Well, everyone, it’s that time of year again, and I have to say I am super excited! I really love Christmas! Okay, I know what you are thinking – “Stacey, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet!” Well, I am currently in Europe and there is no Thanksgiving holiday here so I have a jump start on Christmas; my absolute favorite holiday!
Ever since I was a kid, our holidays have been off the chain! Just over the top, and I love it! My favorite thing is wrapping and stacking lots of things under the tree and waiting for our letters from Santa.
The other thing I really love about Christmas in Europe are the Christmas markets! I just love that the market is full of little stands with homemade crafts, warm sweaters, Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers, and toys – it feels like everything was made with love and attention to detail. Of course, I also love all the great food – potato pancakes, cinnamon rolls, homemade cookies, candy, and those amazing roasted almonds covered in sugar, chocolate, chili, or Nutella; you name, it’s there! The smell is straight from heaven!
The Christmas markets in Germany are normally held around the main square and largest church in the center of the city. Funny enough, in the early days, many priests complained because they could not get anyone to attend afternoon church service because everyone was drinking wine at the Christmas markets!
Another interesting tradition, different from our traditional Santa Clause in the USA, is the tradition for all children to receive gifts from the Christ child, or baby Jesus. Martin Luther, the religious reformer in Germany, was the first to say that the children should receive gifts from the Christ child; this was especially prominent in southern Germany!
Now I have to tell you that my kids were pretty upset about this whole Baby Jesus thing and were very worried that Santa would not find them in Europe. Our first European Christmas was in Lithuania. They both said, “OH NO, MOM! We can’t live here! How will Santa ever find us?!” Thank goodness we wrote him a letter; now he always finds the boys on Christmas Eve! Whew, catastrophe avoided!
For those of you know me, WINE has to involved somewhere! Man oh man do I love hot wine or karštas vynas, glühwein, svařené víno, warme wijn, or whatever you want to call it! For those of you from the USA, you have probably never had this; I never had this before I came to Europe, but it rocks! I will put up a recipe so everyone can make it and enjoy hot wine at home!
This is my absolute fave part of the Christmas market – standing around with friends, smelling the foods, listening to Christmas music, and drinking hot wine! They don’t just give you little plastic cups that break and spill; they give you beautifully decorated mugs made especially for the Christmas or Weihnacht markets! How cute!
Cheers, prost, nazdraví, isveikatą, and drink up to a wonderful Christmas holiday, and thanks for reading about our wonderful Baskets Life! For the hot wine recipe, click here –> Hot Wine Recipe.