Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel

Small Words

We’re down to the last of our leaves up here in Kiel, and November is getting mischevious. There is always the sense up here that anything goes, and that is never more apparent than when you have 12 degrees a month out from Christmas. When is the drop coming? When does the winter coat come out? Are the north Germans going to be complaining into their hot gühwein at the Christmas Markets, that it isn’t cold enough for Christmas?

Christmas. I started writing about how it smells and feels, about the lights and roasted nuts, but somehow that felt silly in the face of this mess we’re in with bombs and guns and slaughter. And then I started writing about bombs and guns and slaughter, and somehow felt too small and unsure of which of the myriad paths to wander down with my little words. To talk about the need for a Christmas season of unity and warmth, of kindness, feels blithe, and as if we are shushing those who need to, and will, spend this Christmas angry and desperately sad. To talk about the magic of Christmas when for so, so many, it doesn’t exist, feels a little bit gross. But. To believe that this imbalance, this unfairness is any different to any other year, is equally as naive. So, do we employ that irritating word ‘mindful’ and try to do our bit, in our surrounds, to bring a little bit of the magic to those sorely in need of it? Well, yes. This year more than ever? Not necessarily. But without putting too finer a point on it, in Germany, where hundreds of thousands of refugees are in limbo, and when those bastards with their guns and their bombs are watching, waiting for fractures and frissures and hate to prove their sick little world view right – now, now, is the time to bring the magic.

They may believe in hate, but we don’t.





  1. anmarno

    18 November, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Yes, let’s not join the side of anger, fear, violence and ignorance but let’s keep doing our bit, big or small, to make the world a happier place… and yes, despite all the commercialization, Christmas as the festival of light, gifts, Weihnachtsplätzchen and cosy homes makes a lot of people happy, me and my teenage kids included. And somehow even the original story is becoming ever more poignant, a couple from the middle east looking for shelter!?!?

  2. Jim Holder

    18 November, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Liv, it’s often an awful world out there. In the end, there’s not much we can do as individuals about it. We can only manage our own immediate world — and count our blessings. Perhaps the one thing we can do is this: if we know somebody who’s alone or lonely during the holiday season, we should contact them and let them know that somebody cares about them. Maybe offer to meet them for coffee or lunch. Incredibly, according to our local coroner’s office, for suicides Christmas and New Year’s are their busiest times of the year. Nobody should be sad during Christmas, for it’s a time of life and hope.

  3. Dagmar Dolatschko

    20 November, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Thank you for those small words … in the bigger scheme of things, it’s really the small gestures that matter

  4. Mikaela

    24 November, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Beautifully said. Thank you for being a fellow adult who believes in the magic of Christmas, not as a religious institution, but as a time of year where we rest and acknowledge what we have around us and try and do a little more for those who have less.

    1. Liv

      24 November, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      It truly is the most magical time of year – beyond its religious roots, it absolutely is a time of cheer and sitting back and looking at what we have, what we have done, and what’s to come. I love it.

  5. Alyssa Dowler

    4 January, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Hi are you currently living in Kiel? I am an American teaching English here and would love to meetup at some point! I like on Holtenauer Strasse and could always use another friend 🙂

    1. Liv

      4 January, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Alyssa, yes I do live in Kiel! Send me an email

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