25 December 2013

Merry Christmas from the Leighs

2013 Leigh Family Christmas Card

Have yourself a merry little Christmas, 
Let your heart be light. From now on, our troubles will be out of sight. 

Have yourself a merry little Christmas, 
Make the Yule-tide gay. From now on, our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us once more.

Through the years we all will be together. If the Fates allow.
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

18 December 2013

Weihnachtsmarkts 2013 Edition

If we can't be in the States celebrating the Christmas season with family, Germany is a pretty good second place. In fact Christmas in Germany is pretty spectacular. The way they celebrate the Christmas season is one of my favorite things about Deutschland. A large part of their celebration revolves around Advent and they are pretty creative with the use of Advent calendars. One town nearby turns their beautiful rathaus (town hall) into a living breathing calendar with each window assigned a number. Every day the children gather around the window and wait for presents to be thrown out. Oh the life of a German kinder.

Shortly after the beginning of the Advent season Christmas markets // Christkindlesmarkt // Weihnachtsmark open all around the country. They are usually held in the town center, but sometimes you can get lucky and find one in a palace. The streets are lined with stalls showcasing beautiful handcrafted ornaments and delicious, traditional German food & drinks. This year I've made it a point to try and get an ornament from each market we visited, but I'd be lying if I didn't say eating and drinking was what it's all about. For food we normally seek out the bratwurst, schweinesteak, and my favorite the kartoffelpuffer (potato pancake). For drinks we've sampled a lot this year between gluhwein, apfelwein, and eierpunsch. The last wasn't much of a crowd favorite.  My iPhone pictures don't do the markets justice, but when you're surrounded by friends, eating good food, and soaking in the Christmas spirit it's a fantastic experience. 
Thurn and Taxis Palace in Regensburg
N├╝rnberg Weihnachtsmarkt