By Pipka Ulvilden

It was cold. The snow was three feet deep. The Alps were looming in the background, dark and foreboding. The moon cast a blue light on the frozen lake. There was a cold quiet stillness in the air.

We walked along a path in the woods toward the twinkling lights of the village, clapping our mitten-covered hands to keep warm. Then, there it was, the village square, and dozens of wooden huts covered in thousands of starry lights, each one filled with colorful ornaments, toys, nutcrackers, and hand-carved creche sets. The fragrance of roasted nuts, bratwurst, gingerbread and gluhwein mingled with the fresh scent of pine trees. Children were singing  “Oh Tannenbaum” on a podium set in front of the steepled church surrounded by fresh-cut trees topped with lit stars. We gathered with the crowds, watched and listened. We drank gluhwein, ate sizzling bratwurst hot off the grill, nibbled on gingerbread hearts the size of a dinner plate and bought hand-carved ornaments.

Later that night, we’re no longer cold as we walked through the woods back to our hotel. On the contrary, we were filled with warm memories of a magical evening at the Christkindlmarkt in a quaint village nestled between the snow-covered mountains, under a star-filled sky, near a frozen lake in Bavaria. We will never forget.

Start your own memories of a Christkindlmarkt Christmas by attending the Sister Bay Historical Society’s 1st annual Christkindlmart held Nov.26-28, Dec. 3-5 and Dec 10-12 in Sister Bay, WI.