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
I spend Christmas home with my kids. I have only been Christmas arts and craft fairs.ReplyDelete
If you ever get the chance, Debbie, there are tours that take place in early December of the Christmas markets. You'll love them!Delete
I might go to some of the local church Holiday arts and crafts fairs!ReplyDelete
Hi Danielle, they sound like fun! Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I love the Christmas markets, but don't think we have any here in southern Florida. I do like to go to the Church Christmas craft shows.ReplyDelete
I think Europe has the monopoly on Christmas markets, Diane! The last time I was in the States for Christmas, there weren't any craft shows.Delete
We dont usually get them until November. I do love going.ReplyDelete
Yes, during Advent!! I love them as well, May!Delete
I like going to fall festivals and Christmas festivals. The church across from where I live has a fall festival every Oct that we go to. Lots of craft booths and food booths and a large used book section to wander through.ReplyDelete
That sounds like a lot of fun, Linda!! Especially the used books!Delete
About early to mid November, we start having craft fairs pop up and they usually run the gamete on christmas decorations.It's very fun to browse! Thanks for sharing and congrats to Ella on the new release!ReplyDelete
They sound like it, Erin! Thank you for visiting!!Delete
I've gone occasionally. It's fun to see all the amazing items.ReplyDelete
I agree!! Next year, I need to try to get back over.Delete
Never been to Christmas bizarre, but I'd like to!ReplyDelete
They are so wonderful, Molly. You can take a planned tour of them.Delete
My church used to have a huge holiday bazaar that I loved to go to. Now, I just content myself with the big craft fairs we have in town.ReplyDelete
You're lucky to live in a place that has craft fairs. Thank you for visiting!Delete
they can be fun to visitReplyDelete
I agree!! Thank you so much for stopping by!Delete
I love holiday bazaars and can't pass them up whenever I encounter one. We're having a silent auction/bake sale at work for charity in mid-November, so I've been getting donations ready for that.ReplyDelete
My MIL's church does that, and she bakes for it. Have a great time!Delete
I like going to them. Haven't been to one in a while. There was one that used to set up in a local mansion, but I haven't seen it advertised for this year.ReplyDelete
I hope it hasn't gone away. Maybe you'll be able to go this year!Delete
I think Christmas bazaars and festivals would be fun. I have read about many in books but have never been to one.ReplyDelete
I've never been to a bazaar, but the Christmas markets are fantastic!Delete
I love being in Europe during the Christmas season! Christmas Eve is spent with my Austrian grandparents :-)ReplyDelete
Austria is beautiful during Christmas, and you get to see your grandparents!Delete
I just wish for my family for Christmas. Sometimes snow, wherever I am. I do love a snowman during Christmas!ReplyDelete
Me too, Lani!! Or sandman as the case may be!Delete
Great interview, Ella. My family's spread all over the country, so we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas whenever we can all get together. This year, it was in September.ReplyDelete
LOL, Becky!! It sounds like our birthdays when my son was growing up. We'd just celebrate when we were all together.Delete
I love bazaars, Christmas marts, fall festivals - all of them - and used to go all the time. Unfortunately, most are held on Saturdays and I now work in our store on Saturdays. I miss them but save a lot of money!ReplyDelete
Our church has a Holiday Bazaar - my favorite is Grandma's Pantry where I get a variety of frozen soups! I love to get to as many local bazaars as I can - love the 'attic treasures' booth!ReplyDelete
I love to check out the holiday bazaars. Churches usually have great ones.ReplyDelete