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Bicultural Urbanite Brianna
An ode to Berlin's lockdown Christmas

A makeshift Glühwein stand in Covid-hit Berlin
A Vietnamese restaurant in Prenzlauer Berg selling Glühwein and other Christmas treats | © Brianna Summers

No markets, no parties, no nothing. This year Germans will celebrate a socially distanced Christmas during the country’s second lockdown. Inspired by recent events, I penned a Berliner version of a famous Christmas poem. Enjoy.

By Brianna Summers

‘Twas the month before Christmas

‘Twas the month before Christmas, when all through Berlin,
Sole households went walking, patience running thin.
For walking and cycling were all that remained,
The other activities were largely restrained.

The children were nestled all snugly at home,
Their playdates with friends took place over the phone.
The parents taught classes, slowly going insane,
And after lights out, red wine tempered the strain.

Yet babies and toddlers could still socialise,
For the Mayor of Berlin was indeed very wise.
While schools, gyms and sports clubs were all forced to close,
He kept childcare open to lessen our woes.

What a strange Advent, no markets around,
The squares all so empty…jingle bells? Not a sound.
No Grünkohl, no chestnuts, no bratwurst on grills,
No funfairs with teens enjoying cheap thrills.

But Berliners, they are an adaptable folk,
Every shop now sells Glühwein, that’s really no joke.
And so all around town, the latest hot trend,
Is to meet on the street with mulled wine and one friend.

Buy your gifts now or never, for as everyone knows,
Non-essential shops will be soon forced to close.
What to buy? Where to go? Will we make it in time?
This year’s socks, cards and booze will be ordered online.

But for now, malls are open, fairy lights on display,
And faces with masks shuffle in from the grey.
No browsing, keep moving, please pay with a card.
Remember before when this wasn’t so hard?

And as Christmas approaches, it’s time to decide,
Which guests to invite to our party of five.
No more big dinners with families extended,
Our normal traditions have all been upended.

So we dream of vaccines and stream movies nonstop,
Get our goose home delivered to avoid the shop,
And send you our greetings, so cheerful and bright,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Bar selling Glühwein-to-go in Berlin Bar selling Glühwein-to-go. The usual rules apply: Masks are mandatory, maximum five people from two households, keep two metres apart, don’t hang around the bar or form groups | © Brianna Summers