My Favorite Christmassy Things! Day 11

I’m pleased to be part of a dozen authors who’ve gotten together through time and space to present My Favorite Christmassy Things! My post today is the eleventh of 12. We’ve got some grand prizes that you can get in on and LOTS of individual giveaways (I have a mini-giveaway of my own today – read to the end to see what it is). But the grand prize is big ol’ box of books and there are two smaller grand prizes to be won. I have a list of all the other participating authors at the end of my post here so that you can get in on the big good stuff and the individual giveaways. I was given the prompt My Favorite Christmas Vacation. So here it is.

Mittelbrunn, Germany

To be honest, Christmas 1991 wasn’t exactly spent on vacation. I’ve actually never been on vacation at Christmas time. I’ve either been at home with my big extended family or at home with my own little one. But that particular Christmas my husband and our then three children were living in southern Germany in a sweet little village called Mittelbrunn. My husband was in the Air Force at the time and stationed at Ramstein airbase. We lived 15 minutes away from the base in a skinny but splendid four-story house with tile floors with woods for a backyard and a little corner bakery that I could send the kids to get brotchen from and American neighbors on the other side of us in case I needed to borrow something I only knew the English word for. The village was so tiny, there was only the bakery, a gasthaus, a church or two and seven hundred or so German residents.

That was the Christmas that we fell in love with lebkuchen and pfeffernusse. It was the Christmas where I attended my first Christmas market in Rothenberg (see the video!) and where I learned how to properly say “Fröhliche Weihnachten” and  I nearly sounded like I had grown up saying Merry Christmas like that.

But the best part of that Christmas was waking up minutes before dawn on Christmas morning to the sound of church bells. The world outside our bedroom window was a shade of pale sapphire in those moments before sunrise. Snow glittered like diamonds on the streets and rooftops in the waning moonlight. And even though the world was still asleep those bells rang out with such joy.

It was as if the very air outside the house was calling out, “He’s here! He’s here! It’s Christmas! Wake up! Wake up! The savior of the world is here!” I didn’t mind for a second that the pealing of those bells tugged me from slumber and the children too. Those bells made me want to run outside with chimes of my own and ring out a response. I had never heard bells on Christmas morning like that, not like that. There has never been another Christmas quite like that one. We left Germany eleven months later in November 1992. That was to be my first and only Christmas in Germany. But I’ve never forgotten the sound of those bells.

Me, today, with lebkuchen I got at World Market.

I still eat lebkuchen every Christmas and I drink the same German coffee I fell in love with while there but I don’t live where it snows anymore and I don’t live where church bells ring out the arrival of Christmas Day. There is no little corner bakery I can send my children to and even if I could, my children are not children anymore. But I am so grateful for the gift of memory that allows us to revisit Christmasses past so that we can relive treasured times and those oh so scarce moments that remind us the true reason we celebrate anything at all this time of year.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come!

He’s here.

Fröhliche Weihnachten, friends!

Here on my blog I am giving away one early reader’s copy of my soon-to-be-released novel (March 2019), THE LAST YEAR OF THE WAR, which incidentally takes place here in the States and in Germany, not very far from where I lived for a year and a half, You can be on the drawing for it by just saying hello here in the comments and on Dec 22, I’ll have choose a winner from those who  comment.

Do check out all the other blog posts below for chances to win fun stuff and for sure don’t forget to click on the Rafflecopter for the BIG prizes! Thanks for stopping by…


Dec 10: Catherine West – Welcome to My Favorite Christmassy Things

Dec 10: Cynthia Ruchti – My Favorite Christmas Tree

Dec 11:  Tamara Leigh – My Favorite Christmas Carol

Dec 12: Lauren K. Denton – My Favorite Christmas Disaster

Dec 13: Ronie Kendig – My Favorite Christmas Movie

Dec 14: Jody Hedlund – My Favorite Christmas Food

Dec 15: Elizabeth Byler Younts – My Favorite Christmas Ornament

Dec 16: Beth K. Vogt – My Favorite Christmas Decoration

Dec 17: Rachel Linden – My Favorite Christmas Service

Dec 18: Courtney Walsh – My Favorite Christmas Memory

Dec 19: Rachel Hauck – My Favorite Christmas Book

Dec 20: Susan Meissner – My Favorite Christmas Vacation

Dec 21: Catherine J. West – My Favorite Christmas Gift

Enter by midnight on 12/21/18 USA Eastern time! Winners will be drawn on 12/22/18 and posted on Catherine West’s site.

Draw open to US addresses ONLY, with apologies to our international readers.

Major Prizes:

1st: All 12 Print Novels
2nd: $50 Amazon gift card and $20 Starbucks Gift Card
3rd: $50 Amazon gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author: Susan

This post has 27 Comments

  1. Catherine West on December 20, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Oh, what a beautiful memory!! I love seeing how people in other countries celebrate Christmas! Thanks so much for being a part of our Christmassy Things tour! And I would LOVE to read an early copy of your next release!!!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  2. Sonnetta Jones on December 20, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Those are the memories that you carry forever. One of my favorite Christmas vacation took place in Trinidad. I was reminded of how much my culture love the holidays. It was a time of celebration.

  3. Cathy on December 20, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    What a fun memory as well as an educational and enjoyable story for your blog readers. One of our family friends was in the military and stationed in Germany…..we have seen many lovely pictures. I am looking forward to your next release, as I so enjoyed the last one.

