Wednesday December 7th, 2016

“2x Christmas” Campaign

2x Christmas is a campaign asking people who has an excess of material goods to share their good fortune with people in need, in Switzerland and abroad. Last year’s campaign inspired donors to send in around 73,000 gift parcels by post.

2xchristmas

In general idea is that if you received something that you already had or didn’t like, you should pass it to other people who may need it more than you do. In particular, the organizer of this campaign welcomes:

  • Non-perishable foodstuffs such as pasta, rice, oil and tinned goods with a shelf life of at least six months
  • Toiletries such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste
  • School equipment such as stationery, crayons and exercise books for children
  • New children’s shoes

Please DO NOT donate clothes nor plush toys.

If you are interested to donate, you can:

  • drop your own parcel at any Post Office near you
  • buy a parcel online
  • have the post man come collect your parcel at home with pick@home
  • celebrate 2xChristams for the first time with coop@home*
  • send an SMS donation of chf25 (send text CHRISTMAS 25 to the number 464)

All parcels will be transported for free to SRC logistics centre in Wabern (Berne), where they are sorted and forwarded to those in need. Half of these donations will be distributed inside Switzerland as well as abroad (this year’s destination is Eastern Europe, mainly Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia Herzogovina and Modova.).

As for the ones distributed inside Switzerland, I read that these donations to safe houses in Switzerland help the staff to reduce grocery spending and allow them to use the money to treat the children in their care a rare visit to a circus or such. Bless them!

The «2 x Christmas» campaign starts on Saturday 24 December 2016 and will run until Saturday 7 January 2017.

*I couldn’t find more information regarding donation through coop@home, though it is stated on the official website. Perhaps it’s just too early and the information will be there when the donation time starts on 24th.

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Monday November 28th, 2016

St-Nicolas and Santa Claus/Father Christmas are Coming to Town – 2016 (Updated)

Here is the schedule that I could find so far. The second one has been a real favourite – especially for steam train lovers – so reserve the tickets early!

Santa Claus at “Bô Noël” Christmas Market in Lausanne

Under the arcs of the Grand Pont in the afternoon (13-18:00) of Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 24 November – 24 December 2016. There will be a kind of treasure hunting! (info). Update: I passed by the chalet on Saturday 26th and saw the Santa. I found he was just too young to play the part! But he was really friendly and spoke English too 🙂

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Thursday November 24th, 2016

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Cards (2016)

There are always a number of people that are difficult to give presents to. Gift vouchers work well in this case, but perhaps you want to give more meaningful ones than the regular store gift cards? Thankfully, there are gift cards that offers more than just a possibility to buy things. These listed below are my favorites for this year as I believe they offer much more than their face value.

Lausanne Marathon

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Have a runner to give to? The gift card for Lausanne Marathon 2017 may be the perfect choice. There are several  options between chf 15 – 77, depending on the race category, including kids’ races! You have to send an email to order the card. It will be posted to you in a sealed red envelope, with a payment slip in a larger envelope.

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Monday November 21st, 2016

Where to Buy Christmas Trees – in Lausanne and around

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LIVING TREES IN POTS

Ecosapin

For those who prefer not to chop a living tree, Ecosapin is here for you. The concept is simple, you get the tree delivered right to your door before the holiday and taken away after. The trees are kept alive in pots and they will be re-planted, and be re-used for the year after. Very convenient, but it’s pricey. Prices of trees include delivery but not pick up. For pick-up you will have to pay extra. Or, you can keep the tree and plant it in your garden.

Note that even in pots most Christmas trees do not do well indoor, so if your plan is to send them back to be replanted or to plant them in your garden, give them the best of care. 24heures ran this article 2 years ago stating that 20% of the returned trees couldn’t be replanted as they were in too bad condition (mostly left too dry)

Landi

The farmer shop Landi also offer trees in pots! This year the size is smaller though. You have to come and pick it up yourself. Here are what they have in their promotion for 2016:

landi-sapin2016

Migros Do-It

This is their offer for 2016:

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Saturday November 19th, 2016

Don’t drink and drive! Call Nez Rouge!

The holiday season may mean that you’ll be drinking more alcohol than usual. If you do, don’t take the risk to drive home. Take a taxi, or if you have to go home in your car, call Nez Rouge!

