Welcome to the Christmas market and welcome to the new Wimmelsearchtip of the week! Last week I asked you to do some sleuthing, namely to find the pregnant couple whose story threads through Heidelberg wimmelt. It wasn't that difficult. Or was it? Did you need a child to help you to solve the riddle? In today's picture you see that couple again.
In today's picture you see that couple again. With storks. And with a baby buggy! The baby is finally here. The endless waiting has come to a close and life has a new beginning. That round baby belly is now a tiny human, delicate yet more robust than we sometimes like to believe.
It is the Christmas season and this young family is visiting the Christmas market.
For me, Christmas means a new beginning. One yearns for this day because, just like the birth of a child, it stands for the miracle of life. That old, perhaps messed-up life is now history, at least for this one night. The foolish things we did, the careless words that have slipped from our tongues, the guilty feelings of having done something wrong or not having done them well enough are forgiven at this moment. We want to believe that from now on, everything will be better.
And the anticipation of Christmas? The preparations. The endless baking of Christmas cookies and trying to build the largest gingerbread house ever, getting Christmas decorations down from the attic (I have a friend who has so many Christmas things that she has to rent a garage to store them in). Figuring out what to serve for the holidays (we eat less traditionally, because on Christmas Eve there is almost always a homemade lasagna, yes also the lasagne noodles are homemade) and the tree!
The Christmas tree was at first a contentious point in my marriage. My husband wanted to wait until Christmas Eve to set it up, as many Germans do. But staying true to my American traditions,I wanted it up as early as possible. And besides, I'm happy when it is lit up in the evening and I'm happy because every bit of Christmas tree decorations carries a memory and a personal story behind it. And I am happy, yes, like a child at Christmas, simply because of the anticipation of Christmas.
I continue the tradition of my childhood: Every Christmas, I give my husband, my daughter and my son some Christmas tree decorations as a present, sometimes funny, sometimes kitschy, sometimes of high-quality glas or porcelain. Something to remind them of this special day. It is a reminder that we are together and share the hope of a wonderful future.
That's all it takes to be Christmas.
Just enjoy it. Enjoy it with a stroll around the Christmas market, breathing in the scents of the Christmas stands, mulled wine, gingerbread and Pöffertjes (a Dutch treat, popular here in Northern Germany, kind of like fried dough). Create your own new traditions. Let me know which ones you carry on from your childhood. Maybe I'll draw them in my sketchbook and present them here.
Take some time and wander through the Christmas market in my Wimmelbook, Heidelberg wimmelt. Reading together at Christmas time is also a pleasure.
Haven't you got my Heidelberg wimmelt? My wimmelbook, Heidelberg wimmelt, is available from your favorite book seller, directly from the Silverburg-Verlag publishing house, or from an online bookstore of your choice.