Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent Weekend

I haven't been to my blog very often the past week. Two posts, and that's about it. It wasn't intended this way, though... but my body had different ideas than my mind. I had a horrible cough for some weeks and finally went to the doctor who prescribed a powerful mixture of anti-histamine and codeine that fortunately started to kick in quickly. On the downside, however, it made me awfully tired, so I concentrated the bit of energy I had on the most urgent and important things. But now I'm back and I'm happy about it.

Advent has definitely arrived in our family. On the first Advent weekend Kaefer put up the Christmas village in front of our fireplace

while I had fun arranging our traditional Advent decoration.

The arch with the candles on top is a so-called Schwibbogen. In the front you can see a Christmas pyramid. The heat of the candles get the wings started and the little singers turn around the church in the middle. These things are tricky! They usually work very well in the beginning, but eventually they don't turn anymore and the wings start smoldering - you can see that this already happened to our pyramid. Those of you who have read about my childhood advent certainly think now that we play a lot with fire... All these little pieces are handmade of wood in the Erzgebirge, the ore-mountain region in the eastern part of Germany. While you can buy them everywhere now, it was more difficult to get them before the wall came down. We got some of our little angels and singers from a family in former East Germany whom we regularly sent parcels.

These are the angels of the ore-mountain art. We have a small orchestra by now and I love these little figurines very much. They are authentic German traditional art.

Last Saturday the Geek put up the Christmas Lights on our house. Now, this is the very first time that we actually decorate our house this way. The Geek had found these lights dirt dirt cheap after last Christmas (I think he paid $0.37 for each strand of lights, and that includes tax!), they are LED (otherwise he wouldn't have bought them) and since we don't have any proper fixings to put them up, the Geek, inventive guy that he is, fastened them with paper clips. Yes, you read that right, paper clips. Not the cheap ones, but the good old ones from Manufactum (oh praise to German "engineering").

It worked!

And this is the decoration at our doorstep:

We have a Fall-Advent here. I was first thinking of spray painting the pumpkins in gold, but rather have the natural look. After all, this is coastal NorCal.

Yesterday we finally got our Christmas tree. It was a rainy day, so we didn't go to cut our own tree but chose from the many many trees of a locally owned business.

Kaefer is the one in our family who decorates the tree.

She went to the ice arena afterwards and witnessed the tree lighting ceremony with Snoopy and Woodstock, skating for four hours with her friends. She absolutely loves it and we are grateful that we have this wonderful old-fashioned ice arena in our town.

While my little one did her freezing exercise I prepared the St. Nick's gifts for my neighbors. Today is Nikolaus as we call it in Germany and the kids find one of their shoes filled with sweets, nuts and oranges in the morning. I introduced this tradition to my neighborhood in 2001 in a slightly different way - they find a little bag of German sweets on their front porch in the morning of December 6th. This year I also included a Starbucks frappuccino bottle that I decorated and filled with cocoa powder and mini marshmallows.

Some of our neighbors play Nikolaus for us - this is what I found at my doorstep this morning (the boot belongs to Kaefer and was filled by her loving parents).

I am so thankful for my wonderful neighbors! I love them!

This has turned into a pretty long post, I hope you're not cross-eyed! I just wanted to share this with you. You are such wonderful blogger friends!

Happy St. Nick's to you!


Cynthia Schelzig said...

wow,,what a post!!! I am at the art markets for one more I am not blogging but I surely enjoyed reading this!! Your decorations look marvelous...inside and out:) how nice of you to start the 6 Dec with your neighborhood...and you wanted to WAY:)
Happy St. Nick to you tooooooo!

Marilyn & Jeff said...

This is all so wonderful, I have enjoyed seeing into your advent world. Everything looks magical to me. Thank you for sharing.
I do hope that you are feeling well again now.

soraya nulliah said...

wow-you are all into the Xmas spirit! I love the entire village in front of your fireplace and the pic of your daughtr skating. Love this time of year with Tara-children just make it so magical!

Christine E-E said...

your daughter is adorable. I feel so lucky to have you as a blogger buddy! Learning so much about your German traditions... and get to take a peek into your house. Love it!

foxysue said...

Hi Carola,

From the look of all this pre Christmas activity I think you must be feeling a lot better!

It's lovely to read about your traditions, spreading them around is a great thing to do, you are very generous!

All the pics give an air of excitement, I'd like to be your neighbour!

Much love to you,
Sue x

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Endlich mal wieder Zeit für einen Blogspaziergang. Schön, dass es dir wieder besser geht :) Eure Adventsdeko sieht klasse aus - danke fürs Zeigen der schönen Fotos. Eisbahnen sind hier in Deutschland in den letzten Jahren sehr populär geworden. In vielen Orten werden um die Weihnachtszeit Plätze gewässert und künstlich gefroren, damit Jung und Alt Schlittschuhlaufen können. Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland - danke für die mail :) - Antwort kommt bald

Cindy Adkins said...

Oh wow, Carola this is so beautiful...and your daughter is gorgeous and I love all your decorations!!! And I love the boot--so clever!!!!!

I sure hope you are feeling better!! I am so sorry to hear that you have been sick...sending blessings your way.

Heather Foust said...

Oh I so enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing these special moments.

Rhonda said...

Happy St Nick's to you Carola! Yay, I fixed my comments issue. Geesh! I need a geek to fix my computer problems! You are lucky to have a husband who can do that. Anyway, your home looks beautiful inside and out! Thanks for sharing your Advent festivities.

Ginnie said...

This is just wonderful, Carola...all of it. I love that I am familiar with some of these traditions because of my time in Hannover. Yes, what a small world, with so many bridges and connections. We both are lucky to share many worlds and customs.

Darla said...

The little wooden figures are so charming. It looks like Christmas is coming to your house for sure. Everything is sparkling and pretty, including your daughter.


Maria Wheeler, Simply Cool Stuff said...

Merry Merry Christmas, Carola! Love those little angel figurines and the traditions that go along with your home country of Germany. So cozy it all seems...Glad you are feeling well now to really CELEBRATE the wonder of the season!

JeanFB said...

Wow, what a fabulous post! I adore your Christmas decorations - the little town, the advent candles, your chorus of angels. I bought a very similar little angel ornament many, many years ago on a trip to Germany - she always resides at the top of the tree to keep her safe. And what fun that you have spread the tradition of St. Nikolaus day! What wonderful neighbors and friends, too. This was such a fun post!

Sheila Dalgleish said...

Aaah, your advent sounds lovely. All you need is someof our snow.....