Some 25 years ago, it happened for the first time. Three weeks before Christmas, my grandmother handed me a wooden box. She gave me one of those looks, reminding me to take special care of it. Her eyes, however, were warm and smiling. Bursting with curiosity, I opened my little treasure box. And there they lay, one by one: The famous wooden figures from Seiffen. I fell in love with them almost instantly.
25 years later: Wohoo, let’s go to Seiffen!
The pretty little town Seiffen is located in the Erzgebirge (Erz mountains) in the east of Germany. From Vienna, we had to drive some four hundred and fifty kilometres by car. If you, like me, are looking for a feel of Christmas, then you have come to the right spot. The houses look like straight out of a fairy-tale, with their pointed roofs and rich wooden covers along their facades. For more than one hundred years, craftsmen & women have practised the art of making wooden figures and pyramids. For most of it, Christmas tales serve as inspiration: Nativity sets, countless angels but also the famous nutcracker of Tschaikowski’s opera ballet is what we find here.
“Smoking men” can be all kind of figures. They usually have a foot or stool of some sort: At their centre is an aromatic concentration of herbs that are being lit. The body, empty on the inside and with a hole on top, is being placed on top of the herbs for the steam to come out and fill the room with pleasant aromas. Most of the time, this symbol is the man’s mouth, or even a “steaming pot” filled with “dumplings”. Nice, ay?
Go creative in the workshops of Seiffen & try your own hands at crafting wooden figures!
If you are among the happy visitors who were able to still make a booking in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I recommend you check out the overview of creative events happening around here. The best thing is: All the workshops welcome visitors to try their own hands at being creative! Talking to the locals, you realise that they are full of passion for their work, never losing faith in all those decades! One example is Karin Eisenach, who has already spent more than 45 years of her life crafting wooden figures in her showroom workshop. Wow!
Seiffen is a true winter fairytale that you have to experience once in your life. No matter whether you choose to follow the beautiful “smoking men’s aromas” or the colourful lanterns, you are sure to delight in all your senses here.