December 2012


Things I do not want to do in the next week, in Germany: Shop.

This year is an “Adam—allein zu Haus” kind of Christmas.

Translated in to English, that’s “Adam, alone at home”, a variation on the “Kevin—allein zu Haus” them that Americans know as “Home Alone”.

My plan is to avoid shopping after Saturday until after the Christmas holidays. If I could actually swing it, I would avoid shopping after Friday. This is because this year’s holiday calendar spells shopping disaster for Germany.

Unlike the States, supermarkets here are not open 24 hours a day and they are closed on Sundays. Plus the supermarkets actually close for the holidays.

This means that the supermarkets will be closed on Tuesday the 25th and Wednesday the 26th.

From there one must work backwards a bit. Most Germans have their big Christmas celebration on the 24th, which is Monday this year. Generally speaking shops will close no later than 2pm. I made the mistake of going to the grocery store on the 24th last year. Let me just say it was an unbelievable madhouse, with the queues to reach the cash register the longest I have ever seen in Germany.

I refuse to go shopping on the 24th. I value my sanity too much to endure that nightmare again.

As it happens, this year Sunday the 23rd is a shopping Sunday – authorities have decided that we are allowed to shop on special Sundays throughout the year, and while the last one (on December 9th) was a bust because of nasty weather (the two shops I popped into were empty), normally stores are pretty busy on shopping Sundays, with stores typically offering discounts of at least 10%. I’m pretty sure that the stores are going to be packed on Sunday, and I have no desire to descend into such a madhouse again.

Which leaves me to Saturday, the 22nd. I’m willing to predict that Saturday is going to be a typical Saturday, filled with people, like me, who realize that the stores are going to be madhouses on Sunday and Monday. Around 2 or 3 on Saturday afternoons, my local supermarket starts to get really busy – not as busy as December 24th busy, but enough that I try to avoid going shopping on Saturdays unless I have a true emergency.

This means that I would like to go shopping on Friday the 21st. Unfortunately for me, I cannot because of a constellation of pre-planned events.

Wish me luck – I’ll be dipping my foot in the stores Saturday.

I hope to come away with minimal damage to my psyche.

4 comments to Things I do not want to do in the next week, in Germany: Shop.

  • Also filled with dread on this….we’re traveling Saturday so are stuck with tomorrow or the 24th. Yuck.

  • Looks like it’s canned food from the gas station on the 26th for Adam!

  • CN Heidelberg – Friday is the answer to your question. Avoid supermarkets like the plague on Monday.

    Scott – Or I could go to McDonald’s….

  • Yes, McDonald’s, we’re here to serve (except the evening of Christmas Eve).

    But seriously, there may not be any 24/7 supermarkets here, but there are 24/6 supermarkets, even in Berlin. And Kaisers in Berlin Hauptbahnhof is open on Sundays and holidays. And if Berlin had a proper airport, I bet they’d have a 24/7 supermarket!