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2006-12-04 - 7:54 a.m.

...a made in China Christmas...

Yesterday K and I had another set of errands to run. This time our primary goal was to find the makings for an advent wreath for the first Sunday in advent. K used to buy a advent wreath on the Weihnachtsmarkt every year, and then stick four red candles in it. Poor K was a little distraught to discover how rare Christmas wreaths are in the New World. I was surprised that in the land of lumber, there were so few places one could score some evergreen. Or tactful Christmas decoration. We did come across brightly-lit, articulated, animated reindeer and polar bears for lawn ornaments. Not my style, sadly. (if it had been a flamingo I'd have been all over it).

I think that K has been a little shocked by how different Christmas feels here. We went to a supposedly famous 'Christmas Street' in a local department store yesterday. The shop was filled with plastic ornaments and cheaply assembled replicas of traditional decorations. A so-called faberge egg music box for $15. Right. All of these faked wooden ornaments - after living mere kilometers from where wood craftsmen make the real thing - made my heart cry a little.

K said, "we go to our jobs and make money, just so that we can buy all of our goods made in China." Seeing all of these cheap and plastic fakes of ornaments made him observe that people are not interested in personal care or quality; they want the image of what they saw in a movie.

We finally found the genuine article (wreaths, not reindeer) at a flower shop just around the corner, amazingly enough. Unfortunately, they had no special candle holders - and I tried to explain to K that this type of item falls into the "but they HAVE to have it!!!" culture shock category. Like the first time you discover how hard it is to get corn flour in Germany. I had never seen an advent candle wreath before I moved to Germany...

I was also rather surprised by the lack of decorations of the NON articulated mammal variety. We finally managed to find a packet of pine cones and colored red fronds and things that looked like berries --- potpourri. In fact, we couldn't even find plain red candles! So we came home and I decorated our wreaths with colorful bows. We placed a Poinsettia inside one of them, and my four-candle candelabra in the center of the other. A substitution for K's long-standing tradition.

And so sometime this week we will resume our search for evergreen and red ribbon, and we will do up our porch in traditional colors, and place white candles in our windows (if we can find them...). I will make some homemade Gluehwein, and we will listen to traditional carols. I miss Christmas in Germany.

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