March 1, 2020
St. Patrick’s Day Is Coming!…
Every year I set a deadline for myself: must have the tree and decorations down and put away by St. Patrick’s Day, which is March 17. I don’t know why it has to be St. Patrick’s Day, but I guess I feel a little silly if we get close to Easter and my tree is still gracing my house! So it’s time to pack away the ornaments and enjoy them one more time before they are tucked into the BIG green tub until next year!
If you’ve seen the cover of my book (The Girl Who Found Christmas), you might guess that I really like snowmen! But you might not know just how much I like snowmen! From the time I was a little girl, I noticed that snowmen always smile. They are never cranky or mean. And every single snowman is so – individual!
Several years ago I had the good fortune of visiting Vienna and Salzburg on a choir trip. We sang in cathedrals all over Europe over the years, but cities in Austria and Germany often have really special Christmas markets – with lots of snowman ornaments.
On the flight to Vienna, I made sure that my suitcase was not too full. I wanted to be sure I had room to bring home plenty of snowman ornaments for my tree. And I found some that continue to gladden my heart year after year! I wandered the Christkindlmarket Vienna – which was like a wonderland for grownups! Everything from ornaments to Christmas cookies to warm sweaters and tiny toys. I found snowmen that were metal. And some were stuffed. Some looked like bandleaders and others like walnut shells with hats!
In between singing with the choir and exploring coffee shops in Vienna, I hung out in the Christkindlmarket at every opportunity. Not all of my choir friends were as crazy about snowmen as I was, but all of us loved Vienna. We got in a little trouble in our hotel one evening by singing Christmas carols a little louder than the hotel management was used to! But, after all, we were a choir and we were used to singing. So we behaved ourselves after that and only sang in St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Vienna) and Salzburg Cathedral. It took us most of a day to get to Salzburg because it was snowing, but we didn’t mind. A bus full of Floridians driving through a snowstorm was a new experience!
And one favorite memory to share before I go back to packing up ornaments – our return trip to Vienna from Salzburg was at dusk, and we were able to look out the back of the bus at the Alps. Someone started singing the songs from The Sound of Music, and that became a memory I had to place on my tree when I got home. Memories, music, friends – and snowmen! What a great trip!