Christmas in the snow is just magical; Gluhwein. Christmas markets. St Nicholas. Candles. Pine. Chocolate. Happy people.
We got into the Christmas spirit from the 1st December, the children got a present from “Julemanden” which we call Santa in Danish, every morning, mostly it was chocolate, but also small toys some days, but the chocolate was the best present, despite the kids not having many toys at all in our new home - yet.
We found a local Christmas market that was on a late afternoon in Fugen, oh the large firepits, charming Gluhwein, cookie & craft stalls and the visit of St Nicholas and Krampus was the finale.
The Markets was our second best authentic Austrian Christmas experience after meeting St Nicholas and Krampus on the 6th December at our neighbours house!
We got invited to join our landlord-family for a very special event - Krampusnacht. St Nicholas is accompanied by Krampus on home visits around the village. St Nicholas has information about the children, praises them for having been good but also tells them if they shall behave better, and finishes with handing out a goodie bag, all along Krampus was hanging around in the background with his bundle of birch branches.
Having Krampus follow along into a family living room is very frightening for the children, the Austrian girls that had seen him before was more frightened than our jetlagged, half asleep kids who had no idea what we were supposed to expect. It was very impressive to experience this Alpine tradition so close up, we were very hounored to be invited along.
We had family visit us from both Denmark and Australia at Christmas and it was wonderful, my best memory is dancing around the Christmas tree with the presents underneath, literally, while singing Christmas carols. Well we had a miniature tree - placed on a coffetable, but we where more than 50% Danes so we had to dance around it while singing on Christmas eve. Mr K loved it! It was a great night.
And regarding our miniature plastic tree, we had hoped to buy a real tree for the kids, but didn’t know where to find one, as without a car we did not venture too far around! Last minute I did come across the secret spot where the locals bought theirs, but didn’t have cash on me, hence I wasn’t going there with plans to bring anything back home, It was at the recycling station/council workshop. That was only open twice a week for a few hours - but this is a whole different story, worth it’s own chapter!
Back to Christmas eve and dancing around our coffetable - oh Christmas tree, Mr K who was 2 thought it was awesome and had a big smile on his face during every song. This Christmas has been great for the kids; chocolate, toys, presents, markets, St Nicholas & Krampus, snow and loving family members around them to play with, read books with, explore outdoors and ski with.
We arrived at Ried im Zillertal with just enough winter clothing to get us from the airport to our new home. Old ski gear for mum and dad, hand me down starfish suit for the youngest and a flash new green Quicksilver ski set for the oldest, purchased with a slight discount at an Brisbane ski store at the end of the Australian winter.