Every year around Christmas, when the snow starts falling (or not) and the barrels of mulled wine are brought up from the cellar, a group of people gathers in Munich, Germany, for a night of laughing, singing and, most importantly, collecting money for charity.
What started out as our family having a few friends over for a Christmas BBQ in the 1990s, has since developed into a much awaited event every festive season. It’s still always a BBQ; there are sausages in bread rolls with Ainsley’s BBQ sauce and fried onions to eat, nothing more and nothing less, and of course a big pot of “Feuerzangenbowle”, Germany’s famous punch.
To keep things merry, we amuse ourselves by singing Christmas carols, both German and English, and in the case of Silent Night, also in French, Spanish, Catalan, Gaelic and even Hawaiian.
In 2008 we had the idea to collect money for charity, which resulted in us “charging” each (adult) guest 10 euros in exchange for food, drink and lots of fun. The full sum was then donated to Antenne Bayern.
Two years later, our friend Virginia Newton told us about Global H2O and the first donation was made by the “Steiermarkstrasse Carol Singers” as we were then known.
Ever since then our family and our guests have been happy to donate each year’s proceedings to this excellent charity. Everyone is always very interested when we explain what we do and show them the pictures of Global H2O’s work. Of course the fact that we know exactly where the money goes is also a huge bonus point.
After a few years we moved to a new house but we still kept on caroling and collecting each year, raising more and more. Some new sponsors came on board, for example the local butcher who first donated a very generous sum by hiding an envelope in amongst the sausages.
So far, over the last six years, we have managed to raise 4,325 euros for Global H2O, and we are determined to continue this fun and worthwhile way of collecting money for the foreseeable future.
We have even managed to become international, with a couple of our guests joining us via Skype from Australia in past two years and paying their donation by bank transfer. All of our guests are always very generous, and we couldn’t do it without them. Of course the wine and beer helps a little as well, wink wink.
So even though some things about one of our favorite Christmas time traditions may have changed over the years (for example, the singing has moved inside as some of us need more light and warmth than they used to in younger years and we now have piano accompaniment from our good friend Klaus), the most important part has always stayed the same: Gathering with friends and family on a cold evening in December, eating and drinking good things, singing until our throats hurt and, in the process, collecting some money so that somewhere, in another part of the world, others might also enjoy the simple but sadly not always granted pleasure of sharing a clean and healthy drink.
We would like to thank Global H2O for the work they do and for allowing us to help with that work, so that our hearts might shine a little brighter and feel a little warmer as we seek that true happiness of humanity, found not only at Christmas, but every time of the year: The joy of helping each other.
Story written by Jenny Perryman