to us it was kind of weird that such ordinary stuff as vanilla sugar and cooking chocolate couldn’t be bought at Thrifty’s. In particular because “Plaetzchen” are such a ‘must-eat” during Christmas time. Never mind, Canada, we will forgive you for that one time. But only because you produced “Nanaimo Bars”, Maple Syrup and Vancouver