  4. Nancy on December 20, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    I enjoyed reading about your Christmas in Germany. I think bells should ring out everywhere on Christmas morning! What a great way to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Merry Christmas.

  5. Dawn on December 20, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Your memory of Germany makes me want to book a flight and find a cozy inn and take in a wonderful Christmas! Am looking forward to your new book! Merry Christmas!

  6. Kristi Thomason on December 20, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Hello Susan! It’s been a while since I’ve actually visited your blog, though I do get your emails, so I am up on what you’ve been doing. Two of my siblings have had Christmases in Germany, also military families! What a wonderful place to be for the Christmas holiday, if you must be away from your extended family.

  7. Ann Marie Wellman on December 20, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Hello and Merry Christmas! I enjoy your books and look forward to your newest one. Thank you for sharing your Christmas story and for being part of this fun Christmas giveaway.

  8. Amanda T on December 20, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Merry Christmas!! Thanks for sharing with us!

  9. Jennifer Rumberger on December 20, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    That sounds like a wonderful Christmas., especially the bells!

  10. Sherry A. on December 20, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Sue, I was expecting a memory about Christmas in England, but then I realized you went to Germany after England. It would be grand to win. I am looking forward to your new release. Happy Christmas my friend.

  11. Dianna on December 20, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    I love books that teach me about new places!

  12. MJSH on December 21, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Thanks for sharing with us! We haven’t gone on many Christmas vacations since my husband and/or I end up working but this year we’re traveling to Philadelphia for a long weekend with the family! It’ll be super fun!

  13. Danielle Hammelef on December 21, 2018 at 12:49 am

    Thanks for the chance! I don’t get to travel much so I love to travel through books. Merry Christmas!

  14. Caryl Kane on December 21, 2018 at 1:51 am

    Susan, thank you for sharing your adventure in Germany. Merry Christmas!

  15. Lisa Hudson on December 21, 2018 at 2:06 am

    What a beautiful Christmas story! We’ve only been on one Christmas Trip & it will forever be known as “The Great Christmas Disaster Trip!” Our children were in 4th & 7th Grades (I think) & we left our home on Christmas Day to go to Nashville, TN. We were all so excited! We had to wait to leave until after family commitments were over. It’s about a 6 hour drive but the time changes so it ends up being 7 hours. We had to stop & eat & it was some gross, greasy spoon 24/7 Breakfast place. I’m not overly picky, but the food was NASTY. It really didn’t agree with me. I was dealing with lots of GI issues & discovered that Sprite was my Miracle Cure on that Trip. As soon as we got our luggage in the room, my husband got soooo sickkk! Just the thought makes me queasy now! I ended up in the bed between my kids (the boys were sleeping together & our son BAILED as you can imagine!”) Hubs was sick all night long. Took 1/2 the day to find an after hours Clinic that was open & still waited for HOURS. All the ERs were slammed. Determined he had Food Poisoning – STUNNER! We left him in the room all drugged up & the children & I and the 124,682 Teenage Cheerleaders holding their Competition at the Opryland Hotel attempted to walk and look at the sites. He was much better by Day 2 and most of our Trip was salvaged.

  16. Pam Paskewitz on December 21, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Thank you for sharing. What a lovely memory!!!

  17. Winnie Thomas on December 21, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Thanks for your fun post! I loved reading about your Christmas in Germany. It brought back memories of my trip there. We went to Rothenburg and thought it was fascinating. I must admit that the Schneeball we tasted there wasn’t a hit with us! My mother’s parents were both from Switzerland, so we have a lot of Swiss/German recipes in our family. I especially love our Swiss bread recipe.

  18. Karen Hoyt on December 21, 2018 at 10:56 am

    I have never had a Christmas vacation either. I worked in retail for years so I usually worked very hard the week before and then again the week after. My favorite Christmas memory was the joy I felt giving my husband-to-be (in two days) Christmas presents. I finally found out it was truly more blessed to give than to receive.

  19. Jessica on December 21, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Christmas in Germany looks so magical! May you have a wonderful Christmas as you drink German coffee and make new memories. Thank you for this opportunity ?!

  20. Carrie on December 21, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    Wow! I’d love to hear church bells Christmas morning!!!
    Your story gave me goose bumps and tears!

  21. Megan L. on December 21, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story. Merry Christmas!

  22. Kerri Norrod on December 21, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing how you spent Christmas in Germany. Merry Christmas!

  23. Susan on December 21, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Hey, Dawn! Congrats! picked you as the winner! I will send you an email so that you can provide me with your maiing address. Thanks to ALL who commented!!

  24. Suzannah Clark on December 21, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    I got to visit Germany back in the 80’s before the wall came down. What a gorgeous country.
    Merry Christmas

  25. Pam on December 22, 2018 at 1:55 am

    My family also spent a year in Germany when my husband was in the army. We went to several Christmas markets which were very enjoyable. The kids and I flew home for Christmas so we missed hearing Christmas bells.

  26. Mallori N. on December 22, 2018 at 2:36 am

    What a beautiful memory. There is something special about celebrating a holiday in another country, or even in another state, away from family and the familiar.

  27. Letitia Marriott on December 23, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Hello…. I’m a day late but that’s my style! Funny your Christmas story was from 1991. That was my best Christmas ever as my son who wasn’t due tii Jan 7th decided he could not wait! My first grandaughter is due Jan 5th and I wonder if she will share her Uncles Birthday! Merry Christmas Susan.. I’ve recently discovered your books and I can’t get my hands on them fast enough!

Leave a Comment