Thursday, December 13, 2018

Just a Little Homesick for the Holidays



It’s not even December yet, and already the air rings with Christmas music. The neighbor’s front yard is stuffed with inflatable Christmassy characters, including a Transformer, a Minion, Snoopy, and a Storm Trooper. (Scratching my head, but to each his own.)

This will be my fifth Christmas in the U.S. since leaving Germany, and I still tear up when I hear the tinkling notes of Leise Rieselt der Schnee. How I miss the Weihnachtsmärkte, those wonderful German Christmas markets in the historical town center, with booths that look like little alpine cabins. I’d visit as many as possible each year, soaking up the atmosphere and the Glühwein, steaming mugs of sweet red wine spiced with cinnamon, anise, nutmeg and orange rind. There’s nothing like it to drive away the biting cold. Here’s a recipe to try at home; it makes your house smell marvelous! 

And the food! At a German Christmas market, you can choose from sizzling Bratwurst, a paper boat of mushrooms swimming in creamy garlic sauce, a flatbread hot from the wood-fired oven and topped with goat cheese, bacon and walnuts, or perhaps a Dampfnudel, a steaming, fluffy wheat bun filled with sweet cherry goo and topped with hot vanilla custard sauce. And don’t forget the candied almonds! All the delicious smells are drifting back to me on the winds of memory.



Here, we usually shop for gifts online or in overcrowded, tacky malls. (Oh dear, is my inner Grinch showing?) How I miss strolling through the booths where artisans sold all manner of hand-crafted gifts and decorations: carved wooden tree ornaments and nativity scenes, hand-made soap and candles, gingerbread and fruit cake (The German version is really delicious!), knit hats, scarves and gloves, jewelry made of semi-precious stones and silver, fluffy slippers made of sheepskin and fleece. One-stop shopping in a beautiful outdoor setting!



Sure, there were stores in Germany, big and small, offering the usual gift items, both useful and useless, but to get to these stores we strolled through the pedestrian zone in the historic city center, past beautiful historical buildings, past buskers of all sorts, past tents and booths where this church group or that civic club sold hot chocolate, more Glühwein, and homemade Christmas cookies made with ground hazelnuts and dipped in dark chocolate, or kissed with jam and powdered sugar. Here are a few recipes to try! 



And so, I wish you a holiday season steeped in whichever traditions are dear to you. May you enjoy the warmth of friends and family. Frohe Weihnachten! 



P.S. You know what makes an excellent Christmas present? A nice, juicy romance story–like this one!


Sadira Stone

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16 comments:

Hywela Lyn said...

What a lovely description of your Christmas markets, and the food sounds delicious. Here in the UK Christmas markets are becoming more and more popular - in fact we're going to one at a local Stately Home tomorrow. It's always very traditional with lots of crafts and food stalls - as you say, much nicer than crowded city stores. Sorry you're feeling homesick, but I can understand why - and I hope you have a very happy Christmas despite the 'Hiraeth' as we call homesickness in Wales!

Barbara Bettis said...

Oh, my. This sounds so delightful! I'd miss it too! Wish I could take in something like that. The idea of a Christmas market sounds wonderful.

Julie Howard said...

I’ve always wanted to see the German Christmas markets— I’ve heard so much about them that they are on my bucket list! Thank you for sharing your memories, photos and recipes.

Colleen DRiscoll said...

The markets and food in Germany sound like an experience to encounter. I especially love the different foods as my great-great grandparents came from Germany.

Tena Stetler said...

The markets sound wonderful. I enjoyed your descriptions and no wonder you miss them. Thanks for sharing and merry Christmas!

Cat Dubie said...

Enjoyed reading your post. I spent my first four years in Austria which, like Germany, had beautiful Christmas markets. It was always a magical time. Christmas in Canada was so very different [only the German delis had Advent calendars at the time!] Thanks for a beautiful memory. And all that dearly familiar luscious food.
Best wishes, Cat

Crystal Benedict said...

Sounds like a great time. I bet you are missing it. The Cookies sound delish!

Maureen said...

Christmas sounds lovely in Germany. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!

Laura Strickland said...

You've described a true winter wonderland--German style! Thank you for the wonderful recipes. Can't wait to try some.

Mary Morgan said...

There was a lovely German Christmas festival a few weeks in my town. It was wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. Merry Christmas!

M. S. Spencer said...

There is a Christmas market in downtown Chicago every year which is huge. If you're near Chicago, you would do well to visit--it will help your homesickness.

C.B. Clark said...

Thanks for sharing your memories of German Christmas markets. Your descriptions were so vivid, I feel as if I were there. Merry Christmas.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, blogger at Handbags, Books...Whatever said...

Someday, I want to visit the Christmas markets. I've heard so much about them. The replicates here are NOT the same. But then, we have lots of craft fairs which are awesome. May your days be Merry and Bright!

Anna Taylor Sweringen said...

Wow. Thanks for a wonderful post. It brought back a sweet memory for me. I worked at the Deutsche Haus at NYU when I was in college and singing Leise Reiselt der Schnee was an annual treat.

dlucas said...

Thank you so much for these vivid memories of Germany and the amazing Christmas markets. I hope you find comfort and joy even while missing home. I'm sure you could write an entire book about all the German Christmases you enjoyed. Happy Holidays!

Carol Henry said...

We lived in Germany for three years and your description of the food, especially the bratwurst, which my husband loved, the Christmas markets and the whole holiday season brings back such vivid memories. We were lucky enough to visit Germany along the Rhine and Mosel a couple years ago--awesome to go back and recapture those memories. Thanks for sharing. Have a very merry Christmas.