|Home | First lady | Activities of Silvia Gašparovičová | Year 2010 | First Lady Silvia Gašparovičová prepares the traditional Christmas menu|
We met directly at the Presidential Palace. Mrs. Silvia Gašparovičová (69) has welcomed me with the refinement of a First Lady, with the natural elegance of a woman who represents her husband, the President of the Slovak Republic Ivan Gašparovič, but also with some human respect for everyone who submits her hand. In an interview for our magazine she let us look into the Christmas season, the privacy of the family of the head of state.
How do you prepare for Christmas? Do you feel the Christmas time at home?
- Christmas is one of the best holidays that are as elsewhere related to typical Christmas preparation and atmosphere, we have already lit up lights on the balconies, we light candles on the advent wreath and the decoration of the tree is waiting for us, which is always a sovereign work of my husband…
When do you decorate the tree?
- On the Christmas day or the day before. It’s such a habit from the past when our children were small and couldn´t see anything before. So we sent them out to play and my husband prepared the tree behind a covered window, so it was a surprise. The whole Christmas decorations he always liked to do and he didi it very prissily. It is his significant duty (laughs).
Do you have the habit of changing the decor of the tree, or do you have the same decorations every year? Do you take inspiration of what´s hot or are you in this respect conservative, faithful to tradition?
- There must always have been a Christmas tree (not a synthetic one) and one that is big up to the ceiling. When the children grew up, we had a smaller artificial one and the last years we have again returned to the living one. We put it elsewhere, also we modulate little ornaments. This Christmas the tree will be such as last year, in a blue finish. Little of the classics will always be there – gold or silver chains, now blue ones... We have a beautiful large carved wooden nativity scene with a little light.
You are already baked?
- I bake, although I still have a lot of responsibilities at this time. On our festive table we have gingerbread, a fruitcake, vanilla cones and a chocolate-walnut cake, which is a symbol of celebration for us, not only for Christmas but also of nameday and birthday. One of the grandsons is called Adam, so the cake must be there. I bake also cheese bread sticks, others I have already deleted from the menu because many sweets are not eated any more.
Christmas menu is a classical one, with carp and potato salad?
- Yes, in this we are traditional, we will have the mushroom soup, cabbage soup, of course a fried carp and the Slovak sour potato salad with onions.
And what about wafers?
- Even those we will have, it is such a traditional preparation of the Christmas festive dining. Wafers, garlic and honey are there.
Somewhere people tend to interpose money under the tablecloth so that the whole year should be plentiful in the family.
- I admit, we forgot this tradition from the beginning on (laughs).
What is the most important at Christmas for you?
- Christmas is a major religious holiday, in a spirit of love and peace and family togetherness. This we try to observe in our family. For us it is very rare, if we can meet as the whole family.
Who is with you at the Christmas dinner?
- We will eat the dinner with our children, daughter-in-law and grandsons. It’s always nice when we are all together, unfortunately, both parents of us are missing at the Christmas Eve table. Under the tree is beautiful when children, now grandchildren, expand to gifts. Although they have already grown up, still in their children’s eyes is the joy of Christmas gifts most visible.
Did they wrote letter to the Christ Child already?
- Yes and I was very amused. They have sent a Christ Child presentation via internet. There was a cell phone, even a royal cat and a box with a question mark, so we had to invent common with my husband a surprise (laughs).
Do you remember a gift that was unique or really bizarre?
- I come from a family with five children and when I was little, at Christmas we received mostly bits of clothing. Since I was the fourth girl I inherited things from sisters. But once I got for Christmas a new Slovak fur coat and I remember till today how I enjoyed it, that I have finally got something new! My husband and I also gave practical gifts. We enjoyed everything.
Does your husband have fantasy in the selection of gifts?
- I would say yes; who is not happy about a new sweater, jewelry, handbag or cosmetics? But now, clothes are rarely among the gifts as we have a little more complicated movement in the shopping centers. We do a pleasure with simpler gifts of cosmetics.
You go to the mountains after the holidays?
- We always went, especially when the children were with us; every year we have enjoyed snow and skiing.
Do you ski?
- Until recently yes, but now we go less to the mountains and do tourism only.
If you permit, could you please reveal the recipe how you keep yourself in such a great shape? It seems that you are the type of woman who will always act youthful ...
- I think that how a person looks, genes and lifestyle plays a substantial role. And also how is your position to life. I look always optimistic at things and I say that it is never so bad that it can not be worser. In everything bad is something good, so I try to address problems. In everything I try to see the positive and step forward. My life is still moving. I´m highly extracted with representative duties and daily work in the Office of the President. In addition, I have a lot of work in my foundation in the implementation of several projects to help disabled and sick people, but also schoolchildren, what I do not meet in talks or on websites of other First Ladies. I live often with other people’s pleasures but also problems and try to do something for them. This fills a man with positive energy.
You help others, mostly handicapped people. These things bring a totally different dimension, outlook on life to a man. Do you see it so?
- I often visit children with disabilities. That are usually deaf, blind children. Each handicap deprives children of something from full health and joy, but when I see them at social events – as they occur spontaneously joy at every opportunity, as they enjoyed the results in school or in art, then I feel like they aren´t missing anything. I experience among them mutual pleasure. I also support the sport of wheelchair dancers. Seeing as the wheelchair dancers in combined pairs screw up on the dance floor and enjoy it, it’s impressive and then I realize even more how the aid is important for such people.
It is probably easier to get sponsors for a good thing when you’re in the position of the First Lady ...
- You would wonder, but for me it’s also difficult. Still, this is valid: people who have less sooner they share it with others. Someone has a sense of humanity and charity, and someone not. Meanwhile, I always found some supporters of the foundation so we could pretty significant help people.
An interview for the magazine ´Plus jeden deň pre ženy´ on 16.12.2010