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Mama, you goofy, that’s someone who knows everything about dinosaurs.

Mama, you goofy, that’s someone who knows everything about dinosaurs.

I don’t care, I thought. We could have done that too! Now we had a quarter of an hour underpants dialogue, completely without success! column "Of ordinary Madness": Of the hurdles and burdens of parenthood Tyrannosaurus, ick hear you trap: Who started the dinosaur craze? column "Of ordinary Madness": What would the tooth fairy say? Mighty Crystal: My Slalom for the Damn Sugar

The teacher looks at me slightly reproachfully

I rush them both out of the house. At the last moment we reach the school. The doorbell is already ringing when I push my daughter into class. The teacher gives me a slightly reproachful look. I’m fully charged and want to call out to her and everyone else: "My son didn’t want to put on fresh underpants, damn it !!! Doesn’t anyone understand that ?!" Instead, I put on a provisional smile, rush on to the daycare and then to the editorial office. The smile crumbles, I straighten it up again, sneak into the session and try to compensate for my unreliability with a clever question: "Does Seehofer actually have children?" and look into completely confused faces …

Larissa Koch is an editor at and has two children aged five and seven. In her column "Of ordinary Madness" it regularly describes what parents must or may go through – depending on the situation. 

Year after year, millions of people want to exchange their Christmas gifts after the long holidays. If you are there too, you have to observe some framework conditions and above all be quick.

Advent, Advent … That belongs to a contemplative pre-Christmas season
Photo series with 10 pictures

Be grateful!

Everyone has come across a failed Christmas present at some point – be it the oversized sweater from their grandparents or a CD from a band that they might have liked five years ago. In order not to trample on the original meaning of Christmas, you should always show gratitude for every gift – after all, even behind unsuitable objects there are often love, expenditure of time and money. However, there is nothing against exchanging a totally unsuitable Christmas present after the holidays in order to make yourself happy. (Terrible Presents: How To Get Rid Of Them After Christmas)

The thing with the receipt

First things first: If you want to exchange your Christmas gifts, you will need proof of purchase – whether online or in a store. In theory, an exchange without a receipt is also possible, but in practice it is tedious to “prove” before the seller. The safest way is to obtain the original receipt: If you want to exchange your Christmas present, the giver will very likely find out about it. In the process, you should carefully explain why you want to exchange the gift so as not to hurt feelings. (Just pass on unwanted gifts?)

What do I give him ?: Five presents for men that are sure to be well received Tips for X-Mas shopping: ten great gift ideas for women For the run up to Christmas: Advent calendars for adults Nostalgic to hip: Wrapping gifts nicely – ideas for Christmas

Exchanging Christmas presents: your right

If the gift was purchased by mail order, it can be returned within 14 days of the date of purchase without giving a reason. Some mail order companies now also offer a 30 or even 60 day right of return as a voluntary service. In the shop, on the other hand, the dealer is not obliged to make an exchange, but usually does so out of goodwill. Please note: You are not entitled to a payment of the purchase amount – you can almost always choose something different for the respective euro value.

Vacation in Sicily. There is orange juice at the buffet. At least it says there. Tastes sweet like syrup. It’s syrup – with water. In the land of the orange export world champion. Uh! Croissant with “pistachio filling”. There’s no pistachio in it. It is sugar paste with turquoise coloring. My daughter grabbed one and the “juice”. Then a piece of cake with powdered sugar on it. Sugar shock.

Larissa Koch

describes in her column the pitfalls of everyday life as a parent

There is nothing to evade except rusks. I capitulate. Suddenly two plump Sicilian mums come dancing to our table and head straight for my “Bambina”, pinch her cheeks with delight, open a large cookie jar and hold it under the starved child’s nose.

I capitulate again, but with presence of mind I grab the “pistachio” croissant and stuff it into my empty coffee cup. Quickly put a napkin over it. It’s already forgotten. Mitigation. I thought. Shortly afterwards, while shopping, the friendly seller leans over behind the fresh food counter and whistles for my Bambina – chocolate rolls. Free. “Grace.” Many thanks too! Does it say on my child: “Give him sugar, otherwise there is a risk of collapse!”?

Back in Germany. Grandma is visiting. First of all there are surprise eggs. “It’s just an exception!” “Oh yeah?” School: The religion teacher is playing a game. There are sweets as a reward. Every time. You can’t go without it anymore. Then bike shop. Reach into the candy jar that stands there for the customers, generously filled. I say: “No”, not now!" Yet again.

Children’s birthdays, handicraft afternoons, carnival gymnastics, icebergs in summer, St. Nicholas, Advent calendars, Christmas parties, just something sweet in between. Exception? Only today? Nonsense! We are trapped. We adults know that. The little ones just keep hearing “No”, they live in a regulated land of milk and honey, in which their parents constantly have to ban sugar. Why do children and sweets form a pair of terms in our society? Post war legacy. Turning down inheritance is not possible.

