Our Plans for the Holidays, New Traditions

The holiday seasons are beginning! People all over the world will begin to celebrate their various traditions. There are so many different holidays that are celebrated this time of year.

In Brühl, The Christmas Market stands are already being set up.  This year, most of the Christmas Markets in Germany will begin on November 22.  My plan is to hit all of the markets in Köln, and there are there are several.  Most are within walking distance of each other, and we usually start at the Cathedral Market (next to the Dom).  I will be making several trips I am sure with friends as well as my family. Then, each Sunday leading up to Christmas, Dirk and I will be visiting a different city and their markets.  We plan to see the markets in Bonn, Aachen, and Dusseldorf.

But really, I am getting ahead of myself.  As an American, I can not forget about Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday.  I love to cook the giant meal, and make all the sweet desserts to sample after the big meal.  However, here in Germany, it’s tough to celebrate this holiday.  My German family members just don’t get it.  (Obviously, it’s not a German holiday). So, this year, I am downsizing a bit.  We will still have the holiday meal, just not as enormous.  I will just be cooking for Dirk, Cheyenne and myself. (It will include a turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and a pecan pie.  Hopefully we can find some collard greens as well.)  It’s really just too big of a celebration to try and create in my little hobbit hole of an apartment. I am planning to start up the big celebration again when we have moved to a larger home (Hopefully sooner, than later.  We are currently on the hunt for a home.  Wish us luck!).

Since we aren’t really doing much of a Thanksgiving Day here, Cheyenne and I have decided to break the very American rule of “not decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving”.  We already have some lights up, and the garland is resting on the window sill.  I even have a few Amaryllis bulbs set out and they are growing nicely.  I have been warned by fellow American’s that this is a serious sacrilege, but since I am not terribly religious, I am willing to take the risk. (I know it seems odd to many that we love to decorate for Christmas, even if we don’t actually celebrate Christmas.  We do celebrate Yule, and I LOVE the pagan decorations that are used at Christmastime.)

Christmas Window 2019

(For those of you that know how much I love my Orchids, Don’t Worry!  I have moved them safely into my bathroom where there are enjoying their new window view.  This recent move of the orchids also makes Newt the Cat and Jack the Dog very happy.  They can now stand freely at the window and watch the neighborhood without getting in trouble for knocking down said orchids.)

Dirk announced over dinner the other night that we will be getting a real tree for Christmas this year!  This is amazing news!  Both Cheyenne and I have desperately missed having a real tree.  I love the pine scent, and the absolute beauty of a real tree.  Now, in Dirk’s defense, he is not a grinch.  He just didn’t fancy the idea of dragging a 7ft tree up 4 flights of stairs, and then down them again after the holiday.  I get it, I didn’t want to do it either!  But, out of the blue, he decided it would be nice to get one this year and we couldn’t be happier.

I am planning to make cannolis as our holiday treat this year.  It takes me most of the day to make them, but I love the way they turn out.  The last time I made them, I rolled the dough out by hand.  This time, I will be using a pasta press!  We will also be making some shortbread cookies with holiday sprinkles in them to make them look fancy and festive.  Next year Sierra will be joining us at Christmastime.  I am really looking forward to having her here to help with the baking.  I haven’t had a pumpkin roll since she moved back to the States!

All in all, I am really looking forward to this holiday season with my family and friends.  What are some of your traditions?  What do you like to cook or bake for the holidays?  Have your traditions changed after moving abroad?  Tell me in the comments!

26 thoughts on “Our Plans for the Holidays, New Traditions

  1. I am looking forward to being able to visit some Christmas Markets with you. We are also going to Stuttgart one weekend to check theirs out. I am also really looking forward to celebrating my first Thanksgiving this year. I have been invited by a group of friends to participate in a Friendsgiving lunch. I am making Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie. Any recommendations for good recipes are definitely welcome :). Our Xmas in Germany is much different to Xmas in Oz. Over there it was all about seafood and swimming. Here I am pleased to get to do a proper roast lunch, last year it was Goose. This year I am hoping to find a Weihnachtsschinken. Have fun with your real Christmas Tree. One year we will get one too …

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  2. Real Christmas trees are the best. Every year, I think about buying an artificial one because of the less-hassle factor, but when I see the real ones lined up outside my grocery store, I can’t resist buying one. Glad to hear you’re getting a real deal one this year!

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  3. German Weihnachtsmarkt are the best! We went to Berlin around Christmastime two years ago and I’ve wanted to go back ever since! I’ve never been into Christmas, but I celebrate even less since I moved abroad… My husband only has a small family and they are not very close so everyone celebrate on their own. It was a bit of a shock for me who comes from a huge family! I got used to it though. My birthday is a few days after Christmas so we usually try to travel around that time since it’s cheaper. I guess it’s our own tradition!

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  4. Cannoli for Christmas! That sounds wonderful. One of our neighbors is a native of Sicily and she makes the most amazing cannoli and cookies (I try to save for myself). I always make Springerle, passed down by my German relatives! Better get baking. December will be here before I know it! Enjoy your Thanksgiving! Low-key sounds good to me

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  5. Aw I am so happy you will have Sierra back too, that will be lovely!

    I am hoping to bake my Christmas cake this weekend, with one of my friends. We’ve done it once and I don’t really know who/what was more wrote off, me or the cake 😂 it was a very boozy affair.

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  6. The Christmas markets are likely extra beautiful in Germany. We have beautiful craft markets, too, although the European markets are likely more authentic. A real Christmas tree will be a treat. Especially picking it out. We definitely do some Christmas baking. This year we have a special treat in seeing Disney Stars on Ice with the grandchildren. Thank you for helping put me in a Thanksgiving/Christmas season mood, Cherie.

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