Monday, December 23, 2013

A Childhood Christmas in Germany

As I have written before, I lived with my grandmother in Germany until I was six years old. I still have vivid memories of those years living with her, especially during the holidays.

Stollen
 Lebkuchen
Anise oookies
Hazelnut cookies
Bars of Swiss Chocolate
Oranges wrapped in tissue
Frost on the windows
New hats and mittens
A freshly cut Christmas tree
Narrow streets with snow piled high
Softly fallen snow twinkling beneath the stars
Fire burning brightly in the wood stove
Sausages wrapped in butcher paper
Crusty Bauern Brot (farmer's rye bread)
My uncle pretending to be St. Nicholas
Yummy Apple Strudel fresh from the oven
Church bell ringing at midnight on Christmas Eve
Merry Christmas!
Frohe Weihnachten!
The little town I was born in.


Christmas Crafts and Cookies

Guess what I've been doing? Yes, baking cookies and making crafts with the grandchildren.

 
 Here are the birdhouses that the children painted and decorated. Of course, I had to help the two-year old. She was more interested in painting herself;)

 
"Rudolph" is nothing more than an inexpensive washcloth and a bar of soap.
I helped the kids make these as little gifts. They loved them!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Christmas Memory

This time of year always takes me back to childhood memories of Christmases spent in Germany. From ages 11-15 we lived in Landstuhl, Germany in government housing, or quarters as we called them. Landstuhl was on top of a hill and was about as close to a picturesque German town as you would find.


It had woods and forests to explore and an old historic tower to climb. The caretaker sold little drinks like Capri Suns for a few pfennigs. Landstuhl had the largest military hospital in Germany. In fact, many of the military Dads were assigned to the hospital or to local artillery batteries (my father was one of them). At Christmas the post would be lit up from all the Christmas lights and decorations on the balconies. My mother would prepare for the holidays in early December, baking dozens of cookies that she put away. Of course we would sneak a few to sample. A fresh tree was put up with tinsel and old-fashioned bulb lights about a week before Christmas. Oma, my German grandmother, usually made the trip by train, arriving in her fur hat and coat, for once not wearing her everyday apron, bearing gifts for all of us. Christmas music played throughout our house from my parents’ stereo and to this day Jim Reeves Christmas album is one of my all-time favorites. The house was filled with family and friends. The air was full of joy and anticipation. Our Christmas gifts were simple, but plentiful. New pajamas; a sweater from Oma, books for me, games and puzzles, and one year, a guitar that I’d been longing for. We hoped for snow on Christmas day, so all the kids who got sleds would head to the “hill” to go sledding. We didn’t come home until the dim hours of the afternoon, brushing off the snow and ready to thaw out.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Around the House

I am posting a few more pictures of what I call "Christmas Vignettes". My house is rather small, so I only put up a little tree, but I love to decorate around the house.


I like to frame favorite Christmas cards and place
them around the house.




In the foyer


My $5.00 bargain tree all dressed up



Old Christmas card made into an ornament.




Nativity snowglobes


Tree angel


My favorite doll ornament

Pictures

Growing up in my era we didn't take a lot of pictures. Of course, there were the school pictures, which I dreaded, and Mom rarely bought...