How do you counter it? I dont know. Not at all. I plop down on the sofa and dip my teaspoon into a Nutella glass.

Larissa Koch is an editor at and has two children aged five and seven. In her column "Of ordinary Madness" it regularly describes what parents must or may go through – depending on the situation. 

My son is into dinosaurs. Like all guys. He’s already through the fire brigade, police and knights. It’s called the child revolution, a social worker told me the other day. But how come? Somebody must have started with the prehistoric animal fan base.

Larissa Koch

describes in her column the pitfalls of everyday life as a parent

In any case, it wasn’t me! I would never dream of telling my son anything about the Prontosaurus. I don’t know what either. Still: dinosaur fever! When and where was the big bang of the dinosaur craze? The girls from daycare were certainly not. You can’t lure them with a triceratops from behind the stove, and certainly not from the doll’s corner. It must have been another boy whose big brother also loved dinosaurs. But why on earth did DER love these giants and then suddenly stop from one day to the next, for example to turn to pirates? If you were to reset a five-year-old to the factory settings, he would definitely not be into dinosaurs – at least not all of them. 

You will not be able to solve the riddle, so you have to accept your fate that everything has to be stuck on, painted and discussed somehow with the primeval giants.

A carnivore with a terrible claw

"That’s a paleontologist" my son already explained, my son was only four, and pointed to a man who was standing around in a book about dinosaurs next to bone finds. "A please what ?!" I asked aghast. "Mama, you goofy, that’s someone who knows everything about dinosaurs. Why do not you know that?" he asked back, just as amazed. "Uh, good question" I replied meekly, wasting time, because I couldn’t think of anything better to do. "Look, this is a velociraptor" he continued his scientific exposition. "He’s a carnivore with a terrible claw." "Aha?!" I said, impressed, to pretend serious interest.

Who is actually extinct here?

I’m afraid I have to deal with these beings in more detail so that I don’t constantly get out of the prehistoric must-pot. Just recently, when he was with my parents and they asked me to pick him up earlier than planned because of a sudden death among friends. When I arrived he said to me: "Mom, grandma and grandpa are very sad because a very, very good friend of theirs has died out." I had to pull myself together extremely, meandering back and forth somewhere between sympathy and a fit of laughter and said in a concentrated manner, appropriate to the seriousness of the situation: "Yes i know this is bad. Unfortunately she died of an illness". "Extinct!" he emphasized again. And yeah damn it! He’s absolutely right, of course: it was definitely the last of its kind.

Larissa Koch is an editor at and has two children aged five and seven. In her column "Of ordinary Madness" it regularly describes what parents must or may go through – depending on the situation. 

The plan for the Carnival Monday parade is in place, but you are still missing an idea for a costume? The classics like Indian, cowboy, clown or pilot always work, of course. But some people are looking for new ideas. Which carnival costumes are trendy this year?

Trend costumes for Carnival 2018

Photo series with 8 pictures

Colorful, flashy, creative: the costumes can be freaky at carnival. The only important thing is that you feel comfortable. After all, the fifth season can only be enjoyed if the outfit suits you.

Angela Merkel and Donald Trump

Anyone who deals with current topics from society, politics and film should find inspiration quickly. One example is the federal election and the subsequent negotiations. "Many will dress up as Angela Merkel" says Klaus Heimann from the festival committee Berlin Carnival.

But not only the Chancellor and other German politicians will poke fun at many a jerk. US President Donald Trump will also be frequently on the streets – more than a year after taking office.

Movie heroes

Films also provide costume ideas – regardless of whether they are animated or not. Hollywood superheroes are now classics. The ice queen is currently in vogue – especially among young girls. Heroes from current films are also particularly popular – that’s why this year is "Stars Wars" will be a big topic again, says Björn Lindert from Deiters costume trade.

Fur costumes

The unicorn made its first appearance as a trend mythical creature in 2017. It will be a topic again in 2018, says Frank Dohmen from the costume trade Karnevalswierts in Würselen.

Full body suits help against freezing temperatures. So many cookie monsters will be out and about on the streets. Fur costumes are also popular, explains Dohmen. They are also perfect when the weather is not playing along and you want to defy the cold.

The popular 1970s and 1980s are experiencing a comeback this season: shoulder pads, flashy colors and the mullet for men are a must. So-called are also popular "Carry-Me"-Costumes. "These are costumes that look as if you are being carried on your shoulders by a dwarf, monkey or something similar" explains Lindert.

Costumes for couples and groups

Couples can look for a common motto.

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