Home Discover Luxembourg Meredith’s Outtakes: Mistletoe and Whine

Meredith’s Outtakes: Mistletoe and Whine

by Meredith Moss

After three or four interesting Christmases, Meredith Moss shares with us how she celebrates the Luxembourgish way. She’s been skating at Kneudler, she’s eaten a gromperekichelcher and even ordered the tree. But can she embrace the Housécker?

Christmas is celebrated in our household with great pomp and grandeur, and the added touch of mania. Some years, the decorations go up in October but this time we are dangerously behind schedule. After last year’s castrated bird debacle, I told myself working out the timings of this holiday would be different…

Reasons to be Vegan

You see, last year I was a tiny bit behind when it came to ordering the Christmas fowl and by the time I got to Cactus they had a pygmy variety of turkey that, at best, might feed a single hungry toddler. I had Sweet British Pete’s (SBP) parents over from London and while they are small humble people, I was determined to pull off a traditional dinner with all the fixings. Truth be told, they’d probably be happier watching the Queen’s speech and eating a ready meal, but to me, this would be all too easy. They are aware of my inability to clean and so are the ones left scouring pots while I curse that it’s impossible to manage the timings so all sides will be ready at once and where the hell is the mashed potato smasher thingy?!


Long story short, I went to four grocery stores and came home with a castrated rooster. Photo: Kapa65/pixabay

Upon doing further research, I learned that this bird, a capon (from Latin caponem, dontcha know) achieves its rather hefty price tag because it has to be force fed. If you ever needed a reason to go vegan, just Wiki the process. Note to reader: It will not get you in the festive mood and will instead make everyone a bit nervous while eating the final product.

The yin and yang of Luxembourgish Christmas

All my parenting books say consistency is important when rearing young humans. This seems to be especially true when celebrating major events.

You know you aren’t going to be winning any parenting awards when you realise you totally missed Christmas.

I don’t mean the one that you grew up celebrating on the 25th. That’s one you won’t easily forget no matter where you find yourself in the world. I’m talking about the day which is centred around the visit by the mysterious man who wears a bishop’s mitre rather than a floppy red hat and looks like the Pope if he grew a very long beard.

When your kid comes back from school and asks why he didn’t wake up to find sweets in his slippers like all the other kids in his class, the answer is not ‘Because you don’t have slippers! You should definitely invest in some slippers!

So this year, I not only bought tiny man slippers, I also bought tickets for the Saint Nicolas train at Fond-de-Gras. After accidentally backing into what might or might not have been a headstone (there’s a cemetery dangerously located across the street from where the train departs), I ran in the pissing rain, holding two rather large infants to the very last car and spent the next half hour trying to distract the toddler from observing the terrifying hairy figure waddling way too slowly down the aisle.


Saint Nicholas and Housecker

Kleeschen is the Luxembourgish Saint Nicolas, giving away treats to children. The Housecker holds switches to beat naughty kids with. It’s a ying-yang relationship.

This was not SBP. This was a Luxembourgish character called the Housécker, who was created to keep children good at this festive time and to haunt my dreams. His reign of terror on the train is extra traumatic if your child happens to have a nut allergy, as he hands out whole peanuts still in their shells, which I thought was a nice personal touch.
I have heard this train is quaint and beautifully restored but I noticed none of it as I was saving up the description of this character for my sister. (She thought I was being dramatic so I sent a photo. Ever confident in my parenting, her text back read ‘Dear God! WTF? Did you seriously take your kids on an adults only event and are now trying to pass it off as European Halloween?!’ Le sigh).

Ice Skating

It goes without saying that I live a rather dangerous life. This is mainly due to overall poor judgement but also because I cannot walk in heels. After a near death experience in Louboutins at a London nightclub which had me luging down 12 stairs on my chin, you’d struggle to find a pair of non-athletic sporty-ish shoes in my closet. But whilst I fully accept I cannot walk in heels, I cannot bear the thought of telling my boys that, amongst other recreational activities which I flat-out refuse to do, momma doesn’t ice skate. Onwards to Kneudler!

My tip for surviving, nay, actually enjoying this involves copious amounts of gluhwein. Strapping on a rather thin blade of metal, I pushed that awkward orange seal thing and could believe that I was actually not the biggest monstrosity on the ice. I found myself muttering ‘Good God, the talent level of these skaters was simply appalling. I recall last year the skaters were significantly more capable!’

My kid might have nervously pointed out that I ran over a few fourteen-year-old girls with the plastic marine mammal. A note to them: once this 38-year-old train of Yuletide cheer gets going, there’s no stopping her, so if you pause on the ice to have a natter with your girlfriend, you are pretty much signing your own death warrant.

One herniated disc later, we are ready to purchase our tree! Come hell or high water, this tree will be in my living room before December 1st. I have 48 hours and I am fairly confident this will be a non-anxiety inducing event. Wish me and (my ever-patient family) the best of Christmas luck.

Featured Photo: Tina Pace

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1 comment

Neha 12th December 2017 - 3:00 pm

Hilarious & yet so true!
Well written Meredith ?


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