Tag Archives: Christmas markets

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving & Christmas traditions inspire creative work

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI – From our family to yours, I would like to wish everyone a great Thanksgiving. Like many, I consider Thanksgiving a kick-off to the holiday season filled with joy and traditions.

Being the little kid that I am, I love to discover new things and start new traditions.

Last night, I watched the 90th Anniversary special of the Thanksgiving Macy’s Parade in NYC.

In awe, I watched the balloons flying seven stories high, and I wished I could be in one of the apartments watching the parade at the same level as the balloons fly by you.

“What is your favorite character?” was the question at large during the TV anniversary special.

Living here in the 70s, I loved the Peanuts, and pretty much I didn’t know anything else.

“Of course it’s Lucy,” I laughed.

“Mine is Popeye,” said Ludek.

Since, I am not from this country, I have only heard about the famous parade in NYC. I don’t know what I’ve been doing up until now, but I definitely haven’t been watching TV on any given Thanksgiving morning.

Like most women, I must have been cooking and getting the house ready for the guests.

But, last night’s anniversary special about the Macy’s Parade totally changed my perspective on Thanksgiving.

I got up early this morning to get a head start in the kitchen, so I could be ready by 9 a.m. to watch the parade and start a new Thanksgiving tradition.

“How come the communist parades in Czechoslovakia didn’t have these cool balloon characters or the floats?” I asked my husband Ludek.

“They did,” he laughed, “Don’t you remember the allegoric vehicles?”

“Is that what they called the floats?” I smiled. “What did they look like?”

“I don’t remember,” Ludek said.

That’s the problem with time as it passes by like a parade, you don’t remember all of them. But, some stick in your mind.

I am a natural lover of all parades. They inspire my creative work. A hometown parade in Lowell, MI in October of 2006 with a clown theme prompted me to write the short story, “Riddleyville Clowns” © copyright Emma Palova.

Three years later based on the short story, I penned the screenplay “Riddleyville Clowns” © copyright Emma Palova.

Along with the short story “Tonight on Main” © Emma Palova, these two original works have base in small town America.

“Mom, that’s a great story,” said my daughter Doc Emma.

“Really?” I paused in disbelief.

I have learned to love dearly this piece of Americana; that is the traditional parades.

And I rejoiced, as I watched the 90th anniversary Macy’s Parade special when I found out that the Rockford Marching Band will be in the 2017 Macy’s parade.

I live 10 miles southeast of yuppie Rockford.

The two towns, rural Lowell & suburban Rockford, have engaged in an unfair competition in everything ranging from sports, bands to MEAP scores and more. Lowell steadily wins the sports competition not just with Rockford, but in the entire West Michigan region, under the tutelage of coach Noel Dean.

I suppose one day, coach Dean will be in one of the allegoric vehicles or honored as an oversized balloon floating high above the crowd.

Lowell will hold its night Christmas parade next Saturday on Dec. 3rd. Even though it’s a lot of vehicles sounding off sirens on Main, I still love the flavor of the parade with the marching bands and the Grinch, and finally Santa and his wife, Mrs. Santa.

“I would love to have an exuberant parade,” said Lowell Chamber director Liz Baker. “We have the village theme this year.”

My favorite is the Lowell Area Historical society float with horses and period costumes.

The noontime Christmas parade in 1999 set off my writing of the novel “Fire on Water” ©copyright Emma Palova.

I remember writing notes on a receipt from the Meijer store, while I waited for my son Jake who played the saxophone in the parade.

After all these years with all the parades, I still love clowns and the characters from Peanuts.

Have a great holiday season.

What is your favorite character?

About the featured photo: Prague Christmas markets on Wenceslas Square. Watch for stories about the Christmas markets in Europe that coincide with the Advent Sundays.

Copyright © 2016 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

Silver Sunday traditions

Silver Sunday ushers in Christmas

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Silver Sunday is the second Sunday before Christmas that literally makes the Christmas holiday fever rise by several degrees even though it is usually cold outside at this time of the year. It is also the third Sunday of the advent in the catholic religious year.

Outdoor Christmas markets in most European cities on major squares, are in full swing by now, and they will be open until Dec. 23rd & some on Dec. 24th. The rush is on for everything from nuts and poppy seeds for baking purposes, wooden toys and other crafts, apples and dried fruits, ornaments and keepsakes.

Christmas markets in Czech Republic
Christmas markets in Czech Republic. Photo by Adela Kobylikova

It’s also time to get a Christmas tree. Although back in Czech Republic most families decorated their tree on Christmas Eve, here in US our family has adapted to the custom of putting up the tree at least two weeks before the magical day.   Christmas Eve is a magical day, but a lot has been lost in the translation of the feast of Adam&Eve that falls on Dec. 24th in the Czech name day calendar.

In Czech language, that magical day is called “Stedry Den” which translates exactly as Bountiful Day. Families open a bounty of presents in the evening. I will write more about the customs of that day next week as we draw closer to Christmas.

And even though, I miss deeply some of the customs in Czech Republic, I have replaced them with new ones here in USA.

We cut our Christmas tree early and decorate it before Christmas Eve. Last year we took Ella with us to carry on the new tradition.

