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A Christmas Journey

By Pipka

Christkindlmarkt, Gingerbread Display

I’ve traveled the world at Christmas time to get an authentic sense of Christmas as it is celebrated throughout Europe. Each city or village in the various countries has its own myths, traditions and history which is celebrated at Christmas time. The common denominator of all these various traditions is Father Christmas”. Michele Johnson and Gary Meidinger, the owners of Prizm inc., fell in love with Pipka’s old world Father Christmas designs and the stories surrounding Santa. They wanted to experience an authentic European Christmas with Pipka and soon all were headed to Germany to visit the Christkindlmarkts, museums and historic sites. Here is their story: Our first stop was Munich, the capital of Bavaria, where the centuries old Christkindlmarkt is situated below the two Onion domes of the Fraeunkirche, one of Munich’s iconic landmarks. There, hundreds of booths were overflowing with hand crafted ornaments, nativities and gifts. The aroma of roasted candied almonds filled the chill winter air. Hot grilled bratwurst and gluhwein warmed our spirits as we shopped for Christmas souvenirs.

"We even saw St. Nicholas in the Christkindlmarkt. He wore a long red robe and was handing out gingerbread cookies from his sack to the wide-eyed children that surrounded him.” The next day we drove to Nuremberg to visit one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany. Hundreds of stalls were scattered across the Hauptmarkt, lights glittering on every booth overflowing with handmade Christmas items and Nuremberg’s famous gingerbread. We enjoyed more shopping and eating bratwursts as we meandered through the market. From near and far, one can see the star on the thatched roof of the crèche in front of the Church of Our Lady, the large nativity scene in the heart of the Christmas market. We noticed children were drawn to the carved wooden figures and we gladly took a moment to enjoy the peace of the Nativity. The next day, we continued on the Romantic Road to Rothenburg of Der Tauber, an old medieval town straight out of a fairy tale. The narrow-cobbled streets were filled with Christmas booths illuminated by twinkling lights, food and wine stalls. Around the corner, a 12-foot-tall hand carved nutcracker greeted us at Kate Wolhlfarht’s Christmas store. Thousands of handmade ornaments and life-like animated figures fill the rooms in this world-famous store which is particularly festive at Christmas time. We scooped up many goodies that were made in Erzgebirge, a mountain village renowned for its carved ornaments, nutcrackers and candle lit pyramids. We continued on to Schwabisch Hall, another medieval town on the Salz River and then Salzburg, home of Mozart’s birthplace, where we stopped in many cathedrals to give thanks for all we had seen, tasted and experienced throughout our trip. Michele kept a journal during the trip adding clippings, postcards and illustrations. Both of us, Michele and Pipka, added journal entries about what we had seen and experienced on this magical Christmas journey. We are best friends and share memories we will never forget.


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