The lingering smell of cinnamon and cloves lured me past the grilled bratwurst and crocks of bubbling Monschauer Senfsuppe (mustard soup), a local specialty, to the glühwein (hot mulled wine) hut where the line was six-people deep. The choices of steaming hot beverages on this winter day were inviting.
Eggnog, a creamy coffee-based elixir and hot chocolate were all available with a little extra “warmth” from one of the bottles of brandy, whisky or schnapps lining the countertop. I opted for the glühwein, a Christmas Market must, and happily warmed my hands on the blue ceramic mug as the steam from the cup clouded the crisp air.
From the church, I heard the familiar sound of Christmas carolers. I sneaked in and sat in the back pew, sipping my wine. I am not sure what was warming me more … the spirits in the cup or the spirit all around me. As I quietly inched out of the church, a robust woman caught my eye. “Frohe Weihnachten.” “Merry Christmas,” I waved back. And I meant it.
Although the Weihnachtsmarkt is certainly about shopping, it is also about enjoying the magic of the season: the music, the festivity, the family and the friendly faces. As I meandered the small alleyways out of Monschau, I was transported for a moment to my own Christmases past, and I remembered what Christmas was once about for me: A time of believing, singing, my grandma’s chocolate-chip cookies, and a tattered copy of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, the famous 19th century poem by American author Clement C. Moore.
If only I had purchased the braided Santa hat.As I drove back home, a song popped into my head … Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Hark! Could it be I was cured?! Yes, Scrooge has left the building! Deck the halls because Santa Claus is coming to town!
If You Go