Perry Como. Johnny Mathis. Bing Crosby. The Chipmunks. They've all put their signature voices on this holiday classic. And I am cheerily belting it out right along with them in Salzburg.
The annual Christkindlmarkt, or Christmas market, has begun in town which means the spirit of the holidays is buzzing here. Various cobblestone squares filled with local holiday-ware merchants. The smell of hot chestnuts wafting from street corner vendors. Echoing choirs singing from the Dom steps. People milling about with cups of hot seasonal drinks like gluhwein (mulled wine- ok) and orange punsch (flavored alcoholic punch- no need to have again).
All of the above are at the command of each square's Christmas tree- of which I was present for two different tree-lighting ceremonies. The burgermeister spoke. The traditional-garbed concert band and local mens' clubs streamed their way through the Altstadt (I weaseled my way up behind them for a picture with the tree). And the cannon they wheel out each and every time for such events blew my eardrums out. Again.
I'm positive they hand a how-to-decorate-tastefully manual to every local store and building owner this time of year. Charming doesn't even begin to cover it. The traditional kaiserschmarren dessert I order at the cafe I frequent practically makes itself simply because I can't get enough of the adorable, holiday-hued alley the cafe is in (see pic with umbrella cart below). And I'm surprised the salespeople at the Christmas in Salzburg store haven't called the cops on me yet with as much as I loiter in front of their shiny, festive windows.
If this all sounds a little too peace, love, joy, well, it is. There are no commercials for holiday blowout sales and lights about town glow with refinement. I can only estimate there are about 20 churches in the quaint Altstadt vicinity alone so Advent takes center stage and everything else has a supporting role. A beautifully played, award-winning role though if I do say so myself.