During a virtual meeting a couple weeks back, we asked a single question- What is your favourite winter tradition? Hearing everyone’s heartfelt reply was so inspiring, we agreed it would be great to share our stories with all of you.
What are some of your favourite holiday traditions?
We go for the earth celebration of the season and rock winter solstice. We get up early and walk to the river with a big thermos of chocolate mate and play on the ice as we wait for the sun the rise. The day is spent in the forest with friends and then in the evening we have a big lantern festival that all the neighbours participate in.
We meet in the park under a tree; we haul over a fire pit and make treats for everyone. We also make lanterns for people ahead of time and decorate the tree with the lanterns. Once we have all gathered we walk down the street and visit neighbours who have opened their doors/ front yards. Lots of yummy food and warming beverages. Welcome back light, we missed you!
We like to make Glögg (a swedish alcoholic brew similar to mulled wine) and enjoy it with family and friends. Our girls obsessively want us to read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and we love to wander our communities in search of Christmas lights.
Aaron and I host a caroling evening in our neighbourhood. Friends come over early for spicy hot chocolate and we practice a few songs, there are a few instruments (a guitar, ukulele, bells) then we head out a sing for a few hours a people’s front door. Afterward, we head back to our place for chili, home fries, and mulled wine.
I have a few favourite traditions, but two of my favouirites are listing to the Vinnyl Cafe Chrsitmas stories and baking. The world is a slightly less beautiful place since the death of Vinyl Cafe Host Stewart Mclean, but we are so thankful that the vinyl cafe stories live on. For us, the holidays would not be complete without a few Dave and Morely stories – the perfect accompaniment on a winter drive to the mountains, a slow Sunday morning with coffee, or a cozy evening in with candles and the people you love dearly. You can download a ton of stewart’s books, recorded audio albums, or individual stories from the itunes store, and if you have never listened to the vinyl cafe before- you’re welcome.
I also love baking my Grandmothers most delicious and cherished recipes – almond roca, whipped shortbread, and salted butter caramels. Each year i think i will add something new to the rotation, but nothing has stuck – these three are pure perfection.
Back at home in Germany the days leading up to Christmas are particularly nice. My family and I tend to meander the Christmas markets of Bad Toelz, a quaint and scenic little town in Southern Germany. We enjoy a few glasses of Glühwein (the German equivalent of mulled wine) to the tunes of “holly night, silent night” along with a few pieces of gingerbread. Sometimes we also end up buying a hand-carved figure to add to our nativity scene, which we set up under the Christmas tree in the weeks ahead. It even features a dinosaur, who would have thought?!
On December 23rd, the night before Christmas eve, I have an annual tradition of meeting my closest friends at a rustic beer hall in a snow-covered village by a lake, where we mull over the past year. Quietly the 24th is ushered in. I get up early to seize the day leading up to the Christmas feast to saunter through the snow capped valleys, ending with a contemplative look into my beloved mountains.