Friday, December 07, 2007

Switzerland In Dezember

Switzerland in Dezember is magical. Very near the birthplace of Kris Kringle (Santa Clause), the Christmas decorations are breathtaking. Everywhere you look, store displays are strung with lights and brightly colored bows & boughs. Dotted along the streets are gigantic Christmas trees decorated to delight locals and visitors as they hustle to and fro through the freezing cold & chilling rain with full shopping bags.

I take tram #7 down Bahnhofstrasse just to see the street & store decorations and vendors hawking their wares of hot cider, sausages, chocolates, and Christmas trinkets. All around, people are huddled in heavy coats and colorful hats enjoying the festive atmosphere with family and friends. The only thing missing from this almost picture-perfect scene is a host of carolers (and maybe some snow).

As I round the corner of some out-of-the-way street, I hear a most beautiful sound. CAROLERS! More precisely, it's a singing Christmas tree. There are children sitting in (not on) a tall tree-shaped stage singing Christmas carols in different languages. It's a street festival. In addition to the carolers, there's an area to pick out and purchase your live Christmas tree and drink hot chocolate. It's a picture perfect scene after all.

Singing Christmas Tree
After listening to the singing a while, I head back to the main street. I blink. I blink again. Can it be? Nooo! Guess who's coming down the track in his own little red train car?! It's Santa! Mind you, I haven't believed in Santa Clause since my mother told me he didn't exist when I was 7 years old. However, at that moment I believed as he rang his little bell and waved at me. "Yes, Santa," I mentally project. "I've been good this year."

Santa's Train

Funny, but Zürich was not my idea of fun in Dezember because I hate the cold. My friend, Greg, wanted a group of us to go for his birthday. The lure of Swiss chocolates convinced me to go and I am so glad I did. I thank GOD for allowing me to experience such a magical time in such a magical place.