After a hearty Christmas dinner, and maybe a visit at the church (however you spend your Christmas day), there will most likely be a Bescherung.
That means that the whole family gathers around the Christmas tree and everyone opens their present. Die Bescherung is a noun, based on the verb bescheren.
Bescheren has its roots in the Middle High German word beschern, which means assign or impose. Historically, it was connected especially to God and fate.
Today’s notion of “giving presents to somebody” has been used since the 17th century. Back then it was connected to the belief that Christmas presents are Christ’s gifts, or rather divine gifts.
Bescherung is one of the interesting cases where a word can have two completely opposite meanings; based on the situation it is used in. If you use it as an excited question on Christmas it can have a very positive connotation, because it is connected to the joy of opening your presents.
If you, however, hear a German say “Da haben wir die Bescherung!” it is usually a way of describing a very unfortunate state of affairs. Examples for this are: “Everything went wrong, now everything is ruined and we don’t really know what to do anymore.”
Or even “I spilled something and made a huge mess.” Or even “My small child just peed itself and now everything is wet.” So be careful to use it right.
Wann haben wir Bescherung?
When do we open the presents?
Er bescherte mir ein wunderschönes Geschenk.
He gave me a wonderful present
Da haben wir die Bescherung!
There you are!
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This article was produced independently with support from Lingoda.