Bettina Franke's Charming Santas

Posted on December 02, 2017 | 0 Comments

We have carried a selection of Bettina Franke's delightful folk art from the beginning of My Growing Traditions - first discovering her workshop in the Seiffen area in the late 1990s. 

Coming from a family of woodcarvers (including a great-great-grandfather, her grandfathers [in the 1930s] and her mother [beginning in 1956], who was one of the first women woodcarvers), in 1981 Bettina completed her master craftsman training and founded her own company under the "Gänseliesel" brand - 

We are especially fond of her Santas and are proud to carry her Santa Gift Box

as well as her Santa Pulling a Sled

Her Santas are simply delightful!


Posted in Bettina Franke Workshop, Erzgebirge, German Folk Art, Santa

'Tis the Season to Gather and Send Advent Calendars

Posted on October 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

Advent Calendars are a special part of the Christmas season. From December 1 through Christmas Eve open a little door to discover an image or a biblical quote. They are simple and of an everlasting nature (spiritually and because they can often be reused year-in-year- out). They bring us a bit of "quiet time" amid all the hustle-bustle. 

Angels Looking After the Children

All of the advent calendars that we offer come, of course, from Germany. We try to add a significant selection of new ones each year.

Nativity Scene

 and rejoice in keeping as many of the standard classics as well.

Santa and Angel with Horse Drawn Sled

They make a perfect little gift for family and friends - add a touch of joy throughout the holiday season. Find our full selection here - German Advent Calendars .


Posted in Advent, Angels, Christmas Traditions, German Christmas, German Folk Art, German Traditions, Nativities, Santa

Christian Ulbricht Ornament Sampler - A Delightful Gift or a Little Something Special for You

Posted on December 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

When it comes to adding something new to your Christmas tree this year, you can't top our Christian Ulbricht Ornament Sampler

Save a little money and enjoy these classic wooden, matte finish, with primary colors, ornaments from the Erzgebirge (the Ore Mountains) - Germany's Christmas folk art center.

The Sampler comes in a My Growing Traditions box and includes-
Toy Soldier - 3-1/2"
Teddy Bear - 2-3/4"
Snowman - 1-1/4"
Mushroom - 1"
Santa on a Comet - 3-3/4" long
Christian Ulbricht - handcrafted in the Erzgebirge, Germany since 1928

A wonderful gift!

Posted in Christian Ulbricht, Erzgebirge, German Christmas, German Folk Art, Santa

The Wood Workers Shop - An Advent Calendar and our Traditional European Artisans

Posted on October 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

As we near this holiday season we realize that My Growing Traditions is truly about celebrating with the best of European folk art and Christmas. The artisans and their workshops whose folk art we offer are ones that represent the premier of their genre. All of them have histories that go back decades, some closing in on 100 years, and some beyond. They are artisans that have perfected their art and are recognized world-wide as masters in their field. They have been instrumental in creating and maintaining tradition. We carry Inge-Glas of Germany Christmas ornaments - the oldest Christmas ornament company in the world (since 1596) - and Marcel Carbonel Santons (since 1935) of Marseille, France, the preeminent Santons workshop.

And, we rejoice in the smaller workshops of the Erzgebirge, Germany - from the official German Christmas Village, Seiffen, and the toy-making villages that surround.

These wood-working artisans are so beautifully depicted in Brück und Sohn's (printer Meissen, Germany since 1793) Advent Calendar - The Erzgebirge Woodworker's Shop.

 Click here for Brück und Sohn's other Advent Calendars available on My Growing Traditions.

Our fondness for the Woodworker's Shop Advent Calendar led us to want to share with you photos of the workshops of many of the artisans that we carry. 


Christian Werner of Seiffen (since 1985) specializes in the exact work of the Woodworker's Shop - he is one of only eight who work in Reifendrehen, or ring-turning. 

Bettina Franke has followed in her parents footsteps and carves wonderful Santas and nativity figures. Her workshop like Christian Werner's has flourished since the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of communism in Eastern Europe.   
The Emil Helbig Workshop (since 1933) of the toy making village of Grunhainichen in the Erzgebirge is renowned for their exquisite figures - here the wood carver works on a cat.






Classic Angels and many other wonderful wooden figures have been created by the Wendt and Kuhn Workshop in Grunhainichen since 1915.


And last but not least, we want to share with you here this picture of the creation of a wood-chip tree, or Spanbaum, a folk art that dates to the 1930s.

We have been privileged over the years to visit the workshops of each of these artisans - a true joy and an experience that has cemented our desire to make their work available to you.


Posted in Angels, Brück and Sohn, Christian Werner, Christmas Traditions, Emil Helbig, Erzgebirge, German Christmas, German Folk Art, Nativities, Santa, Trees, Wendt and Kühn

St. Nik's Toy Treasure from Inge-Glas of Germany

Posted on December 16, 2013 | 0 Comments

New for 2013, our favorite of Inge-Glas new Santa ornaments is St. Nik's Toy Treasure (Inge-Glas no. 1-070-13, 4-1/2" tall).

St. Nik's Toy Treasure is quite special in that it combines several mediums - the basic, elegant as always, glass ornament with Santa holding in front of him his bag of Christmas treasures:  a bottle brush tree, a gift wrapped in paper with a yellow tinsel ribbon, and a gold glass Christmas ornament.  

Santa brings unselfishness and goodwill

 "The magical man is based on a melting pot of customs and cultures from the world over.
St. Nicholas, a fourth century, kind and benevolent monk, legendary for his compassion and charity was the most
influential figure in shaping the image of Santa Claus.  When the Dutch brought their "Sinter Clas" to the United States,
the Americans, unaccustomed to the Dutch accent, pronounced the name Santa Claus.
Storybooks, like "It was the Night Before Christmas", and 1800s advertising campaigns brought to live visions
of a jolly man delivering presents to good boys and girls on Christmas Eve.  
Santa Claus encompasses all the goodness and innocence of childhood.
We do believe in Santa!" - Inge Glas

Posted in German Christmas, Inge-Glas, Santa

Santa Frost Inge-Glas of Germany 2013 Annual Ornament

Posted on December 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

Inge-Glas® of Germany has commenced the Third Series of their Annual Ornament Collections.  Each ornament is made only in the year in which it is introduced. This third series is scheduled to run from 2013 through 2018.  


For 2013 the annual Inge-Glas ornament is Santa Frost. Inge-Glas No. 1-001-13. 5-1/2" tall. This very special, spectacular ornament is in the Inge-Glas tradition mouth-blown, hand-painted. It is decorated with glittering Swarovski Elements in the center of Santa's Star. 

The year 2013 appears on Santa's back. This collectible ornament is individually packed in a premium gift box.

Posted in German Christmas, Inge-Glas, Santa

Santa Gift Box

Posted on November 07, 2013 | 0 Comments

When we visited the workshop of Bettina Franke in Deutschneudorf (a little town just adjacent to Seiffen, the center of the Christmas wood-carving area in the Erzgebirge), Germany, we fell in love with her work.

Over time, we have carried her Nativity sets (and they remain a favorite), and other creations, but we are especially fond of her Santa Gift Box.

Tucked inside the hand-made wooden box are: a hand-carved Santa carrying a lantern and pulling a sled with toys, two hand-carved wooden trees and two hand-carved deer. The box is complete with leather hinges and a red bow. The box is 2-1/2" high and deep and 2-3/4" wide. It is indeed a wonderful gift, but also a delightful scene for your fireplace mantle or Christmas table.  Return them after the season into the little wooden box for safe-keeping until next year.

Posted in German Christmas, German Folk Art, Santa, Trees