Europe loves its Christmas Markets, the festive mood, the warm drinks cuddled by cold hands, the delicious smells of roasted almonds and the magical lights that chase away the darkness of winter. From the first advent till the winter solstice, people try to spend as much time as possible out in the markets calling on hope, warmth and light to comfort them through the long hard winters.
In the last 2 weeks I went with my camera and some fellow photographers chasing the Christmas spirit from Valkenburg in the Netherlands to Duesseldorf and then today to magical Cologne.
During the last few days, Germans around Duesseldorf have been assuming new identities, merrily yelling our “Helau” and throwing candy from parades. The ‘Karneval’ is going at full force and no it’s not over! There are 2 more days of this jolly madness still to come 🤪!
In a world of texting, emailing, and ‘elf yourself’ video cards sent around for Christmas, it is so amazingly soothing to go back to basic crafts and to spend hours cutting, coloring, gluing and handwriting Christmas cards for loved ones. I suspect that as we speed into the future, taking the time to be invested in hand-made craft projects will be a thing of the past, when most things as we know them would be mass-produced and the charm of uniqueness lost forever. The last two days, we took the time, we played Christmas songs, created cards, ate cookies and had lovely long conversations. Another memory for the treasure box.
Every year our little family waits for Halloween to step out of the ordinary into a little something extraordinary; because life is just that; extraordinary; until we forget. I find so much joy in planning events since my daughter was born 9 years ago and together we plot and plan and create. Last year we had the idea to create Halloween characters with her and her friends making studio portraits with them in costume and this year we will do that again. Here are a few of our favorite portraits from last year.
Midnight of December 31st, the time that all around the world wait for, expecting something important to take place, a ball to fall on times square in New York, a kiss to take place with someone special, fireworks to burn into the night sky and greetings to be exchange all around after the pop of a champagne bottle.
As far as I could remember, I wondered about the big fascination with this exact deciding minute that changed a solar calendar by one digit and I always made it a point to not go with the masses for the sake of originality and being a decider of my own fate. This year a took a few minutes to myself away from it all to think about the new year and what might be its significance, a moment alone, because how can you think when all around you is chaos? Yes, it was a very reflective moment, a great moment…
Wishing all my friends a wonderful year ahead where value is given to what is really important.
photo taken: Elyssa waiting for the highlight of the new year celebration
One of the most beautiful celebrations in Germany during this time of year is the Christmas market (Christkindlmarkt). Traditional food stalls, Christmas decorations, fairy lights, mulled wine, carousels, singing, music, and a gathering of people in the town square after dark. There is something so hauntingly beautiful about this Middle Ages celebration, maybe it is the enchanting look of it, or the community sense of people coming together, or the act of defying the biting cold and being outdoors, or simply these amazing birdhouses that I could not stop looking at year after year!
I just love the growing excitement every new morning with Lea as she counts down to Christmas eve! The pure joy that children are able to go through is pure, untainted, robust, explosive and highly contagious! I recommend spending as much time as you can with children to catch some of their of effervescence and unrelenting ability to create happiness. And as someone very wise once said: “happy people attract essences”
She put her alarm on for 12 midnight to wake up and start cooking my mother’s day breakfast which I luckily caught and turned off not to wake her. She went in the early morning to pick flowers that she then filled a bowl with, placed on a tray that she decorated with leaves, coffee and a pancake and brought to me with a morning kiss. Later I received this heart that she inscribed with sugar glaze. Yes, it was a very good and special day and mostly because of her, a very good day to be a mom.
Happy Mother’s day to all the lovely mothers of this world!