The memory of my mother is especially poignant during the Christmas season because Mom, who grew up in Bavaria, loved everything about the German holiday season (and very little about the American commercialization of it). She spoke of the sounds of the Christmas canons (and cannons!) in snow-covered small Bavarian towns, the smell of Bavarian churches, and the tastes of the holiday – zimptsterne, fingergolatschen, and glühwein.
Today I honored Mom today with two of her favorite Christmas traditions. One was my first-ever homemade advent wreath. Mom always made our wreaths and I’ve just never had the – oh, I don’t know… the courage? – to attempt to make my own. I remember Mom’s wreath always looking a bit like a May pole – it had a wooden dowel in the middle with ribbons stretched from the wreath over the top of the dowel and to the opposite side of the wreath. But I decided to start small and just attempt a simple wreath. I gathered some of the raw materials from our yard and filled in the rest with a quick trip to the craft store. You like?
I also made some glühwein, which Mom loved. This was so easy! I just poured a few bottles of Two Buck Chuck into a pot, added about a cup of sugar and a splash of sherry, sliced up some oranges and inserted whole cloves into them, stuffed a mixture of whole allspice and fresh lemon and orange peels into a tea infuser and hung it on the side of the pot, and threw in some whole cinnamon sticks.
I’ve been sipping on this stuff all day and I believe it’s getting more and more tasty with each warm, aromatic cupful! ;-)
The sounds and smells of Christmas bring back such strong memories of my mother. But what really does it every year is the one evening per year, Christmas Eve, when I light the candle I bought in Munchen in Mom’s memory.
That moment is still to come this year.
But for today, Christmas has made it to our house once again and it’s a happy day full of memories and traditions.