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My teeny, tiny, personal moment of annual Christmas nostalgia – Christmas in “Nuremberg” as you call it

nuernberger weihnachtsmarkt christmas market in nuremberg

I’m a techie and a bit of a digital media girl, and all year long I tweet and I blog, I have IPhones, IPads, IPods and would consider an IHusband if they developed a manageable model with minimal buttons to push, but once the holiday season is upon us and despite the fact that I am currently in Florida which, with all due respect, has to be the anti-dote to impending Christmas spirit, I get nostalgic, old-fashioned and sentimental. It’s during this time that I look back at my upbringing in Nürnberg Germany, a medieval city, a blue collar city, a city with a lot of history and the city I credit for having invented Christmas.The Christmas market in Nürnberg is legendary and for good reason. When you close your eyes and think traditional Christmas market this is what you’re likely to come up with.

gluehwein im topf mulled wine in kettle

Gluehwein is the operative word, especially when the it’s cold and snowy out.

Here’s how you make it:

1 c. sugar
3 c. water
Peel of 1 orange, cut in strips
1 cinnamon stick, broken in pieces
1/2 c. tripe sec
1/2 gal. Burgundy
12 whole cloves
Peel of 1 lemon, cut in strips
Boil sugar, water, peels and spices for 10 minutes. Strain out peels and cinnamon stick. Add triple sec and wine. Heat without boiling. Serve hot in punch cups or mugs. 20 servings.

lebkuchen and gingerbread

Vendors selling many types of cakes, cookies and sweets but the staple item without which Christmas must never be celebrated is the Nürnberger Lebkuchen, a gingerbread cake that has made the city famous and that belongs to Christmas as much as the Christmas angel.

nuernberger weihnachtsengel christmas angel in nuremberg

The Nürnberg Christmas angel is another institution. In Germany we actually do not have a Santa Claus on Christmas eve. We have those in a less prominent form on December the 6 or 12, depending on which religious club we belong to and then, Christmas eve is where the angel appears bearing gifts or at least where she appears – in an admittedly, slightly camp getup – to the masses on the first day of market. As a child, that was the moment I waited for all year.

albrech duerer haus nuernberg schnee

But this time of year, it’s not the Gingerbread, the mulled wine or Christmas angels that I miss most. It’s the quaintness of this medieval city, the charm of it’s remaining old buildings, the warmth of a cozy restaurant, the glow of festive lights against new snow on Christmas eve. This by the way the Dürer Haus, the former residence of the arguably most famous son of the city Albrecht Dürer, who is today regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance. Ask me one day about the story revolving around one of his most famous sketches, the praying hands.

city of nuremberg in snow

Tricky thing this nostalgia business, isn’t it? That longing for a time that likely never really was. But still, if not this time of year, then when would be allowed to relive all those childhood tastes, smells and memories? It’s a bit early yet to wish every one a merry Christmas but it’s not to early to tell everyone to slow down a bit. To enjoy the season as it unravels and to savor the little moments every day.

  • http://www.wood-and-light.com David Mathias

    Very nice post, Veronika. It’s gotten me more excited for our first Christmas in Europe. We haven’t been to Nürnberg – I think we’ll have to add it to our list.

  • http://www.kitchenandresidentialdesign.com Paul Anater

    Great post V. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  • http://www.annelubnerdesigns.com Anne Lubner

    As someone who grew up in the Northeast, lives in Florida and has visited some of the wonderful historic cities of Germany, I understand your longing. I’ve lived in FL a long time and remember years when it was warm enough to swim in December, ugh! I take comfort that it’s at least cold here now. My daughter may be moving to Germany for a few years and the thought of visiting her and spending Christmas in Germany is very appealing. To those of us who grew up with snow at Christmas, we miss it. With your memories, it has to be doubly hard. Thank you for sharing your Christmas memories, it was delightful.

  • http://funandfit.org AlexandraFunFit

    Ah, gluhwein und lebkuchen. I used to live in Berlin and went to the Kristkindl Markt several times in Nurnberg. I mostly miss the almonds & the smells, although I have some fairly foggy memories of gluhwein! Now you have me in a nostalgic mood too, especially as Santa Barbara is about as “Christmasy” as Florida. sigh……Schnee und kalt.

  • http://www.lauriegrassi.com Laurie

    Lebkuchken! Lecker! :) L

  • Christiane

    The only time I welcome snow is Christmas. No other substitute for it really! I’ve spent a few Christmases in warm climes, including Brazil. While it was fun to be on the beach, I missed the cold! I think “longing for a time that likely never really was” is a healthy indulgence! It annoys me when a particular friend says that about my obsession with Mad Men, for example ;-) ~ Fortunately for mankind, we mostly selectively remember the good stuff. So Veronika, spend your Christmas in the Nuremberg of your childhood memories! Merry Christmas!

  • http://twitter.com/SampleboardAu Rosena MacFadzean

    I now live in Aussie land and also miss the white Christmases of Europe. Lived in Germany when I was a wee girl. Thanks for taking me down memory lane. Have a blessed Christmas

  • Anonymous

    I love this post, it made me cry because it is truly the essence of what Christmas means!


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