art, culture, photo-of-the-day, photography

Lens-Artists Photo Challange 128: “And Here Comes the Holiday Season…”

Yep! Holiday season. A strange holiday season at the end of a strange year. I know, this year is strange for all of us, all over the world. Many families in many countries looking back in anger because of a personal loss. Lots of fear for many people: will I get infected? Will a family member get infected? And when having symptoms, the fear changes to “I hope, it’s something else”. And after a confirmed infection, this changes again. Now the question is “will I survives and will I recuperate completely”. I guess I can understand these feelings as I got tested in June in Iceland and waiting for the result was not enjoyable. Earlier this week my wife got tested because of an infection. She (we) had to wait about 30 hours for getting the result. It turned out, the test was negative, but instead, she was diagnosed with a lung infection – also not good, but better as COVID19.

In a ‘normal’ year, December is the worst month of the year. Besides the necessary Christmas-related happenings, I have 13 birthdays during December in my closer family circle plus the close friends. 8 of them are still upcoming, including mine. So, it’s a lot of stress to get all the necessary visits and festivities coordinated. The other thing is, in general, I don’t like the early start of Christmas decorations and products in the supermarkets (really, is it necessary to start end of September selling this stuff????) and playing the same 5 or 6 Christmas songs for months in the shops (yes, Band-Aid, Wham and Mariah Carey are among them 😫). Similar situation, when turning the radio on. Call me Mr. Grinch, but I can’t stand this anymore. Ok, ok, I’m not that extreme as Mr. Grinch. I don’t hate Christmas at all and I don’t try to ruin it for others. But, I don’t like how we are showered with music, decorations, smells, and so on for such a long time each year and always the same kind of stuff. This has nothing in common with the idea of Christmas.

OK, this year is different. No driving to work and working from home instead saves me from hearing these songs over-and-over again in the car (I’d need to commute 2 hours per day). I also try to avoid entering a shop as I’m one of those with a high risk for a dramatic course. Christmas shopping is done either online or I delegated it. Even all the birthday parties are skipped and there no necessity to attend an Advent or Christmas celebration in the office, society, or church. Staying home a lot. I even participated in my first ever virtual Christmas party organized by a lady from my department. It was nice and entertaining. Among other things, she had a Christmas-related quiz organized: 20 questions around Christmas. I had 10 correct answers (it would have been 12 if I would have followed my first idea and not corrected) and in the end, I  ranked #13 out of 96. I guess that’s quite good despite the questions were sometimes very American and British. You could ask me, are there no happy feelings bound to Christmas? Sure, there are some 🙂

Here, we have a saying: Die Dosis macht das Gift (the dose makes the poison). Another one is “putting sugar in the honey”.

So, the grouching hour is over, Christmas season is around the corner. Here are a couple of Christmas related images from the past years. Btw. I want to tell you the greatest and most valuable Christmas present ever that I got: my daughter, my first child, was born the night before Christmas (Dec 23rd at about 22:00h). She really has Christmas spices in her blood! During December she’s always wearing a Santa Clause-like jelly bag cap either in red or in dark-blue with tons of little stars. But, both are having a white edge and pompon. Even her son has such a hat (he only has a red one). So, it’s quite funny to see them walking along the street like two of the dwarfs searching for Snowwhite.

In the past, I wrote a small series of posts on how Christmas and Advent look like here in Germany. Maybe your interested and check them out. They are all tagged with “Advent” and have “Cultural notes” in the subject.


a woodcarving crib


some Christmas cookies


Advent wreath


a home-made Advent calendar in our kitchen


a felt crib


a classical Christmas tree with the gifts for the kids under the tree


a detail of the Christmas tree (no wax candles anymore for security reasons)


a booth at the Christmas market


another booth at the Christmas market


So, thank you Ann-Christine for this wonderful theme, and forgive me for my grouching 😊

I wish you and your beloved a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2021!!

Take care!

art, flowers, photo-of-the-day, photography, world

Monochrome Madness 43

Todays photo for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness is something special. It’s a colorkey photo.

A colorkey photo is an ordinary monochrome photo, but with one color left in its original color. In my photos I left the red color of the berries of this bush. Only very few plants keep their leaves during winter, and this is one of them.

It’s an European Holly (Ilex aquifolium) and it shows leaves and fruits. There are several species around. They grow up to 2 to 25 m, depending on the species. This species grows up to 10 -15 m, on a 50cm trunk and can get about 300 years old.

The fruits are toxic for humans, but many birds need them to survive during winter. The leaves are steady and have stingy ends, as you can see in the first photo. At the bottom I attached one photo in its original toning for comparison.

Sometimes you can find holly sprays in Advent wreaths and other christmas related decorations. But, it’s not that common (at least in my area).

The plant itself is protected by certain laws here in Germany. You’re not allowed to cut it without permission.

Take care!

(as always: click on the photos to see them in a bigger size)





art, culture, photo-of-the-day, world

Waiting for Christmas

600_3060_wIn Germany we have a tradition of putting up an Advent calendar for the kids (and even the grown ups).
When I was a child I got a calendar made of cardboard with 24 little doors to open and a big picture related to Christmas. The picture showed i.e. a decorated Christmas tree, a sledge with colorful wrapped parcels, apples, oranges and nuts, a Christmas crib or something like that.  Behind each little door was also a symbol related to Christmas printed on transparent paper. That’s because the calendar was supposed to be erected on a table or the windows board and maybe a candle put behind to illuminate the calendar. Unfortunately, I’m unable to show such a calendar to you, because they are uncommon now.


Later, the Advent calendars were made of a cardboard box with 24 little pieces of chocolate inside, one for each day in December until Christmas. Christmas starts on Dec. 24th, here, and the kid get their gift on the evening of December 24th.

Some families create their own calendars, such as the one on the photo.

The other photo shows a piece of our Christmas decoration. The funny figurines are hanging on a knitted band from our kitchen ceiling.