October 9, 2022
Cranky in Colorado
Somewhere in a beautiful land called Colorado, there lives a mountain man…
Born in the Erzgebirge mountains of Germany and now enjoying life in Colorado, we have one particularly opinionated customer who has become a wonderful acquaintance, even if he was a little cranky in the beginning…
This is the story of Freddie.
How we came to meet our cranky Coloradian...
‘That’s not Erzgebirgisch’ came the comment on Facebook…
‘Hi, It’s Ronnie here from the German Christmas Shop, thanks for your message. I can assure you that our ‘Rudolph & Friends’ collectibles are handcrafted in the Erzgebirge mountains.’
‘It’s not. I’m from the Erzgebirge, I know’
This was our first interaction with Freddie, as a proud Erzgebirger, he knew the craftsmanship and skill that went into every single item produced by makers in his home region. To him, the ‘American’ style design of our Rudolph Figurine was just not German enough.
Proving our Authenticity
Freddie was adamant that the decorations we offered were not ‘traditional enough’ to be from the mountains of his birth. We provided him with every assurance that the items were from the Erzgebirge but to no avail.
Over the course of two weeks or so, Freddie continued to post comments on Facebook, upset that we were telling people our decorations were German.
No matter the response we made, Freddie did not believe us so what to do?
In the end, we contacted our artisans at Ullrich (the maker of our Rudolph). They were a little puzzled at our request but we coordinated a call between Freddie and the office at Ullrich. This conversation finally convinced him that our decorations are the real deal.
The Erzgebirge mountains is a proud region with strong communities. Isolated over time, they have developed their own German accent and dialect (much like the way Brits and Australians sound different to Americans). So, in the end Freddie was satisfied because he could speak in ‘Erzgebirgisch’ to our artisans.
*The Christmas market at Annaberg in the Erzgebirge Mountains, where everyone speaks 'Erzgebirgisch'
Every year in October, as leaves start to turn, we will hear from Freddie. Over time, we have discovered that he moved to America as a young man, having made it out of East Germany back in the 1950’s when it was under Communist rule.
Freddie’s natural affinity for the mountains led him to Colorado where he has spent most of his life. Now, as an older man, he is an expert in posting comments on social media. When I enquired one year about this, Freddie responded that, when his daughter moved to Atlanta for work, he made sure he learnt how so that he could keep in touch.
Freddie’s daughter purchases from us every now and then, sending her father the occasional ornament and once, a small nutcracker. It was a little bit cheeky but, in one of the shipments, we added a Rudolph, so that his Erzgebirge collection would be complete!
It’s about the moments
We say it a lot here at Christmas HQ but the reason we love what we do so much is because of the connections we get to make with our customers. A lot of other businesses, chasing sales, would not bother with connecting with someone like Freddie, just block him on social and move on, right?
Life is richer because we are able to get to know all kinds of people. There is something very special in being able to facilitate Freddie’s connection with the place of his birth, with the decorations he grew up knowing. Even though a little crankier than our average customer at first, it has been wonderful getting to know him over the past few years and to hear his story, both past and present.
Thanks for Reading
We hope that you have enjoyed this little peak into our lives here at the German Christmas Shop, and our customer stories. As a family run business, we are so thankful for our amazing customers and their stories, making lasting connections with our customers is just the best! We always say that anyone can sell a decoration, what is magical is when you are in a position to help others celebrate and create lasting memories with loved ones.
Written by Ronnie
Just someone who loves the way we all celebrate the Holidays and create memories together...