Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography


Jakesprinter’s challenge this week offers an additional opportunity to post something in keeping with my month-long theme “Visions of the Holidays”.  See other entries on Jake’s site here.

It’s December the 23rd and I still had to shop for a Christmas gift to give to my neighbor and friend, Gerda.  She has been celebrating Christmas with my family ever since her husband died on his birthday, December 25,2007.  This year I had a hard time trying to think of a gift for her.

When I went to get my picture taken with Santa today, I stopped  at one of the chalets located in the middle of a new Traditional European Holiday Market in downtown Pittsburgh. Each chalet was operated by different merchants carrying hand-made and fresh-baked crafts from around the world.

Old German Christmas Shoppe

Gerda is German and I thought I would get her something from the Old German Christmas Shop.  The shop contained authentic hand-blown and hand-painted glass ornaments crafted by artisans in Germany for over 150 years.  Below is what I found.


Christmas Pickle

According to the tag that came with this ornament, this mouth blown and hand-painted glass ornament has been created in keeping with the age-old German family traditions.  The legend of the Christmas Pickle.   This is a tradition that starts many years ago.  The Christmas tree was decorated with glass balls and ornaments.  Among these decorations one special pickle ornament was carefully placed within the boughs of the tree.  On Christmas morning, the first child who found the pickle gets an extra Christmas gift.  See more information here and here.


German Smoker

For over five thousand years now, incense, just like gold, spices and gems have always been some of the most precious gifts that were given to kings and emperors. It has also been closely connected with religion. In fact, the bible mentions the Three Wise Men offering gold, frankincense and myrrh. The festivity of the Three Wise Men is still celebrated in Germany every year on January 6th.  See more information here and here.

I purchased this smoker, which represents an electrician ( which was Gerda’s profession ) along with a box of incense cones.  The cones are placed on the pipe in the smokers mouth and then lit.  It is important to place the smoker on a fireproof base.  I have this one on my tree just to show you.




15 Responses to “SUNDAY POST: CHRISTMAS”

  1. Lovely – and so nice to hear of people sharing Christmas with ‘waifs’, as we used to call our Christmas day visitors without family, or far from home. Merry Christmas Francine 🙂

  2. Would you believe I have a Christmas pickle ornament I bought when we lived in Germany? How wonderful you share Christmas with Gerda.
    Merry Christmas Francine. Enjoy your family, friends and neighbors.

  3. I remember you mentioned Gerda last Christmas, Francine, and I thought it wonderful that you include her in your holiday plans. May we all have someone as thoughtful as you in our lives when we grow old.
    Have a Merry Christmas, Francine, with peace and joy in the New Year.

  4. Love the German smokers! They’re so festive and make a great Christmas gift! Wishing you a Blessed Christmas! 🙂

  5. Christmas Pickle ! I love that … sounds better that Gherkin 😀
    and the Smoker ! Fun.
    Merry Christmas Francine 🙂

  6. Really interesting!

  7. I’m going to start the tradition of the pickle with my children I think it will be fun… Hope they won’t knock the tree over trying to get an extra gift lol

  8. I bet Gerda will love her gift and its so nice to see some authentic items to be found 🙂

  9. Merry Christmas, Francine! All the best to you and your loved ones!

  10. I love it Francine, Merry Christmas my friend 🙂

  11. Touched a nerve, Francine. I have a close friend whose husband has just been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus and may well not be here next Christmas. They’re trying to make this a good one.

  12. Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year, Francine!

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  14. Ha! That’s so funny! My aunt has one of those glass pickles and is so proud of it. I have to say, it is kinda cute. 🙂

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