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Germany

Who Needs Family When There's a Tree?

It seems that some Germans love to rock around the Christmas tree -- but without annoying relatives being there. A recent survey shows that Christmas trees are more essential to a good time than family.

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Even that post-turkey stroll is better with a tree than with distant relatives

Ahh … Christmas. The time of year when you welcome those far-flung relatives back into your life and forget the painful incidents of previous years such as your embarrassing uncle's annual drunken rendition of "I Saw Mother Kissing Santa Claus" while wearing comedy reindeer antlers.

It's the time when all that familial animosity can be forgotten and you and yours can congregate round the Christmas tree to belt out hymns and carols in an attempt to do your bit for peace on Earth.

For some Germans, however, that scenario is closer to hell on Earth than goodwill to all. According to a survey in Germany's Focus magazine, the tree may feature in most people's ideal Christmas celebration but the relatives gathered around it, well, you can forget them!

Family takes a back seat to the good ol' ta n n e n baum

Weihnachts- und Neujahrswunsch von Albertz

Christmas with the dogs -- but without the family

The survey found that 75 percent of Germans could not bear to be without their beloved tannenbaum at Christmas but only 65 percent said that spending time with relatives was essential to enjoying the festive period.

And 3 percent of the 1,014 people polled about attitudes to Christmas gave a massive "bah, humbug!" to the whole thing and said that they could do without Christmas full stop.

Elsewhere in the poll, a materially obsessed 42 percent said Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without presents, while 57 percent said that, after the tree, singing carols was the next most vital ingredient of a happy Yuletide.

Help is at ha n d for forgetful carol e n thusiasts

Weihnachtskonzert an der Frauenkirche

"How does it go again?"

That 57 percent will be happy to know that when it comes to that integral part of the celebrations, there should be no fear of looking stupid when the first few lines of "Jingle Bells" peters out in a muffled hum. Help is at hand for forgetful carol enthusiasts in the form of a free help line which provides song texts and musical notes on request.

If the delivery service won't ease that festive mental blockage in time to save face, then be prepared to have Doris Grassmugg or one of her colleagues sing at you down the phone from their office in Graz, Austria.

The company has around 12,000 songs available, so even the most obscure carol rendition stands a good chance of being saved.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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