Christmas Markets

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In 1990, my oldest daughter and I took a Christmas Market Tour in Austria and Germany.  The picture above is captioned, “Our favorite booth at Innsbruck”.  It was an amazing bus tour through Austria and Bavaria and it snowed heavily for the entire trip.  There was some white-knuckle bus riding on alpine roads like this one….

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…and my daughter got this shot of me walking back to the pier at Herrenchiemsee.

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This was typical of our daily walks through famous landmarks and tourist areas ….

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My daughter in Salzburg

….and, of course, the wonderful Christmas markets.

Since that trip, my daughter has collected items for me that are reminiscent of our time there.  I have one shelf of Department 56 German houses and Christmas market booths.  There’s even a Krampus by the Biergarten.

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Another shelf holds an array of small collectibles – an advent calendar, a music box, small cardboard foldouts, tins, boxes…
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My favorite is this tiny market my daughter made that has one-inch figures.

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I love to look at the little collection and remember a week in 1990 with blustery mountain roads, snow-packed sidewalks, Gluewein and huge pretzels at colorful crowded booths and a storybook Christmas on all sides.

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Christmas Village

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As soon as the leftover turkey is in the refrigerator and the big graniteware roaster is washed and stored away for another year, I begin setting up my Christmas village.   The village is the most time-consuming decorating I do (except maybe for the tree which my two youngest grandchildren always set up for me).  My first illuminated house, an early Department 56 model, was a gift from my oldest daughter and youngest son.

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It has been joined over the years by a church (handpainted by my oldest daughter), and school.

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Three Department 56 pieces commemorate visits to Germany, Austria and England.

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There’s a “Wonderful Life” train station and a “Christmas Story” Higbee’s Department Store.

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There’s a barndance barn with musicians and dancers to honor all the years my husband and I enjoyed square dancing plus a farm barn with all kinds of animals to remember the years we lived in the country.

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There’s a miller’s house, a windmill and a lighthouse…..

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There’s a 30s style movie theatre and garage….

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an antique store, a bank, a large house, a toy store, a JoAnn’s shop, and a gift store.

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And, of course, there are countless small figures of people, animals, telegraph poles, clocks, etc., and all the lighting to put in place.   This all started out just taking up the top of the piano but now it’s spread out over five different surfaces and I love it when everything is set up and all the lights are turned on.  Now, it’s really time for the Christmas season to start.