Season‘s Greetings 2007 from PDF Tools - The traditional chronicles of Swiss Christmas, Part 3

 The traditional chronicles of Swiss Christmas, Part 4 - Christmas Cookies

Xmas Lights à la Swiss

The Christmas story I would like to share with you this year deals with another Swiss novelty: Christmas lighting in Switzerland. Coming from Canada, I grew up with the North American tradition of hanging coloured lights outside the house at Christmastime. Quite often the trees are also lit up, and here and there you see a Santa Claus with his sled and reindeer. Here in Switzerland it is extremely difficult to find coloured lights – Christmas lights are almost exclusively small white lights. In the cities, for example Zurich, the lights hang down in strings over the main downtown street. Cables are strung high across the street, attached to the buildings on both sides. Strings of lights hang down from the cables, with a spacing of about 2m (6 feet) between strings. Every 10 meters or so (30 feet), you find the next cable with its strings of lights. This is done the entire length of the street, a good a half-mile long. When it is lit up at night, it looks like a massive netting of white lights shining over the entire street – an amazing sight!

Out in the country, Christmas lighting used to be restricted to lights in a few trees and maybe along the main street, with few or none on private homes. Some pine trees have lights strung around them, and really impressive are the few deciduous trees that are lit up. Strings of lights run from the trunk out to the end of all the branches, creating massive 3D light-trees.

As I said, there previously wasn’t much (or any) lighting on private houses. When we arrived 16 years ago, I had to search to find lights that I could string up around our balcony. I ended up purchasing lights meant for a tree, as there were no other outdoor lights available. This created a lot of talk in our small town, since our balcony faced the main street, and we were the only ones in the entire town (of 1000 people) that had our own Christmas lighting. Now I’m not going to suggest that I alone introduced outdoor Christmas lighting to houses to Switzerland, but each year more and more people have begun stringing white lights around their trees and houses, and hanging nets of white lights on the bushes. It’s a wonderful sight that can be enjoyed until January 6, when the lights are taken down again. Coloured lighting still hasn’t caught on yet, but I’m working on it!

I hope you have a chance to visit Switzerland at Christmas time and see the lighting in the cities and the country. It’s even more beautiful when there’s snow on the ground, and the entire landscape is a sea of white.

All of us at PDF Tools AG wish you, your family, and your friends a wonderful holiday season. We look forward to working together with you again in 2008.

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