Back in the 1980s, when I was living in Munich with my German husband, our two young sons would start asking around the end of November each year if we were going to celebrate Christmas the American way or German-style that year. With a very American mother (where tradition is concerned) and a German dad, they experienced the traditions of both countries.
Most years, we took a vote. I always feared that “German-style” would win since it offers the obvious advantage of allowing them to open all their presents on Christmas Eve rather than having to wait until the next morning. I felt the need each year to hold a lengthy oratory about the excitement of hanging the stockings by the chimney with care, setting out cookies and milk for Santa, listening all night for the prancing and pawing of reindeer hoofs and creeping down the stairs while the house was still dark to get a peek at Santa.