There is something about Christmastime that makes people nostalgic. Just try suggesting to my sister that we leave out a Fruit Cake cookie or skip reading a “Cajun Night Before Christmas” and you would think that I was asking them to walk on hot coals. Decorating the tree, pulling out all the ornaments from our childhood, baking Christmas cookies and recalling all our great Christmas memories from years past make Christmas that extra special holiday.
Some of my favorite Christmas memories are of the times spent at the Nürnberger Christkindelsmarkt (Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Germany). I grew up as an Army brat and spent several years in Germany during my youth. Every year we looked forward to going to the market walking around the booths sampling treats and drinking Glühwein, a mulled wine (or mulled juice for the kids).
One of the highlights of the Christkindelsmarkt is the Zwetcshgenmännle (Nuremberg Plum People.) I remember visiting all the “Nuremberg Plum People” booths with my sisters searching for the perfect one to buy for our mother for Christmas, which all these years later she still has and proudly displays each year.
“Nuremberg Plum People” are cute little men and women made from dried plums, figs, nuts and bits of scrap cloth. They date back to the 17th century and are believed to help protect the family from harm; German families place the figure in a window during the holidays.
Even if you can’t make it to a Christkindelsmarkt for these delightful figurines, you can make them at home to bring a little joy to your holidays. Using scraps of fabric, dried figs, nuts, and a bit of paint and glue you can add a little German tradition to your home this Christmas.
PS- Try the fruit cake cookies- they really are delectable!
What Christmas traditions and memories do you cherish?