Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Welcome Stephanie Burkhart

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."


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."

Christmas in Bayeux is available as an ebook only.









Anonymous said...

That's cool..

Check this out:

Diane Scott Lewis said...

I've always wanted to attend one of those German Christmas markets. I was stationed in Greece and don't remember them doing anything close to that there.
A lovely excerpt from your book.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Steph, lovely post. I've never heard of Kris Kringle market and enjoyed reading about it.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Ginger, thanks so much for having me and thanks for your patience. Work has kept me busy.

Diane, thanks for popping. If you ever get the chance, you should visit. Most European countries have some "type" of market. Perhaps, since Greece is mostly Orthodox, they have different customs?

Mona, it's always a pleasure to have you pop in. If you ever find yourself in Europe during the holidays you need to check it out!


Jillian said...

Wonderful memories to have. I've always wanted to go to Germany during the yule season. Someday I will. Til then, I'll live it through you.

Angela Britnell said...

Hi Stephanie,

That brought back wonderful memories for me. when living in Denmark we frequently went for weekends in Germany and their Christmas markets were just as you've described. I can almost smell the gluhwein now!

Maggie Toussaint said...

I love the idea of a Chrismas market. They sound so festive, so downright necessary! Wishing you all the best with Christmas in Bayeaux!


LK Hunsaker said...

Oh Steph, you've made me wish I could go back for a Christmas Market this year! And Gluhwein! You know you can get that here in a Class VI. We have a couple of bottles here so we can pretend we're celebrating German style this year. ;-)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

As always, a most interesting and informative blog, Steph. Sorry I'm a little late getting here. I have my little niece for the weekend and we had lots to do ya know.
Your Christmas book sounds like a winner. Oh. Congratulations on those fabulous reviews, too.

Paula Martin said...

This brought back memories of the Christmas markets I've been to, in both Germany and Holland. The tradition has now caught on here in the UK too, with many towns and cities having their own markets.

Cathie Dunn said...

Stephanie, what a lovely post! Thanks for the memory. :-)

Just a week ago, hubby and I wandered through Prague's lovely Christmas markets, enjoying the treats they offered. Yummy!

As a German living in Scotland, I'm so delighted Edinburgh has a German Christmas market throughout December. Feels like home from home. But I do miss the atmosphere in those old German town centres with their narrow lanes, festive decorations on doors and street lamps and the scent of mulled wine tickling your nose.

Wishing you good luck with Christmas in Bayeux (another lovely city!).

Jane Charles said...

I would love to visit a Kris Kringle or Christmas market someday. Thanks for sharing. It sounds like the perfect thing to get into the Christmas spirit.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Everyone, thanks for popping in and sharing your Christmas Market memories. I hear Prague's markets are great, too.

Loraine! We probably have a Class VI near us - I'll have to check it out. hehe

Good to hear there are markets in Edingburgh as well. I'd like to visit that city during the yule - I just have to wait for my kids to older.

Smiles to all
Happy Holidays

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