From the Introduction:
Although winter hardly ever burdens these environs with more than a handspan of snow it has this small town firmly in its grip for some time now. Still none of the citizens feel like complaining. Quite to the contrary for them this time of the year is reason enough for celebrations.
The town's small square has been festively decorated. The conifer tree growing at its center has been hung with colorful glass spheres and its tip has been decorated with a gilded star. Light ropes have been put up between the square's gas lamps and hung with small lanterns to provide additional light for the celebrations during this dark time of the year.
Parcels wrapped in colorful paper and ribbons have been arranged around the tree. Usually each one contains something useful for every household of the neighborhood. At the perimeter a number of tables have been set up, bottles of heavily spiced wine spread across them waiting to be heated and consumed to further increase the festive mood.