Nez Rouge is an association that offers to drive home persons who are not in the good condition to drive (due to excessive tiredness, alcohol, drugs, etc.). This FREE service is offered during the end-of-the-year holiday season. They will come to the place that you specify and drive you home – in your own car. Sometimes they even do better… I have read that they had also helped drive a man home in his boat! Apparently they made the best effort to find someone with a license to drive a boat and succeeded. I was (and still am) impressed by that story.

In case you need to use this service, here is the schedule:

  • Friday 2nd Dec and Saturday 3rd Dec 2016
  • Friday 9th Dec and Saturday 10th Dec 2016
  • From 16th Dec until 31st Dec 2016

And the centralized phone number: 0800 802 208

For more information and if you are interested to volunteer to be a driver, please refer to their website.

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Wednesday November 16th, 2016

Playmobil FunPark in Zirndorf, Germany

We visited this park in October 2016, however as of early November until later this month this park is closed. The outdoor part of the park will remain closed throughout winter and early spring, but the indoor part (HOB Center) will open between 26.11.2016 – 05.03.2017. It may be interesting to those who are going to this area around Christmas, but otherwise, if you would be coming from Switzerland, plan the trip only after the outdoor part re-open in spring!


playmobil2016-lm-front

I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to write about our holiday at Playmobil Funpark ever since we arrived back home in Switzerland in the middle of October. I’m glad I’m finally writing this, as I can’t wait to tell you our fantastic experiences. It’s still a wonder to me that this park is not well known in Switzerland, definitely not as much as Europa Park, Disneyland or Legoland, when it is soooo good. I wouldn’t know its existence if a friend who lived in Erlangen didn’t mention it a couple of years ago.

“I think I like this park better than Disneyland” – 8-y.o. daughter

Location and Access

This Playmobil FunPark is located in Zirndorf, Germany. If you have never heard of Zirndorf, it’s within Bavaria region, and the closest larger cities are Fürth and Nuremberg. We went there by trains, with ICE trains from Bern to Frankfurt (4h), spent overnight in Frankfurt and then the next day with ICE, S-train, and bus (total 3h) directly to the front gate of the FunPark. Google Map estimates that it takes 6-7h driving from Lausanne

On our first day we arrived in the early afternoon, and directly went inside the park (after a bag search at the gate). The second day we spent the entire day there, 9am-6pm. The entry ticket for autumn season was €9 per person (cheaper after 3pm).

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Tuesday November 8th, 2016

Where to Send Letters to Santa Claus / Father Christmas

An updated and re-posted from previous years, as I think I have many new readers who don’t know about this yet.


©SwissPost

Santa Claus actually got help from Swiss Post! So, just address it to “Santa Claus, North Pole” or “Father Christmas, North Pole” (or “Père Noël, Pôle Nord” if your kids write better in French) and mail it. Don’t forget to put your address there, of course. Last year 20,546 letters to Santa from kids in Switzerland got their replies and they came with small presents!

The reply from Santa even comes with a little gift and a special stamp from Bern-Bethlehem!

The 2014 edition:

pere-noel-lettre-2014

and the little gift included inside – hand warmer! (Thanks Megan for the photos)

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And the 2015 edition:

A card from Père Noël with a special stamp on the envelope…

lettersanta-2015

Included inside: a 3D Christmas-home puzzle!

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Thank you Swiss Post for making our holiday merrier and brighter with this wonderful service!

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Monday November 7th, 2016

Round Up (American) Thanksgiving Post – 2016

thanksgiving

Here’s some info regarding Thanksgiving food and events in Lausanne and around. Hope they’ll be useful for those of you celebrating.

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Friday November 4th, 2016

The 2016 Christmas Stamps Coming Soon!

I know we’re still in the first week of November. But November and December are usually very busy in our household, so that I prefer to start early with Christmas preparation. Don’t worry, it’s not about cookies or decorations yet, but about stamps.

As the last 7 years, this year we will again be sending our end-of-year holiday cards to close family and friends. I make it a habit to send them with holiday-themed stamps, as Swiss Post always issue special Christmas stamps in the beginning of November.

So yes, the Christmas 2016 stamps are already available to pre-order from the Swiss Post. However, I have to say I’m not excited with the designs this year. I found them way too simple (photo below), and cold… definitely not as festive as the previous years.

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Friday October 14th, 2016

Halloween Events in and around Lausanne – 2016

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Within the last few years Halloween has steadily become more and more popular in Switzerland. No wonder as it’s so much fun – and so sweet, literally!

Here are some Halloween events that I found around Lausanne:

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