Christmas in Germany
In 1986, I found myself, at 18, stationed near the German city of Muenster for Christmas, and one thing I learned is that the Germans prepare for Christmas a little differently than Americans. The biggest cultural difference? The German Kris Kringle markets. In fact, most major European cities have them. When I went to my first one in Muenster, I was wrapped in a cocoon of cold, but it didn't matter. The festive atmosphere and overall good will permeated my heart and still resonates with me today. I thought I'd share some of my Kris Kringle memories with you.
The first Kris Kringle market I went to in Muenster blew me away. I had never seen anything like it. Lights were everywhere. Glühwein, a German Christmas drink, was warmed on every corner. The stalls were wooden; easy to put up and take down. The market sold everything you could think of purchasing for a more "homier" Christmas.
Items in the market included handmade wood ornaments, toys, gingerbread, candles, wreaths, glass ornaments, handmade knitted scares, hats and mittens, candy and marzipan. There was plenty of food from sausages, fries, hot spiced wine, and waffles. The bigger the market, there might even be an amusement ride or two.
I loved just browsing the markets, drinking the glühwein and munching on a sausage with a brotchen. For me, it was a great adventure and the cultural
The German city, Aachen, attracts over 1.5 million visitors a year.
Berlin has more than 50 individual markets.
In Köln, a medieval Christmas market is held at the local chocolate museum. (Doesn't that sound yummy?)
Stuttgart's Christmas markets date back to 1692, making the city one of Germany's oldest markets.
My love of the European Christmas markets and traditions shines in my 99 cent contemporary Christmas story, "Christmas in Bayeux."
ENJOY THIS EXCERPT:
Aiden parked his car a few blocks from the town center. He noticed the middle of town was very compact. Most of the buildings were tall and either beige or grey. From the second stories hung the American, British, French, and Canadian flags – the forces that stormed the Normandy beaches. He slammed his door shut and Noel took his hand.
God, he loved it when she held his hand with no hesitation. "Fess up, Noel. Where are we going?"
She gave him a mischievous grin as she wrapped her scarf around her neck. "It's in the town centre."
"Um." No, he didn't care for surprises one bit. They made him feel uncomfortable. He'd had enough surprises in Iraq to last a lifetime.
They walked a block or two and entered the downtown pedestrian area. Aiden stopped, amazed by the wooden shops lined up against each other. They sold wooden ornaments, candies, knick-knacks, wreaths, candles, anything that had to do with Christmas. There were three rows of these booths, which took up the square along with a food tent. The scent of mulled apples and sweet pastries tickled his nose.
"Noel, what is this?"
"The Christmas markets."
"Is this what you wanted to show me?"
"No." She paused. "Ah, that's right – you don't have Christmas markets in the States."
"Well, then, we're coming here tomorrow to shop for Christmas."
She smiled. "It's a date."
He found it impossible not to return her disarming grin. Was that what they were doing? Dating? She led him down the street. It was getting harder for him to hold back, but he wanted her to know that when he kissed her, when he touched her, it was because he wanted her, not because it was gratitude or some other strong emotion. Well, yes, he was grateful to her, but damn it, he wasn't about to let her walk out of his life right now. Right now? Who was he kidding? He didn't want her to walk out of his life again.
5 Stars, Karen Michelle Nutt, author
Christmas in Bayeux is a tender romance sure to warm your hearts for anytime of the year. I highly recommend it.
5 Stars, Diane Craver, author
Christmas in Bayeux" is the perfect short romance to enjoy during the holiday season or any time during the year, and I highly recommend it.
5 Stars, Celia Yeary, author
You will enjoy this beautiful story, rich in history and appreciation of the past, while living and falling in love in the present. I highly recommend "Christmas in Bayeux."
BOOK TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-muZ0dhOvSE
Christmas in Bayeux is available as an ebook only.
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