Last Friday I went to pick up my mail and there was an unusual, square package waiting for me. "Leckerlee," it said on the box, which I thought "Hmmm, that's usually spelled "Leckerli," which is a sweet to eat (for a human) or a treat (when it's an animal), so there's got to be a backstory to this.
I got into my car, opened up the box, and lo and behold: it's German-style Lebkuchen (gingerbread) made in New York City. It's the assorted pack with both glazed and chocolate-covered Lebkuchen.
Who bakes this? Sie heißt Lee, Sandy Lee. And thus the play-on-words to get "Leckerlee." ?
Who sent me this delightful gift? A client, who thought I'd enjoy it. She was right.
You guys, I took one bite of the regular Lebkuchen tonight and I cried it was so good!
In that first bite was every minute I've ever spent at a Weihnachtsmarkt. It was the delight I had when I found this Christmas Wreath at the historic Weihnachtsmarkt in ...in...Rottenburg? I can't remember exactly, nor does it matter--I love this wreath. I still have it, even though it's on an artificial wreath now, the orange slices are darkened, and I've actually repaired it a couple of times. This wreath symbolizes me making Advent and Christmas nice for myself, so I look forward to hanging this wreath every single year.
I took another bite and thought about the last Weihnachtsmarkt I was at in Frankfurt in 2009. A friend and I met up for a glass of Glühwein and I bought two ornaments to remember my visit by. Those ornaments get hung up every year, too.
Another bite...another memory, this time of another visit to another Weihnachtsmarkt in another city, the atmosphere, the sound and scent of roasting chestnuts in the air, all the people together with their friends, their families, simply enjoying what they had in front of them. Their city, their Heimat, their traditions, their loved ones.
This Friday night I'll be cooking up a batch of Glühwein and serving this Lebkuchen with Zimtsterne and creating a new memory with a couple of wonderful people for whom I'm very thankful.
You guys, it's not about the Lebkuchen itself, it's about the people you eat the Lebkuchen with.
If you're going to eat Lebkuchen, eat this one.
N.B. = I received this Lebkuchen as a gift from a client. I receive no compensation for this post--I really want you to enjoy this Lebkuchen. And if you don't see this until after Christmas, that's OK--Leckerlee ships in January, too!!
Es weihnachtet so schön...
Hier in meinem Büro weihnachtet es so schön! In addition to my adorable, little, German Christmas tree, this year I draped a string of classic, multi-colored LED Christmas lights over my bookshelves. What a simple, easy way to create some Christmas atmosphere and to teach you how to use weihnachten as a verb. ?
Haben Sie den Bierstein gemerkt? On top of the Bücherregal I have my Johann Sebastian Bach Bierstein, purchased on a choir tour back in 1997. Man, I've had that thing for 20 years! Wow...
Here's a close-up of my kleiner Weihnachtsbaum mit Ornamenten aus dem Erzgebirge.
This was taken two or three years ago. Oh how I love my little, German Christmas tree. There's something so quaint and German about it, and yet so Charlie Brown-and-Snoopy about it, too.
Christmas is very simple at my house. I have two bins of Christmas items, and the tree and the wreath take up most of the first bin. I like having a bit of Christmas around, but I also don't want to spend all my free time decorating. I'm very thankful for the year I decided I would always keep it simple. It helps me keep my Germanic traditions alive and helps me remember all the Christmases I spent in Deutschland.
Keeping it simple helps because Christmas is such an emotional time of year, whether it's because you're seeing family whom you don't often see or observing long-standing traditions, introducing new children to your traditions or maybe you miss someone who won't be with you any more at Christmastime. So whether you're enjoying a happy Christmas or a blue Christmas, from my heart to yours: