Marina Holthaus



Colored light strings, the smell of roasted almonds, advertising billboards with cuddly sweaters that surround me, while I am trying to get the last Christmas presents together. Each year I stress myself thinking about how I can make my loved ones happy and surprise them with a personal and unique gift. I find myself in front of none ending traffic jams, queuing up at tills and fighting my way through the festively decorated alleys. As much as I enjoy coming back home for Christmas, the more stressed I am beforehand. I don’t even try to add the planed appointment at the hairdresser to my to-do list.

While having arrived home, a loved tradition is already waiting. Each Christmas I bring my speciality: vanilla crescents. However, this year I am especially looking forward to our feast because I am getting to see my sister, who usually lives in Australia, and only celebrates every second Christmas with us. This year the time has come again. While I get on the train for 400 km tomorrow she has to travel more than 15,000 km. My anticipation is rising every minute, I finally get to see her again. Both of us share a lot in common – especially the love for the warm fragrance of vanilla during Christmas time.

So my eyes wander over the bags of gifts, paper, ribbons and cards. The ingredients have to be hidden somewhere. A vanilla pod, vanilla sugar, butter, flour, icing sugar and almonds. I always take whole almonds and out them in the mill. My handles have routine; the dough is ready and rests for a moment in the fridge. Here comes my favourite part: The crescents dough is formed into a thick roll and is being cut into small slices. The now formed biscuits are being put on the baking tray. My first attempts years ago were a disaster. Today everything works out like it’s written in a textbook.

While the cookies are in the oven, I take a seat at the kitchen window. Very gradually, the first snowflakes begin to fall. In the beginning I can still count them. Each year the moment of the first snow enchants me. The air of winter smells fresh, clear and a bit metallic. Not only the street, but also my decorated window sill looks like a white blanket has covered it.

I enjoy eating the steaming cookies, before I let them cool down and lay them carefully in the traditional cookie jar. Now it’s time for wrapping the gifts. After all, I have to catch the train home early tomorrow morning. Therefore, I spread all the presents on the floor. Paper, tape, adhesive tape and scissors are not allowed to miss.

A gift for mom, for dad, for my brother Sebastian and his wife Laura.

A gift for Aunt Brigitte and finally for my dear sister Annika. She will get something really special. In order to carry the warm feeling of Christmas, family and being together all year, I have found a perfume: VANILLA VIBES.

As a reminder, I have added a personal engravement: "15,000 km away and yet so close ..."

The light, spicy scent of vanilla with a fine touch of bergamot and lavender is supposed to give her the feeling of being with us all year round. It keeps snowing and the city becomes quiet like a sleeping blanket, the white splendour lies over the streets and dampens the dazzling noises of the city before it is tomorrow called: DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS.

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