Monday, November 30, 2009
With Thanksgiving behind us the holiday season is finally officially opened and I have started to decorate the halls...
My youngest is this years Santa's helper...
Being in Germany reminded me again so much of my traditional decorations and even though I do not consider my decorating style traditional I am a traditionalist when it comes to all sorts of holiday decorations.
Christmas market in Nuernberg
Memories, collected toys and ornaments, handed down nutcrackers and smoking man, all that finds a place on mantel and window sills, tables and the piano. I am am not afraid of our private little kitschy stuff, the embroidered table clothes I would otherwise bypass, wooden little figurines and holiday china.
I pull all the stops and let go! I do enjoy wonderfully stylish decorations - elsewhere - but at home I am comfortable with the same every year, maybe some additional things, but nothing less! We come home and start a fire, my youngest (9) still builds villages and train sets from the old wooden toy box and we plan ahead when and what to shop for our comfort foods for Christmas, our Polish/German heritage is in full swing!
Between us we have Stollen and Makowiec (poppy seed pastry), borzsch, potato salad and Wiener sausages, carp and goose, red cabbage and potato dumplings. It's a long feast and we indulge without sorrow! There are Lebkuchen and Christmas cookies, chocolate, marzipan and nougat, chocolate Santa's and sugar angels...marshmallows get roasted and we get sticky stuff all over...
PS: I have been asked about the German 'tradition' of the Xmas - pickle and I can tell you I have never heard of it before I came to the United States...
So, according to my knowledge it's a rather ungrounded myth! Or a good sales trick...
Writing holiday mail is very special and the list gets longer every year! We write by hand and we do not print any mass greetings.
The children have Advent calenders, counting the days from December 1ST to the
We visit every year the holiday bazaar at the German School and enjoy good things from back home.
We see the decorations at the Botanical Garden in the Bronx with the train show and visit the holiday market on Union Square in New York City!
On December 6TH is St.Nikolas Day, everybody here at home gets a boot filled with sweets, the naughty ones a bunch of twigs with a piece of coal...we have all been very good!!!
We go to the Polish district in Brooklyn and bring home my husbands traditional treats.
Every Sunday 'til Christmas adds a light at the Advent wreath, a tradition I brought over from my home country Germany.
Being traditional we also do not get a tree until 10 days before Christmas, at home the tree was actually only decorated on Christmas Eve.
So we compromised for our enjoyment and I slowly add to my decorating until Christmas Eve.
We play music and sing, the kids usually perform one thing or other for us and we simply have ton's of fun!
There is one thing missing though: Usually our families are far back in Europe and apart from phone calls we spend the time by ourselves. We so miss them all, the older boys, our parents, my siblings and their families!
I just love this time of the year, romantic and warm, sensual and full of good cheer!
What's the holidays for you? A stylish affair? Family traditions, a jumble, a mix?
Reunions, large or a quiet dinner for two?
However it might be, Kwanza, Hannukah and Christmas: Here we come!!!
Here you can find a receipe for Gluehwein - mulled wine - a delicious drink for the wintertime! Just not for the children...they get hot choclate with wipped cream!
Enjoy those weeks and do not forget to take time out to relax!!!
To sit and smell the candles, hear the music and the message behind it all:
PEACE ON EARTH!
Pictures all from our own Christmas' past and present, Christkindel market in Nuernberg via google image