Thank you so much for having me back on SOS Aloha! Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, and I’ve had the good luck of being able to live in and visit countries who take the whole season of Advent very seriously! So, I’m going to tell you about some of them.
Throughout most of Europe Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. It is a large celebration with family and friends that begins with dinner, gift giving and church services at midnight. All over the continent church bells ring out.
The season begins on the first day of Advent, which is right after our Thanksgiving. Christmas markets, large and small spring up. Most of them are hundreds of years old. Paris has one for almost every section of the town! One of the nice parts about Christmas in Europe is that it is not nearly as commercial as in the States. The decorations are pretty much as they have been for hundreds of years, and the customs are as well. One can find freshly roasted chestnuts everywhere.
We lived in Stuttgart where the Christmas market is over 300 years old. What I liked best about it was the variety of items you could buy. There were, naturally, Christmas ornaments, such as this straw one, but you can also find dishes, knit goods, sweets ranging from marzipan figures, pigs are especially prevalent for good luck, ginger bread squares, men, women, and hearts, Christmas breads, and candied nuts are just a sampling. There are food stands serving everything from whole meals to quick snacks.
The variations in the markets are mostly in size and food. Strasbourg calls itself the home of the Christmas market as theirs dates from the 16th century. The main market surrounds Strasbourg’s cathedral, then spills out into the city.
Situated at the base of the large hill upon which the castle sits, Salzburg, Austria’s Christmas market is much smaller, but beautiful. The first time I was there a light snow began, giving it a magical appearance.
The markets all end the day before Christmas Eve so that everyone can be home for the holiday. After that the stores are closed for the next two or three days depending on the country. Christmas doesn’t officially end until January 6th, Three Kings Day.
How do you like to spend Christmas? Have you ever visited a Christmas market? If so, which was your favorite one?
MADELEINE'S CHRISTMAS WISH
The bachelors in Ella Quinn’s Marriage Game series make a habit of resisting the irresistible. But during the season for giving, surrendering to temptation may be the greatest gift of all…
A French spy, Georges, Marquis Cruzy-le-Châtel, has lived in England for years, sacrificing his life for his country—but not his heart. For he’s never been able to forget his childhood friend, Madeleine. And now, in her hour of need, he is there to rescue her…
The victim of a ruthless statesman, Madeleine, Comtesse du Beaune, has been abducted and sent to England to work in a brothel. Her greatest wish is to return home for Christmas, and her only hope of it is to marry Georges—though she will be his wife in name alone. Yet as they steal across the snowy countryside, Georges decides to woo her—with kisses that melt the winter’s frost and leave her longing for a holiday miracle…
Barnes & Noble
Ella Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives on a sailboat St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband of over thirty years, two bossy cats and a lovable Portuguese Water Dog. Ella loves when friends connect with her.
Mahalo, Ella, for sharing holiday memories with us! Ella is giving a print copy of the preceding novel in the Marriage Mart series, ENTICING MISS EUGENIE VILLARET:
William, Viscount Wivenly, plans to remain the most eligible of bachelors. He refuses to surrender to the schemes of husband-hunting ladies and matchmaking mamas. Fleeing the pressure of the ton, he’s bent on finding refuge in the West Indies. What he finds instead is a fascinating stranger, a woman so unlike those of his society that he can’t resist such a beguiling distraction…
Determined to let nothing complicate her mission to protect her family’s livelihood while covertly rescuing orphaned slave children, Miss Eugénie Villaret does her best to evade suitors. But when dashing William lures her down a path of forbidden adventure and delicious danger, she may be convinced that business can indeed be mixed with pleasure—and persuaded to add passion to her priorities...
To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about Christmas Marts/holiday bazaars. My church is hosting a Fall Festival next week with a craft fair, bake sale, and homemade soups. I'm leading the Youth Group in hosting the White Elephant sale.
2. Comments are open through Saturday, November 1, 10 pm in Baltimore.
3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 2.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City