By Heidi Trautmann
Santa Claus has some fine helpers around the island, I saw them working months before Christmas. Cutting, sawing, sewing, painting all sort of things they thought people would like to buy at the Christmas Market for a charitable cause. I saw them walking in the hills collecting branches from trees and bushes to use them for the advent wreaths. And I know of ladies who are known to make the best mince and other pies.
Many of us are waiting for the occasion to find a little treasure for a present, dolls and toys for the grandchildren, woven or knitted or hand made little nice nonsense which one would like to wrap up and put under the Christmas tree, or leave in the cupboard for a friend’s birthday. I just love it and I know I would always find something nice.
It is a lot of work for the organisers to set up such an event, especially when it is all for charity, you depend on coworkers, on enthusiastic people who give their time to do all the preparations, or to be in the organizing team, which means looking for a suitable place every year, setting up individual teams for all sorts of jobs, for advertising, planning the spaces, getting donations for the raffle, setting that up. Then in special cases such as KAR (Kyrenia Animal Rescue) it means sorting the material which has come in over the year to offer them on special tables such as for books and 2nd hand clothes. Every year KAR has its calendars with pretty animal photos, note books and pads to stick on the fridge; this year there was a painting competition in schools to show their idea of animals, especially dogs and cats; they were printed as post cards and I bought the whole collection to send them to my grandchildren in America.
Every year the organizers think of something special to get the attention of the citizens, to make families and children come and be together, listen to Christmas songs and have some mince pies and mulled wine (at 11 in the morning!), talk to each other and perhaps buy something. The stall owners dress up and thus you will find yourself enface with many Santas, and many Christkindls of all ages. One of the highlights of this year were for me the appearance of the Kismet Singers at the Carpenter’s Friday Market in Karaoglanoglu, who, complete with electric piano and singers, directed and accompanied by Francine Ash, had come and given us a lovely show of Christmas songs making us sing with them from a sheet they had distributed.
What a lovely idea!
The other most successful idea was to invite Santa Claus to the Teachers Hotel in Kyrenia for the KAR visitors to bring their children to; and they all came, Turkish and Cypriot families, German and British kids, and they were invited to sit on Santa Claus’ knees and to receive a present from his hands….And the kids loved it, and the moms loved it.
This year I missed the handicraft stalls, or the stalls with Christmas cookies other than mince pies; I had thought I could avoid doing them myself. I remember that I got so many pretty handmade things, a blanket my husband is still using to put his feet under when he retires for his siesta, or things for the kitchen I love using. This year, the only stall with truly handmade Christmas objects was the one with advent wreaths, artistic creations of pine cones all in gold, palm cuttings decorated with twigs, cones and dried fruit; lovely creations of delicate material filled with mountain herbs or lavender. Christa, Ilka and Tüneysel are a team for many years now, and for many weeks before the event, Tüneysel’s outside kitchen house is filled knee-deep with decorative material. It is with love they do something for animals with artistic hands and joyful hearts. Suzee, well known for her party service had her mince pies and mulled wine for sale and the wine was donated from Mehmet Bebep of Küp Wine, I was pleasantly surprised to see him mentioned.
There were other Xmas markets I could not go to, the St.Andreas Church event, then there was the Cancer charity one at Pia Bella Hotel; I also didn’t go to the Goethe Institute market in the buffer zone of Nicosia, which was not so well visited as last years, I heard.
But also here engagement of people is needed, and I admire those who give their free time, their inspiration and love to a cause to make the Christmas markets a success.
I want to make an appeal: Ladies and girls, get your needles out and do something by hand for next year’s occasion, it would help an important cause, fathers and grandfathers, get your tools and make a doll’s house, or furniture for it or a rocking horse, or just some wooden bricks for the kids. Just sit back and remember what you liked to play with in your childhood days. It would keep you away from mischief, boredom and television.
Give it a thought and in the meantime let us thank those who showed passion and engagement.