December in Brussels

A look back at ghosts of Christmases past.

Grand Place at Christmas - Brussels, Belgium

One of my favorite places to be in December (or any other time of year really) is Brussels. The Grand Place is spectacular at night. The Christmas market sells little bites of heaven—chocolate, beignets, macarons and cuberdons. There’s an ice rink, ferris wheel, luge and two amazing vintage carousels.

We were here for Zwanze Day at Moeder Lambic in 2012. Afterward we watched the lights in Grand Place, ate at the market stalls, witnessed some sort of protest march, laughed at the closed “non-stop sex show” and the “visit America” display in a travel agency window, intoxicated by the city and maybe a little Cantillon.

Brussels, Belgium Christmas market

The next day, we returned for carousel rides and big white sausages. The kids strangely chose to ride the exact dinosaur and rocket they rode when we visited two years earlier. And then, in true Belgian fashion, it began to rain.

Christmas in Brussels Belgium


    DIY Festivus Pole

    Sometimes I have these flashes of brilliance. Like when I figured out I could clean the tile wall in my German bathroom with a mop. Or put lemon juice in a Misto and spray guacamole to keep it from turning brown.

    I’ve been trying, for a while now, to figure out how to erect a Festivus Pole. And in the spirit of Festivus, do it with minimal time and effort, so we can can get on to the most important part: The Airing of Grievances.

    Queue flash of brilliance. Aka Christmas tree stand.

    how to make a diy festivus pole
    DIY Festivus Pole
    This whole project should take approximately 2 minutes and cost less than $20. Mine was $0 because I happen to have all this crap laying around.

    1 Christmas tree stand
    1 Shower rod
    Sign & Decorations (optional)

    1. Stick shower rod into Christmas tree stand
    2. Tighten screws
    3. Erect the pole
    4. Begin airing grievances

    I’m quite sure that to my neighborhood HOA-holes this looks like a stripper pole. So I added a “Happy Festivus” sign to clarify. You can make your own sign or use mine. Click here to download.

    Decorating the pole is 100% optional. If you want to get technical, a traditional Festivus Pole should be unadorned. I went with the lazy I mean traditional pole.

    Don’t know Festivus? Read about it here.

    diy festivus pole


      I need this: Life-size advent calendar in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany

      I have a motivation problem. Christmas is days away. Barely any shopping is done. The decorations are still in the attic. And I can’t muster the “holiday spirit” to accomplish any of that crap.

      It just doesn’t seem like Christmas time. Why is that? Maybe because it’s 80 degrees outside. 80 DEGREES. In December. Yes, I’m in Florida, but come on. Can we get more than 2 days of winter? I use the word “winter” loosely.

      What I really need is a walk thru the ridiculously grand holiday displays at my old garden center Tuincentrum Daniels in Vlodrop (no one does visual merchandising like the Dutch!) or reibekuchen mit pommes (amazing potato pancakes with apple sauce) from a German Christmas market.

      Or maybe this. The life-size advent calendar in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany.

      Bernkastel-Kues, Germany's Christmas market with life-size advent calendar

      Life-size advent calendar at Bernkastle-Kues, Germany Christmas market

      How cool is this to count down to Christmas? The giant advent calendar in on the apotheke in Bernkastel’s main square. Every day a different hand-painted fairy-tale scene is revealed.

      Bernkastel is already adorable with all the half-timbered houses, but even better during the holidays. Here are some more pics of the decorated village—from when we there for the Christmas market. You may recognize some of these places from our previous trip.

      Christmas market in Bernkastel-Kues, Germany

      I love this guy’s costume. He saw me lurking around and was kind enough to pose for a picture