Elena klaas (23) | Born in germany | living in amsterdam, the netherlands

“I can drive back after dinner,” I say to my brother, “because I don’t think I will want to drink anything. Right now, you should drive though, 'cause I'm pretty sure I’m still a little drunk.”

Last night was Christmas Eve - and in the Bavarian countryside that does not only mean a lot of food and family time. It is also the biggest party of the year in a village that is usually so sleepy, and so remote, no one in their right mind would want to set foot in it. Every year on Christmas, though, the village's only restaurant transforms into a club, complete with a bar exclusively dedicated to Strawberry-Limes and Jägermeister, and a reunion for all childhood friends who haven’t seen each other all year. So naturally, this is where I end up.

After a festive evening cooking an elaborate meal together with my mom and brother, the night really begins after midnight, with shots that everyone buys for everyone they haven’t seen in a while. And every year, after sleeping for roughly four hours and waking up with a strawberry-flavoured hangover on Christmas day, I curse myself. Luckily, my father is a man of tradition, and so the dish he serves us every year is my best hangover cure to date: goose roasted in the oven for hours, red cabbage with chestnuts, and “Kartoffelknödel” - huge potato dumplings with gravy. Somehow, the combination of sweet cabbage with salty gravy and heavy potato dumplings makes me feel better instantly. And as we chat away and watch the sun disappear behind the lake, I know that I would not want my Christmas to be any different.

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