There Is No Place Like Home

Dec 12 2017, 11:07 pm in , ,

   I’m Rebekah Simmers and I collect angels. A very specific type. They are about three inches tall and carved by hand from natural wood. Each has a simple painted face, thin wooden wings and wear a small golden crown upon their heads. The main difference is what they hold in their non-descript hands. A harp. Bells. Cello. Drum. A heart.

One has her hands held straight over a xylephone.

 

 

 

Another’s are held together as she kneels over the baby Jesus’s cradle.

 

If you look closer, you will see more subtle differences. Some are made with darker woods. A few have a broken wing.

 

 

 

 

 

Three are adorned with blue Swavorski crystals. A few are as old as I am, most much younger. All were made in one of the mountain regions here in Germany, where they have been made for decades in the wood working traditions that originate there.

 

 

 

I was born in Germany as an Army brat, where my mother bought the first of these Angels. Every year she sat on our piano, the sheet music for “Stille Nacht” sitting in front of her on her own grand piano. She was my favorite Christmas decoration, connecting me to this far off place where I was born. I visited Germany in high school and went to a Christmas store in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I saw some sitting in a basket. My own collection was born.

Now as a military spouse, I find myself living in Germany. My typical American Christmas with a side of Germany has been transformed into it’s own full blown German experience. Like in America, where each region has it’s own slight differences, each area here has a unique flavor based on regional folklore and traditions.

I live in Stuttgart in Baden-Wurttemburg. We do not live on a military base, but rather down “on the economy” in a smaller German town that has a lovely village feel. “History! Tradition! Hofen!” I have been told by more than one person who hails from our town and it is rich in both of those. The town has a distinctive Schwabian flare to it. A slightly different accent is spoken and traditional authentic Schwabish food such as maultaschen, schupfnudeln and Spaetzle are served year round, but they are very recognizable in one of Germany’s special traditions – the Weihnachtsmarkt. Christmas markets.

The Weihnachtsmarkt happens through Germany. Markets can have a specific theme. There are Medieval, Baroque, Victorian, and Children’s markets. At each you can count on the food. Bratwursts, pommes (French fries), Brezeln (pretzels), Lebkuchen (spiced cookies)). There is also music with live bands, beautiful lights and decorations. Elaborately decorated booths selling everything from delicate glass ornaments and puppets to pots and pans. Gluehwein, a hot, spiced red or white wine, is offered in a mug uniquely decorated for that specific market – a collector’s item

In Stuttgart it lasts the entire Advent season. The Weihnachtsmarkt in our little village is for one day and is held in and around the old burg / castle ruins. 

My favorite things is being able to visit different markets stands overflowing with hand carved/painted wooden decorations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is food, handmade crafts, jellies, jewelry and a wood carving stand among others.

 

There are semi-circle structures called Schwiboggen, often lit up, depicting some variation of winter theme across the bottom.

There are Nutcrackers, smokers and ornaments of all shapes, sizes and themes. And my angels. Not the intricately painted and detailed ones, but the natural wood color, short skirt angel orchestra, with the little one sat at the grand piano, that brings me full circle and makes this foreign country feel like home to me.

Rebekah Simmers is addicted to words.  She’s working to complete the first novel in a trilogy.  She’s a military spouse, mother of five and one fur baby and a dedicated volunteer. 

If you want to read her Flash Fiction story, Ring Pop, search her name in recent posts.

 

3 responses to “There Is No Place Like Home”

  1. Rita Henuber says:

    Thank you for sharing these. I’ve been to a few Christmas shops in Germany but not the markets. Sigh another thing to ad to my bucket list.

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