Ludek & Ella cut the Palova family Christmas tree at Horrocks Nursery
Ludek & Ella cut the Palova family Christmas tree at Horrocks Nursery

I couldn’t remember where the tree farms in the area are, so I looked it up on Google Christmas farms in Ionia County and found Horrocks Nursery Farms just north of the city of Ionia.

This year we don’t have our tree yet and I haven’t baked yet either. But my daughter-in-law Maranda Palova made our traditional nutty baskets with filling. I plan on baking chocolate flutes and chocolate mini Ischel cakes. Some Czech and European recipes come with a history. This one comes from the spa town of Ischel in Austria. The story has it that the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Josef used to frequent the bakery that made them in Ischel.

As with many recipes there are many variations of the mini Ischel cakes. My grandma Anna used to love them, so I always made them for her. I like to keep that tradition going.

Czech nutty baskets
Christmas nutty baskets

Now is also time to send and get cards even in the era of the web. Over the 20+ years here on the American continent, I’ve received hundreds of them, but kept only a few.

One of the few precious ones, a definite keepsake, is a card from Brno with a nativity scene and a score to a Christmas carol. One of the most precious cards that I had sent out was made from a photo at the Meijer store in Cascade.

Although I can’t find it now, I remember precisely what was on it. We were picking blueberries as a family on a farm near Ludington in the 90-degree heat. We’re all holding blue pales and shielding our heads from the scorching sun with funny hats. My daughter Emma was wearing a t-shirt with a Polar bear on it.

“Happy holidays,” the card with mistletoe clip art and snowflakes said.

Speaking about passing on traits and such; both my daughter and I have the same sense for juxtaposition.

For more information on Horrocks Christmas Tree farm go to http://www.horrocksnursery.com

To be continued with Golden Sunday

Copyright © 2014 Emma Blogs LLC All rights reserved

Silver Sunday

Silver Sunday escalates Christmas fever

By Emma Palova

Silver Sunday is the second Sunday before Christmas that literally makes the Christmas holiday fever rise by several degrees even though it is usually cold outside at this time of the year. It is also the third Sunday of the advent in the catholic religious year.

Outdoor Christmas markets in most European cities on major squares, are in full swing by now, and they will be open until Dec. 23rd & some on Dec. 24th. The rush is on for everything from nuts and poppy seeds for baking purposes, wooden toys and other crafts, apples and dried fruits, ornaments and keepsakes.

Christmas markets in Czech Republic
Christmas markets in Czech Republic. Photo by Adela Kobylikova

It’s also time to get a Christmas tree. Although back in Czech Republic most families decorated their tree on Christmas Eve, here in US our family has adapted to the custom of putting up the tree at least two weeks before the magical day.   Christmas Eve is a magical day, but a lot has been lost in the translation of the feast of Adam&Eve that falls on Dec. 24th in the Czech name day calendar.

In Czech language, that magical day is called “Stedry Den” which translates exactly as Bountiful Day. Families open a bounty of presents in the evening. I will write more about the customs of that day next week as we draw closer to Christmas.

And even though, I miss deeply some of the customs in Czech Republic, I have replaced them with new ones here in USA.

This year, we totally immersed ourselves into the tradition of cutting our own Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving because three-year old Ella from France was here. We did it many years ago when kids were little at a farm somewhere in Ionia County.

Ludek & Ella cut the Palova family Christmas tree at Horrocks Nursery
Ludek & Ella cut the Palova family Christmas tree at Horrocks Nursery

I couldn’t remember where, so I looked up on Google Christmas farms in Ionia County and found Horrocks Nursery Farms just north of the city of Ionia.

We were in for probably the best tree cutting experience in my entire life.

We waited in the pole barn for a horse-drawn wagon ride by a pair of some 2,000 pound Percheron horses named Clementine & Clodis. It was a crispy sunny Saturday, as we headed out on the tree farm. No snow yet. We found the lot with Scotch pines, and cut a beautiful Palova family Christmas tree. We chatted with a friendly guy who had the shotgun seat on the wagon.

Back, in the barn, we roasted marshmallows and hot dogs in the open fire wood stove as we helped ourselves to cider, hot chocolate and coffee, while Christmas movies and music were playing in the background.

“This is great,” I said to my husband Ludek. “Next year we’ll have Josephine with us too.”

Going back to Christmas customs both here and in Europe, now is also time to send and get cards even in the era of the web. Over the 20+ years here on the American continent, I’ve received hundreds of them, but kept only a few.

One of the few precious ones, a definite keepsake, is a card from Brno with a nativity scene and a score to a Christmas carol. One of the most precious cards that I had sent out was made from a photo at the Meijer store in Cascade.

Although I can’t find it now, I remember precisely what was on it. We were picking blueberries as a family on a farm near Ludington in the 90-degree heat. We’re all holding blue pales and shielding our heads from the scorching sun with funny hats. My daughter Emma was wearing a t-shirt with a Polar bear on it.

“Happy holidays,” the card with mistletoe clip art and snowflakes said.

Speaking about passing on traits and such; both my daughter and I have the same sense for juxtaposition.

To be continued……

Copyright © 2013 story and photo by Emma Palova