This morning my son got an email from one of his American cousins asking what he would be for Halloween this year, and he had to write back saying Halloween isn't really celebrated the same in Germany as in the US. Germans do know about Halloween from American TV shows and movies, but they don't know exactly what it is to go trick-or-treating. There are a few Halloween parties at bars and restaurants, and my son was once invited to a Halloween party by a classmate where the kids wore costumes and played games, but it was in the afternoon and they didn't go door to door collecting candy.
A few people have put pumpkins out, but it's more for a fall decoration than for Halloween. I've only seen one pumpkin carved into a Jack-o-Lantern this year, and I've never seen one with a candle in it.
My Austrian in-laws mentioned that once they had three trick-or-treaters come by, but that was a few years ago. Sine my in-laws live in a small village, I'm assuming it was one mother with her kids who saw it on TV and wanted to try it.
In Germany and Austria the day after Halloween, All Saints Day, is much more of a holiday. Traditionally you visit the cemetery to clean off graves of deceased relatives, and leave flowers or candles. This is a slightly dying tradition though. As a child, my husband always went to the cemetery on All Saints Day with his parents, but my nephews only occasionally go with my brother-in-law.
So if you're dressing up for Halloween, I hope you have a great time! My son always has no school the last week of October, so we'll be traveling next week. Please let me know if there's anything you'd like to know about life in Germany, or about self-publishing a book. I'd love to hear from you!
See more tips and information at www.jexbo.com!
• Do Work in Advance.
First, try to work ahead as much as possible, because you never know what’s going to come up. Someone could become ill, you could have an unexpected project to work on, or you could just need a break. If you have things done in advance, these events shouldn’t disrupt your current deadlines and activities.
Another thing to do is figure out what household jobs you can delegate to other family members. Even very young children can sort laundry to be washed, set the table and make their own beds. Set up a schedule, and post it where all of your family members can see what they’re expected to do to help.
• Find a Good Work Time.
Find a time when you can work uninterrupted to get critical things done. If your children are school-aged, work while they’re in school. If your children are very young, work during their naptime. If those aren’t options, either get up a little earlier, or go to bed a little later, and do what you can while the house is quiet.
• Keep a Schedule.
Keep a written schedule that includes both work and household information together in one place. Don’t forget to note all school projects, birthdays and work commitments. Go over the list on Sunday afternoon so you have a head’s up for the coming week.
Running a business and a household does not need to be difficult if you take some time to get organized and create a schedule that works for you!
Need more help with running your business? Check out these sites:
And if you need help selling your self-published book, or finding the perfect gift for someone, please write to me here or at www.jexbo.com. I’d love to hear from you!
Obviously, I’ll recommend using my site, http://www.jexbo.com/, as a place to sell your books first. There is no fee to list your book, you’ll be able to print off bookmarks that say, “Buy my book on http://www.jexbo.com/”, and there’s just a 5% charge of whatever you’ve sold each month.
Also, consider printing business cards with information about your book and passing them out. It’s much easier to carry around a pocket full of cards than several copies of your book.
Check out local community centers that have bulletin boards where you can pin up a copy of your card so people know how to get in touch with you about buying your book.
A slightly more expensive idea is find a book publicist who would promote your book for you. Make sure you agree in advance about the details though and ask questions like:
- Will the publicist receive a monthly fee or a percentage of the sales?
- Will the publicist arrange interviews for you?
- Will the publicist just do the publicity part, or will s/he also take care of selling the book for you?
Take the time to look at all the options available and your budget. Then, take action! When it all comes down to it, it’s going to be up to you to spread the word and sell your book!
For more tips and information on selling your self-published books, please write to me here or at http://www.jexbo.com/. I’m here to help!
• Make a list of everyone you need to buy presents for, and do your shopping early.
Then, once you purchase the presents, wrap them and put labels on them immediately. I set aside a container for presents and keep the list taped to it, so I know at a glance what I still have to do.
• Make a meal list in advance.
If you’re going to be hosting a meal, put together a folder with the recipes you’ll need and a corresponding grocery list. Then, when it’s time to go shopping for the ingredients, you’ll be able to see exactly what you have to purchase.
If you don’t want the bother of making everything from scratch, keep a list of restaurants and companies that do a “take-out” meal service you can pick up the morning of your party - anything from your local Boston Market to a catering company you’ve enjoyed in the past.
• Start a “master schedule.”
Write down everything you need to do throughout the holidays, and keep this schedule handy in a central place, such as on the refrigerator. If you’re invited to someone’s house, include all the details on the schedule. This way if you have to cancel, you won’t have to look for the invitation to find a phone number.
The holidays can be a very stressful time of year, but the more you have done in advance, the more time you’ll have to relax and enjoy the festivities!
And if you are looking for a unique, holiday gift, check out all the great books at www.jexbo.com!
One small difference is there are strict laws controlling the size of signs on the street. We have very few billboards since they are considered a distraction. Instead we have lots of posters that are the size of sandwich-board signs. Starting about a month before the elections you see a poster about every twenty feet on the streets.
Most of the posters say the same things that politicians the world over say: More Job Security, More Rights to the Citizens, Less Government Control. I only saw one that as a foreigner living here I found offensive: "Multi Kulti? Nein, Danke." This translates to "Multi-cultured? No, thanks." Obviously some party doesn't like foreigners.
Voting itself is also similar to voting in the US. You go to the nearby school or library, check in at a table surrounded by thirty people working there, head back to the two or three voting booths, and make your choices on a ballot.
I have never voted here in Stuttgart, but when I lived in Frankfurt, all foreigners were allowed to vote for someone to represent them. Voting in a German election was very interesting for me and my Austrian husband, unfortunately we never learned what the foreigner representative did, or if it helped us.
Anyway, it's been nearly a week since the election and most of the signs are down and things are getting back to normal. I'm not sure when the next round of elections will be, but I've had enough for awhile.
Please let me know if you have any questions about life in Germany, or if you have any questions about selling a self-published book! Feel free to write to me here or at www.jexbo.com. Thanks!