Itís almost Christmastime, and as Iím sure all the Christmas paraphernalia is out galore, itís also out hanging in the shops and in the streets. ( www.vienna.info and follow the links to the photos) The Kšrntner Strasse (main Pedestrian Zone running from the Stephansdom to the Staatsoper) has green leafy garlands and stars hanging from the light posts that line it, and the Christmas markets have already started. Thereís Lebkuchen here, GlŁhwein there, and the ice skating season is about to begin.
Ok, so thereís no snow, and Iíve been told there usually isnít really any snow at Christmastime here, but youíve still got some of the sights and sounds of the season. I wonít be around here in Vienna for Christmas, I will actually be at home enjoying it with the rest of my family, so I am trying to get all of my Austrian Christmas experiences in before I leave. I will unfortunately be missing a friendís Christmas cake baking party, sigh, but there are still lots of cakes to be eaten, so please, no pity on my account!!!
It was actually quite a deliberation for me whether to stay
here for Christmas or to go home to Toronto. Parts of me thought, well it
would be nice to experience how itís celebrated outside of Canada, and other
parts of me just thought, well thatís great, but I really want to come home
and see my family and friends...well, I guess we all know which side won
that debate! So...Iím flying home mid December. What made me decide this
way? Well, I was thinking, new and exciting...or tradition??? The last
article I wrote was all about traditions and being proud of who you are, and
I am just that, and I like my traditions, so Iím thankful that I found a
cheap ticket to come home (thank you Lufthansa, thank you!...*not a
promotional statement in any way!*). Now I can spend the holidays being
surrounded by those who created me, shaped me, care for me, fed and watered
Iíve come to realize what Christmas really means to me...as well as all other big holidays. Of course, there are the real "traditional" meanings of the holidays, the reason why we celebrate in the first place, but more than that, itís about the celebration. Itís about being with those people who mean the most to you and sharing experiences of joy, sorrow, frustration (due to boxing day shopping, which can be one of the best, yet one of the worst experiences any Canadian can go through!). I realized that if I stayed here, I wouldnít have those experiences.
Yes, there is lots going on here, there are lots of new and exciting things to discover, to experience, but in the end, those are not what really matter. I would rather have a cup of GlŁhwein sitting with old friends and talking until the sun comes up. Yes, I know I know, thereís the saying make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the otherís gold, (those who went to Brownies and Girl guides will know the song for it too!) but Iíd rather go for the gold, at least for Christmas! After all, when the wise men came, didnít they bring gold among other things?
Holidays are all about fighting about setting the table properly, waiting anxiously for guests to come while something is burning in the kitchen, bickering because someone else got the present you might have wanted, but isnít that great? Because with that, you also get the good times, the togetherness, the look on someoneís face after you give them a present they never thought you could get them! I donít want to give that up...at least not this year! Iím wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope that you all get to spend memorable holidays with the ones you love and who love you. In the meantime, Iím really hoping they bring back the Christmas Milka Chocolates at the Billa Supermarket here...they sold out already at the beginning of November! Vanille Kipferl, Spekulatius, and Zimtsterne flavoured...the best Christmas invention yet, I think!!!
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