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'Christmas Academy' teaches Germans yule rules

DPA/The Local · 16 Dec 2009, 10:59

Published: 16 Dec 2009 10:59 GMT+01:00

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This holiday season the city’s Volkshochschule, or community education centre, is offering Germany’s only workshops on how to properly celebrate Christmas. Ten courses during Advent with titles such as “Children’s Etiquette at the Banquet Table,” “Reading Stories Aloud For Parents,” and “Christmas Carol School,” are helping families bone up on their holiday basics ahead of the big day.

While children are seated at a restaurant with business coach Heike Falkenstein learning to hold their cutlery like little ladies and gentlemen, their parents watch reading instructor Thomas Vatheuer teach proper annunciation with a cork in his mouth.

“When one succeeds at an exciting reading of a nice story, one does something good for the whole family,” he said. “The most common mistake is the tempo – they must read more slowly.”

Father Peter Span learned that he and his children should be sitting up while reading aloud during the course.

“Now I know why we almost always fall asleep while reading aloud,” the 44-year-old said.

Meanwhile the children at the restaurant are treated to a three-course meal, throughout which they receive instructions on how to wipe their mouths, hold glasses, and sit up straight.

“I want to teach them that good behaviour, when one masters it, can also be fun,” Falkenstein said.

The school’s director said he hoped to reinvigorate a sense of Christmas tradition with the workshops.

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“It’s a fact that there is less togetherness of Christmas,” he said, adding that singing and eating together is a chance to bring families together. “And we want to bring children and youths away from their game consoles and computers.”

At the Christmas song course children learn more than just first verses of favourite tunes like “O Tannenbaum!”, instructor Anna-Maria Goerres-Caspers said. “Then they can teach their parents,” she added.

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Your comments about this article

13:01 December 16, 2009 by LancashireLad
Well that just says it all.

It's all about making a good impression.

Parents don't want to read like an orator, when I read to my kids I do it with *my* character and involvement - not somebody else's - it wouldn't be me. And as for table manners, depending on the age of the kids (are they still learning anyway?), is it not a reflection on the parents? Kids learn by copying don't they? Granted looking at my son doesn't look good for my to use my own argument, but he's 5 and we're getting there.
13:03 December 16, 2009 by becnal
Sheesh Don, think you'v egot a bit of anger inside that you need to let out. I guess that's what these comment boxes are for, eh?
16:48 December 16, 2009 by Wabit
The corner stones of correct table manners are :-

1) The tip of the Knife and Fork must never be higher than the hand that holds them !!!

2) Elbows must be tucked in to the side of the body and not flapping like some distressed Duck !!!

The rest will follow, subject to a suitable teacher....hmmm
09:32 December 17, 2009 by design
just what germans need more rules and order..
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