555 Christmas parcels have been packed for seafarers by the full-time and volunteer staff of the German Seamen’s Mission in Lübeck together with station manager Bärbel Reichelt. During Advent and Christmas Eve, they distribute the gifts on the ships in the ports of Lübeck and bring great joy, as many seafarers will not be at home for Christmas.

The eyes of Captain Jan Knip’s crew light up when Bärbel Reichelt comes on board the “Bore Sea” and hands over the red-wrapped presents. “How nice of you to come. We were really looking forward to it.” A small gift, a small gift for people who usually remain invisible on board ships and yet transport 90 percent of all goods worldwide. “It’s nice to give the seafarers a little treat now and show them that we see you,” says Bärbel Reichelt.

As on most ships, the crew of the “Bore Sea” is international. The 18 sailors come from the Netherlands, Estonia, Ukraine and the Philippines. “It impresses me every time that we can celebrate Christmas together with such different nationalities and beliefs,” reports Captain Jan Knip. “We are an example of what the world could be like. That should be shown to all heads of government.”

Christmas unites the sailors on board their ships. And sometimes they tell each other about their different traditions. “A trip to the sauna is simply part of Christmas Eve,” reports Jan-Jeen Troma, who comes from the Netherlands and has lived in Finland for many years. Eero Heinmets from Estonia talks about an app for Christmas trees. There he can see in which part of the forest trees can be felled himself and he can also pay for them straight away. Marohen Alowin S. Santiago and Rhyan O. Sellave rave about the colorful fairy lights in the Philippines. From September to February, they bathe the shopping centers in flashing lights.

Christmas – a little sadness is mixed in with all the joy for some of the sailors. It’s the thought of not being at home for Christmas. Not being able to celebrate with the people who are important to you. And sometimes the time difference makes contact with your wife and children even more difficult. That’s why the two chefs Moises G. Bugayong and Jimmy B. Dosol have decided that it should be really nice on board the “Bore Sea”. They have been busy planning the festive meal for a long time. There will be sushi and the traditional suckling pig from the Philippines. “We won’t reveal any more,” they say. “It should remain a surprise.”