Die einzige Zeit, an die ich mich daran erinnern kann, Weihnachtsfest mit meinem Vater zu verbringen, ist Geschenkeöffnen.

The only time i can remember spending time with my father on Christmas is the opening of presents.

Can I also write it like this:

Die einzige Zeit, an welche ich erinnern kann, Weihnachtsfest mit meinem Vater zu verbringen, ist Geschenkenöffnen,


There are several issues with your example sentence. This makes understanding of what you wanted to say difficult, hence some of your issues are still preserved in the answers you already have.

  1. Time does in no way relate to the action of opening presents. Therefore you can not remember a time being an "opening of presents". You could however remember the time when you opened the presents as it was done in the answer given.

  2. When talking about opening of presents "auspacken" or even "aufmachen" are far more common than "öffnen", especially in the context of children as was indicated by you example.

  3. Building a compound noun from the converted verb "öffnen" and "Geschenke" is grammatically possible but rather unusual.

  4. When building a relative clause we should only have one object "an die/welche", or "daran", but not both of them.

  5. "Weihnachtsfest" needs an article.

  6. Remembrance asks for using past tense for the past experience.

To say what you presumably wanted to say we could reword it like e.g. the following:

Das Einzige, an was ich mich erinnern kann, wie ich das Weihnachtsfest mit meinem Vater verbracht hatte, ist das Auspacken von Geschenken.

A shorter version with almost the same meaning would be:

Weihnachten mit meinem Vater war immer nur Geschenke auspacken.

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  • I agree with almost everything. (2) may be right, but I would not have minded öffnen. With (3) I disagree. Geschenkeauspacken (regardless of whether that has to be written as one or two words ;) ) seems not at all unusual to me, especially in spoken German, since the alternative Auspacken der Geschenke seems more complicated. Even in written German one might want to use Geschenkeauspacken to underline that that is a special event (die Bescherung) and not just any unwrapping of any presents. – Carsten S Dec 31 '13 at 0:50
  • @CarstenSchultz: Unlike "Geschenkeauspacken" a compound "Geschenkeöffnen" is not really much used. Personally I'd leave them separate but I agree, it's a matter of taste rather than of grammar ;) – Takkat Dec 31 '13 at 8:30

Hm … sounds strange to me. The main problem with your suggested second clause is that to remember is reflexive in German, hence it's sich erinnern, so it should be an die ich mich erinnern kann. Nevertheless the sentence sounds strange anyway.

I'd suggest to use another relative clause and a genitive:

Die einzige Zeit, an die ich mich erinnern kann, die ich an Weihnachten mit meinem Vater verbracht habe, ist die des Geschenkeöffnens.

Or, I'd even go more freely and break it up into two sentences (which still have the same semantics, it's just another syntax):

Ich kann mich nur an eine einzige Zeit erinnern, die ich mit meinem Vater an Weihnachten verbracht habe: Die des Geschenkeöffnens.

I think that this makes the sentence a little less complicated in German.

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Ja, das geht.

Wobei die Zeit nicht stimmt und "erinnern" reflexiv ist. Das sollte heissen:

Die einzige Zeit, an welche ich mich erinnern kann, [das] Weihnachtsfest mit meinem Vater verbracht zu haben, ist [das] Geschenkenöffnen.

Aber irgendwie ist der ganze Satz schräge. Vielleicht trifft folgendes ja auch, das was du sagen willst:

Die einzige Zeit, an welche ich mich erinnern kann, während des Weihnachtsfestes mit meinem Vater verbracht zu haben, ist [das] Geschenkenöffnen.

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  • Das "verbracht zu haben" im zweiten Beispiel tönt falsch. Das kann ganz weg und der Satz vielleicht noch umgestellt werden. – PMF Dec 30 '13 at 22:07

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