We spent Thanksgiving with 2 other families from our Ward. It was nice to have someone to share the holiday with...and it was even nicer to split up the cooking responsibilities! After we ate we decided to drive to Heidelberg and see the Christmas Market there. It was our first one of the season and I was so excited to introduce my family to the magic of a German Christmas Market. Heidelberg is a beautiful city and the Market there was impressive. It was divided into three or four big sections, which were all along a pedestrian shopping walkway. Super fun...but for the kids it was a bit long. And of course our 'determined' little Violet refused to wear a coat most of the night. I kept thinking she would eventually get cold enough and want to put it on...but instead she just got grouchier and grouchier...all the while insisting that she was fine. In these situations, I have to tell myself that she will make a very strong, confidant adult one day. She did finally agree to wear the coat, but she went a good while without it. It was a really fun night and a great kick-off for the Christmas Season.
In Germany we celebrate the 4 Advents of Christmas, or the 4 Sundays before Christmas. On the 1st Advent, my Aunt Gabi set up an exhibit in her village's Christmas Market. The theme this year was a Christmas in the Erzgebirge. The Erzgebirge are a region in East Germany where all of my mom and dad's families originally came from. It is also where many German Christmas traditions originated. Growing up, these were the decorations that I knew. And I have such warm feelings when I see them. My mom's dad, Opi, was an amazing woodworker. He built many of the Christmas Pyramids, and as a kid I always marveled at how he was able to do that with just one hand (he lost the other hand in WWII). He had incredible talent. More than most people can say with both hands in full use ;). Gabi had several of Opi's masterpieces on display, as well as many other traditional German decorations. And she has a real knack for decorating. It was beautiful and very cozy. We arrived with our kids (again, Violet refused a coat). It was kinda nuts bringing them in that exhibit with so many breakable things around. After getting some dinner for them and letting them see St. Nikolaus, Nate and I took them back to Gabi's house and put them to bed. Once they were in bed, I went back to the Christmas Market and hung out with Gabi, my Aunt Sonny, and my cousin Kirstin. It was so fun just to be there by myself and be able to relax and chat with them. I thought so much about my Omi and Opi that night. They would have loved to be there. Although I'm sure they were.
I just love to see all the other children so bundled up. And then there is my daughter in the middle, looking so homeless.
We got a little dusting of snow one morning in early December. This is the most we have seen all winter here in Germany. It has been a very mild winter.
We were all excited about the festive nutella we found at Globus.
Isla started sitting in the high chair around the beginning of December (almost 7 months)
She also started crawling around that time
We loved our little Charlie Brown tree this year. And it hardly shed any needles, ever!
The kids were spoiled this year...Star Wars Lego Advent Calendar, and Kinder Egg Calendar
On December 6th, Germans celebrate St. Nikolaus Day. St. Nikolaus comes and fills the kids' boots with goodies. It is a fun tradition that I always did in my family growing up, and I will for sure continue it with my kids.
In Germany you will rarely find a house with built-in closets. And that means no pantry or coat closet either. So I have been having a hard time fitting everything in my small kitchen! I finally found a hutch on a yardsale shortly before Christmas. For 100 Euro and a little paint, I was super happy with the result! (this picture is still missing some hardware)
Our tree was so light weight, that Sawyer and Nathan were able to carry it in with no problem. I think Sawyer was pretty excited to help his daddy with this one.
Our own village's Christmas Market...small and quaint and close-by-->perfect for our kids