Every year Christmas seems to sneak up on us. First we make it through Thanksgiving, then the holiday parties begin, and all the while we’re wrapping up work projects. And suddenly – it’s the week before Christmas and we’re scrambling to cook and decorate and shop and finish everything that needs finishing before the year comes to an end. I’ve tried not to stress out too much this year; if something is important, it will get done, and everything else can happen when it happens.
One of the traditions Jason and I started early in our marriage was purchasing a new ornament each year to hang on the tree. This year, we decided to visit Denver’s Christkindl Market, the annual German marketplace that takes over a block downtown during the holidays, to see if we could find something seasonal and unique to add to our tree.
The market was filled with booths featuring everything from handmade gifts to amazing-smelling cider, candied nuts, and smoked salmon. We managed to escape without spending too much money, but it wasn’t for lack of wanting. Every time we passed the nut booth, my stomach flipped a little.
The market (and downtown) are within walking distance of our house, so we had loaded Evan up into the stroller. Since his naps have been getting later and later, we didn’t think anything of it when we set out just before lunchtime for the market. By the time we arrived (about 15 minutes later), he was zonked out.
There were lots of ornaments to choose from at the market, from amazing blown glass creations to hand-painted globes and spindles, but we ultimately decided on a simple wood-carved scene for the tree. It felt the most authentically “German” to us, whatever that means. And we just liked it best.
After the brisk walk, and with the market being outdoors, we were pretty chilled. So we headed to a nearby coffee shop to get warm drinks and hot soup. We also stopped at the outdoor ice rink the city puts in every winter to watch the skaters. Evan was very excited by the skating; it’s an activity we can look forward to doing when he’s a little older!
Since we were already out of the house, we decided to make one more stop – a visit to Santa. Evan had visited this Santa when he was just two weeks old, so we have some cute pictures of then and now for the memory books. His first visit, however, went a little more smoothly (he slept through it). While we waited in line this time around, Evan seemed excited to watch the other kids sit on Santa’s lap, and he even waved at Santa several times from the line. But when his turn came, things went downhill fast. He stopped crying pretty quickly, but he was excited to get out of the strange guy’s lap as soon as Jason picked him up. Memories!
The weather was getting chillier and snow was on the way, so we headed home for our last task of the day – putting up the tree. Evan was very helpful, but there were inevitable casualties.
But most of the ornaments made it onto the tree, and Jason was there to top things off just in time for dinner. At last, it feels a little like Christmas around here!