Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Before the Advent weekends, which are celebrated in our family according to German tradition we begin to decorate the house for Christmas. Advent are the 4 Sundays (each representing Hope, Peace, Joy and Love) leading up to Christmas Eve. (This is also the evening when we give and receive gifts, at around 6:00 PM, not in the morning of Dec. 25)

Usually we have a wreath with evergreens and four candles, every Advent Sunday we add a light.


I love the tradition and I have a small red four armed candle holder, which every year gets wrapped in green and sits then on our family dining table...
In Germany people usually do not have their trees set up before Christmas Eve, but we tweaked this in the American direction and enjoy our tree from mid December.
It is nice to have these four Sundays to not just go out and shop, but have time to sit together, sing or make music, have traditional Stollen and cookies and make plans for the new year. And although two of our four children are thoroughly American kids, they have embraced the traditions with pleasure and I hope they will one day continue this in their own families.

This year I attempt to read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in installments, I think the children will now have the patience to sit through it...

And we will watch the movie, which came out 2009 and see it together.

Of course since they were little, they have had also each a Advent calendar, with 24 small windows to open every day in December till the 24. Pictures or tiny sweets mark every day till Christmas. They have become now also more common here in the States.

It could be like this (see here)
Or like this:

Found here.

We have a collection of small wooden Rauchermannchen-smoking man, little guys which burn small incense cones, yummy!

You may have noticed I have not gotten any greenery yet, I will go tomorrow to our nursery, a lovely place - coincidentally the owners are German and they make beautiful Advent decorations, wreaths, flowers, evergreens, trees. We have bought with them for the last 10 years and I look forward every year to Christmas time at their place. They serve coffee and Stollen every Sunday until Christmas and I feel quite at home there!
I love all our holiday traditions. Will you tell me a little about yours?


Images as labeled, book and movie via google image, all others by V.Zlotkowski


  1. Hey my dear,

    this is a lovely post! Especially Lisa has been decorating our little place over the past couple of days really beautifully. We really enjoyed buying our first little deco objects. It just feels so much more like Christmas once you have some of that X-Mas Kitsch around you ; )

    Tonight we'll be at the Berliner Dom to see a Christmas concert. Got the tickets from Stepahnie for the 1st Advent. Really looking forward to it...

    Lots of love to you and the entire family. We miss you-

    Eugen + Lisa

  2. I love this! Thank you! We recognize Advent, but need to adopt more traditions. We have the calendars with the small treats, and sometimes give them to friends. I cut some fresh greenery yesterday, and tomorrow we will go to get our tree! I am also very excited to put lights everywhere! And we will go with my grandmother to see the Nutcracker Ballet on the 18th of December-- another nice tradition. When I am with my mother we celebrate St. Lucia day and other Swedish traditions, which are special to me. Merry Christmas!

  3. Lovely and unique Victoria! I am now ready to start...I love to take one holiday at a time!

    Art by Karena

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your holiday traditions! Your Rauchermannchen smoking men are so charming. We collect the Steinbach nutcrackers (which has actually gotten a little out of hand!) We also read from Dickens' A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. I have been trying to find an advent calendar for my son. Thanks so much for this post. I'm definitely feeling the holiday spirit now!


  5. So, so lovely! We are actually making advent wreaths at our church tomorrow, I am quite looking forward to it! XX!

  6. Wonderful post. Love the Rauchermannchen. I look forward to the changing decor in that special place
    next to your window.
    Best wishes,

  7. nice post...i love the coming winter celebration...

  8. what a lovely and "christmas" pictures.
    have a nice day

  9. I love the winter celebrations. The Yule Lads will start arriving at our house from December 12th (Icelandic tradition).


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