We bought our Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas tree) super early by German standards- we picked it up December 2nd since we wanted to enjoy it for a few weeks before having to take it down before going home for Christmas. Most Germans don’t buy one until the week before Christmas (if not only a day or two before). I loved getting to have a live Christmas tree this year (other than needles going everywhere). Previously we’ve always had a fake tree (our old apartment complex didn’t allow live trees), but we couldn’t bring it over to use it here because it has built in lights that don’t work here. Also in early December, Antje, our German teacher, had us over to her house for a delicious fondue dinner with her family one Sunday night. We always have the best time when we get together with them!
During December we squeezed in several trips to the Osnabrück Weihnachtsmarkt, including one with Morgan’s department at work. That night had a little snow and Morgan ate a big bowl of chicken livers (I tried one but wasn’t a fan – yuck). My kind of treat is the little chocolate covered cakes that are popular – the bottom is a waffle type cookie and then there is a big layer of mouse on top (then it is dipped in chocolate). They had tons of flavors but After Eight (which is mint chocolate chip) and Cappuccino were my favorites! A couple days after the Friday night market visit with Morgan’s department we went back to enjoy it during the day and attended an Advent mass at the Dom which was led by our Bishop Dr. Dr. hc. Franz-Josef Bode (yep, if German’s have more than one doctorate they list them out – they really like their certifications!). It was a really nice service; they even had an orchestra set up in the back.
The weekend before heading home for Christmas we went to Münster with the Stabe’s for the day. Münster had several small Christmas markets set up around town, plus their Saturday farmers market was going on, so there was a lot to walk around and look at. It was a lot of fun trying new food – I had the deep fried cauliflower with aioli sauce (which was pretty amazing!) and Morgan had mushrooms (with the same sauce) and tried a mystery meat salami- drinking glühwein and checking out all the pretty decorations and stands around town. Between the markets in Münster, Osnabrück, and Cologne we were able to knock out Christmas presents for a lot of our family and friends back home. It was a little tricky figuring out presents that were small, light, and not super breakable, but I think we succeeded!