Christmas Markets and Adjusting Your Expectations

21 Nov

Every Christmas, market places around Prague are transformed into medieval villages by the appearance of little huts where home made crafts, decorations, traditional food and drink, and of course plastic toys and souvenirs are sold. Huge trees light up the place, and not only that, December is usually cold and crispy with a chance of snow. Perfect setting for getting that warm and sparkly Christmas spirit! For a country that has more or less left religion behind, they are all the more concerned with tradition. This combination suits me very well.

All day yesterday I was waiting like a child for the sun to set so that our little family could stroll down to my favourite market at Náměstí Miru. My head was spinning with anticipation over how my two-year-old would react to the beautiful tree and the special atmosphere created by adults chatting, children running around and the smells of hot wine and trdelnik (cake-thingy similar to a cinnamon bun). The fact is, being able to feel like a child again at Christmas is one of the main reasons I wanted to have kids in the first place.

It started well. She had her boots on before I could finish the sentence, “Do you want to go outside and look at a big Christmas tree?”, and like I expected, at the sight of the tree she explaimed, “Wooooooooow!!” with an enthusiasm only available to two-year-olds. We should have turned and gone home then, all three happy and full of that Christmas glow.


But I wanted trdelník and Steve wanted medovina (honey wine, as delicious as it sounds) and Matilda wanted a closer look at the Christmas tree. Since her birthday in October, she has fully grasped the concept of presents. She has also gathered that there is a connection between presents and Christmas trees, don’t ask me how. We queued for our treats, the child growing steadily more impatient, and when we finally made it over to the tree, imagine our surprise when she burst out crying, “Where are all the presents!?”.

“Where are all the presents!?”

We tried distracting her with the pretty lights, but to no avail. After half an hour we were all ready to go home. “I’m disappointed”, I said to Steve. “Don’t be”, he comforted. “She is tired and overwhelmed, and this is what kids do. You can’t take it personally and you can’t get upset every time this happens.” I was planning on ending this post with something like “And this is what growing up is like. Being a parent means you will never feel the same way about Christmas again”. However, I am listening to carols and therefore choose to end on a more cheerful note. I realise that Christmas spirit doesn’t come from the tree or the market or the smells or the presents in themselves. They come from tradition, and right now, my daughter doesn’t have any. By taking her to the Prague markets and carrying on the traditions Steve and I grew up with, I will eventually get to experience Christmas through her eyes. I do believe in Santa, I do, I do!

Look at the pretty lights!


One Response to “Christmas Markets and Adjusting Your Expectations”

  1. Eva Louise November 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Haha Milda! Kan tenkes at hun har lært litt om gaver fra Tante Sprock.

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