Retrofitting Vintage

This Week’s Old-Fashioned Pleasures 12-25-17

Okay, so this is really two week’s worth of old-timey things that brought me joy.

Most of them are holiday-related, and let’s take a moment to celebrate that the days are getting longer and the light is coming back.

    1. The Christkindl Market
      The Christkindl Market is a relatively new Chicago tradition–it’s been in operation only since 1996–but open-air Christmas markets have been a tradition in Germany since the 16th century. For a modern day look at a German Christmas market, check out the incomparable Lily Jarlsson’s video tour.

      The Market takes up most of Daley Plaza, and features international vendors of gifts, food, and handicrafts. I like it, but it gets crowded. So this year, I decided to check out the smaller, more locally-focused, new Christkindl Market at the Park at Wrigley Field.It was delightful. Centered around the ice rink at Wrigley, it hit all the notes of “wintery idyllic scenes,” and “super lovely handicrafts” without any of the usual, “Now I’m getting pushed and squished and cannot see anything, please cancel Christmas, because I hate everyone,” elements that have been A Problem at Daley Plaza for me in the past.

      Me and my mama, with space for a selfie at the Christkindl Market.
    2. Socks!
      I didn’t plan for a very sock-filled Christmas, but I ended up getting everyone on my list socks without planning on it. Our family gift theme was “space,” so there were several pairs of Dr. Who socks. Then, my grandfather needed some new socks. And while at the above-mentioned Christkindl Market, I found a pair of incredibly thick and fleecy socks, which I felt pretty much compelled to get for Bob.

      I’m also wearing a lot of knee socks. My theory of cold weather dressing is that tights+leggings+tall socks+slip+wool skirt=warmer than pants. So far, this is proving true.

      On top of all that, I’m knitting a sock. Eventually, it will be a pair, but right now, I’m just concentrating on the one. It’s been a fun project, but I’m very grateful I do not have to knit every sock I want to wear.

      It’s not the prettiest heel, or the sturdiest heel, but by gum, it is a heel.
    3. Candles
      We marked the Solstice, and the light is returning, but it’s still cold and dark. A warm little light, then, is just what’s in order.  I’ve been enjoying a Charles Dickens-themed one from the Paddywax “Library” Collection. It’s heavily clove and orange, with just a little note of juniper. It does, in fact, smell like Christmas. And it came in a little tin, even better.

    4. Glögg
      A cup or two of Swedish mulled wine at Simon’s Tavern (in operation since 1934!) is a crucial part of my holiday season. Chicago Magazine helpfully made this video about Glögg at Simon’s, so that you can benefit from their pretty pictures. My pictures are always strange, because it’s dark at Simon’s.

5. Snow!

Okay, so this one is controversial, but Michigan got a truly snowy Christmas, and I loved it. Except when I was driving in it on Christmas Eve.  I did not love that. But watching the snow from inside, or walking through the woods while it’s softly falling are favorite things, and I got to do both on my brief trip. I returned to a frigid and snowy Chicago, and honestly, I’m enjoying that, too.

What’s made your week bright?


  1. I am sad I did not know about the Wrigley Christmas market! I skip the downtown one for all the reasons you mentioned. Next year!

    And family gift themes?! That is a new concept for me!

    1. I really hope they do the Wrigley one again!

      We started doing themed gifts a couple years back. It’s something Bob’s family has done for years, and they’ve come up with some good ones!

      One of the fun things is to see how people interpret the theme. Last year’s was “noir,” and we had a range of gifts related to film noir, things that were black, books, and things like, “This is a perfume a femme fatale would wear.” The space theme got pretty widely interpreted, too.

      Hope your holiday was lovely!

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