Advent Calendar: 21 December

On the 21st day of Christmas and we head to the city-state of Bremen. The city has 700,000 inhabitants, counting the town of Bremerhaven, which is located at the mouth to the North Sea and is famous for its Bremer Stadtsmusikanten- the Town Musicians. The statues of the animal figures can be found at the City Hall. A Guessing Quiz on the City State of Bremen you can try by clicking here. Some interesting facts that will rattle your brains. 😉

Bremen is known for being creative in its artwork and this Christmas scenery photo, taken by the Instagram page Places in Bremen is one of them. It features the historic State Theater that is flanked by palm trees and Santa delivering some Christmas trees, as seen with one in his hand, The larger one is behind the barrel. The question is: how did he get the barrel, which I’m assuming it is full of gifts, this far and why to this town that is laden with Town Musicians? 😉

And with that, some creative ideas in case it’s last minute and you don’t have a prayer entering any store:

Pancakes: America on Coffee had a cool idea for a pancake mix. Click here for details.

Box of Favors: A collection of small cards with favors to do for your loved one. While one can order online, you can also make one yourself. Click here for details.

Cotour Christmas Cards: This unique arts and crafts Christmas card requires the basics of art and needs little time to create. Click here for details.

The Gifts of Nature: One blogger had an idea of making various of Christmas items, using natural items. Click here for details.

The Envelope: Nancy Gavin found a creative way to impress loved ones and make others happy. More on the story here.

One idea that I found during last year’s Christmas Market tour was making angels- yes angels. For that, we will go to the town that made these by clicking here.

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AND:

If you are looking for ideas on how to spend Christmas during the toughest of times, Covid-19 included, here are some tips that one fellow blogger suggested that could make Christmas time a time to remember. Click here for details.

Happy Holidays!

Ten Things to do this Christmas Despite Covid-19.

Ten Things to do this Christmas Despite Covid-19.

Elise Tanriverdi

Christmas is approaching and there is still so much uncertainty as to what we can and cannot do during this festive season. Covid-19 has turned the year 2020 upside down and now that we are approaching Christmas, many are afraid that it’ll spoil our festive traditions too. So many of the events we love year after year have been cancelled, but that doesn’t mean that Christmas is cancelled! Keep scrolling to find some Covid-safe Christmas ideas to do with your friends and family (or maybe just your household) this year.

Have a Cosy Christmas Movie Night

There are countless Christmas themed movies out there, so pick your favourites, pop your cosy festive pyjamas on and get cosy!

Go For a Christmas Lights Drive

Once everyone has decorated their houses with beautiful lights and festive decor, why not take a drive around the neighbourhood and get into the Christmas mood. You…

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Christmas Market Tour: Werdau (Saxony)

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Author’s Note: This tour was taken in December 2019

There is an old saying: In a small town, creativity runs wild. Small towns don’t have the luxury of all the “good stuff” that big cities have, such as sports venues, places of entertainment, shopping malls and all. If you live in a small town, you make do with the limited resources you have. Sometimes when having that, you can be creative in making something that is either functional, fancy or both.

And this was something I learned during a brief stop in the town of Werdau. The small town of 23,400 inhabitants is located along the River Pleisse in the western part of Saxony. It’s the next door neighbor to Zwickau, yet it is located at the junction of two of the oldest rail lines in Germany: The Dresden-Hof-Nuremberg Magistrate and the Leipzig-Hof-Munich lines, both of which are almost 180 years old. The town has four viaducts that are located either west or south of the city center. The city center itself consists of a straight line of a wide street, flanked by many historic buildings, such as the city hall, bank and St. Mary’s Church. The historic fountain is found on the southern end of the strip, which runs from Querstrasse in the south and Brühl in the north, where Highway 175 is located.

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It’s along this stretch of street is where the Christmas market is located. Each side of the street is lined with huts made of oak with the stage for entertainment on the left, as seen in this picture. The tree is located at the fountain and behind that is Santa’s house, where kids could enter and leave him their wish lists. The fountain is decorated as an Advent Wreath with four lanterns, each one represents the week of Advent, though during the visit the lanterns were shut off, even though it was during the time of the Third Advent.

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Up until 2018, Werdau’s market was held for only one Advent weekend and for a few hours on Sunday. Yet public demand called for the market to be held during the time of Advent from November 28th until December 22nd, to compete with the likes of the ones in the regions, including Zwickau, Crimmitschau, Schneeberg and even Glauchau/ Waldenburg. As you can see in the pictures, the market is well received by the visitors, though parking possibilities in and around the city center, given the infrastructural landscape of Werdau, could use some improvement for with the car, the possibilities are limited, yet with the bike and by foot, they are all within a three-minute reach.

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Werdau’s market offers local specialties that are typical for the state of Saxony, yet one hut caught my eye which sold handmade goods, and it is the one of the Sonnenberg Schule. The school is a state-accredited institute and is a special school for students with developmental disabilities, The school is open for these students between the ages of four and 23. I was at the hut and found a wide array of handcrafted Christmas items, renging from bottle lanterns to ornaments made of nuts, clay and wood.

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One of the items that caught my eye was the Guardian Angel (Schutzengel), as you can see in the box on the right side in the picture above. These angels are made with clay and are easy to make. It depends on what type of clay you have, let alone whether you need to “bake them in the oven”

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Judging by the appearance, one needs to make a flat circle out of the clay, then slice the circle halfway through. Fold the pointed edges outwards and the center of the circle inwards. Then, as you can see in the close-up, extend the curve outwards to make it look like the angel is wearing a dress. The head can be added extra by rolling a small ball and placing it on top like in the picture. Paint, glaze and bake and voila! 🙂 The exact way it was made is unknown but these Werdauer Angels made for a very unique gift, with or even without facial features and other accessories. For the Sonnenberg School, this was a cool gift and one that I eventually bought for my daughter for she collects angels. A simple but lovely gift indeed.

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After about a half hour or so, it was time to leave. But if there was a word to describe Werdau’s Christmas Market it would be that it’s local and full of Werdauer Angels bringing people together. While some improvements are recommended, the town’s market left a very lasting impression because of its setting, the Christmassy feeling shown among locals and the homemade goodies that you can get the last minute and even recommend making at home if and when one has the chance to do that. And for that, my word of advice to the smaller communities that hold Christmas markets in the future:

Make it local, make it unique, make it fancy but be creative, for creativity trumps all, especially for Christmas time.

More photos of my visit can be found here.

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Happy Holidays!

Gifts of Nature — Micro of the Macro

Gift-giving has been a popular custom for hundreds of years. Initially, small gifts to help the poor were given at this time of year across many religious traditions. Unfortunately, this compassionate practice that epitomized holiday spirit has been all but lost; somehow, receiving gifts has become more important than giving.

Gifts of Nature — Micro of the Macro