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Christmas with the Ratzinger brothers

December 29, 2011

Msgr. Georg Ratzinger has joined his brother, Pope Benedict XVI, for a Christmas celebration in Rome.

The elder Ratzinger reveals that he annually brings his brother the same small gift: a pocket planner. They enjoy eating German Christmas cookies and a few other family traditions--"just old men’s things," Msgr. Ratzinger reports. Most of all, they enjoy fine music.


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  • Posted by: ColmCille - Dec. 30, 2011 10:26 PM ET USA

    In some places (like England) gift giving, and Christmas celebration in general, is spread out through the entire 12 days of Christmas. I think that is how it ought to be. I dislike that Christmas in the U.S. begins with much commercial frenzy and frantic busyness just after Thanksgiving, and then is suddenly over on December 26th (usually with a sigh of relief).

  • Posted by: thorns and roses - Dec. 30, 2011 10:17 AM ET USA

    Coming from German ancestry myself, I have to say that "a pocket organizer" is just so .. so German! However, I love the Ratzinger brothers tradition of celebrating Epiphany and having that be the time to exchange gifts instead of Christmas morning. Would love for that tradition to catch on here in the USA.

  • Posted by: skladach - Dec. 29, 2011 11:25 AM ET USA

    In his recent book entitled "My Brother the Pope" (soon to appear in English), Msgr. Ratzinger describes the Yuletide customs of the Ratzinger brothers in recent years. "Naturally I travel to Rome for Christmas, but not until December 28, when the church celebrations of Christmas are over, and then I stay until January 10. So we spend the feast of the Epiphany together, which in Italy is celebrated even more than in Germany; there, unlike at home, it is the time for exchanging gifts."