Category Archives: Book of Days Calendar

San Martino, or Your Convivio Book of Days for November

I told you at the start of November that this month’s Book of Days Calendar would be delayed, but I bet you didn’t think it would be this late! Anyway, here it is: a gift to you this St. Martin’s Night (or, should you see this on the 12th, a belated St. Martin’s Day gift). Cover star for this month’s calendar: Corn Shocks and Pumpkins, an 1864 oil painting by English artist William Trost Richards. We don’t see fields like this here in Lake Worth, but we do get those skies if we venture west at sunset to where the trees give way to endless sugar fields. The calendar is a printable PDF that is a nice companion to this blog, even if I don’t have as much time to write as I used to. Let the calendar be your reminder that you are never far from my heart. Here is a link to your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for November.

Here’s another gift to you, whether you receive it in time for Martinmas Night tonight or not: it is, I think, a fine gift no matter when you get it. It’s me reading a spooky story for St. Martin’s Night for the online story series Stay Awake: Bedtime Stories for Kids & Sleepy Adults. I’ve read an old Tirolean folktale called “Spooks A-Hunting” for the program. The story is collected and illustrated by Diane Goode and is from her 1994 Dutton Children’s Books edition of Diane Goode’s Book of Scary Stories & Songs. Worry not: The scare factor is minimal, and this story is suitable for all ages. Here is a link to the Stay Awake series at the website of the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. You’ll find my Martinmas tale there, as well as all the previous episodes of Stay Awake by me and other folks, too, like Kianga Jinaki reading the African folktale “The Greedy Hyena,” British artist Davy McGuire reading “That Pesky Rat,” and master storyteller Jonathan Kruk telling the tale of “The Misadventures of Ichabod Crane” (as well as a couple of other stories that I’ve read along the way for the project).

Martinmas brings the time of year when we taste the new wine (which is why the Beaujolais Nouveau wines are released about now) and it is the conclusion of our annual days of remembrance that began with Hallowe’en and the Days of the Dead: All Saints Day, All Souls Day. And now, Thanksgiving is on the horizon here in the States. The days prior to Thanksgiving will bring Stir-Up Sunday, the day traditionally reserved for the making of Christmas puddings and fruitcakes that need weeks to age to develop their flavors, and St. Cecilia’s Day, patron saint of musicians, and St. Clement’s Day, patron saint of blacksmiths and metal workers. After Thanksgiving, the First Sunday of Advent will arrive, and there we’ll be: on the road toward Christmas. Unbelievable as that may seem, so it is.

The current sale at our website: Use discount code JOYFUL for $10 off your purchase of $85 or more, plus free domestic shipping. Click here to shop! And if you think it would be difficult to spend $85 at our website, you’ve probably not visited in a long time. We’ve added lots of great new items, and we are adding even more new items weekly! Highlights right now: Advent calendars from Germany, Advent candles from Sweden and the UK, Christmas nutcrackers, pyramids, smokers, and ornaments from Germany, and candies and confections from Germany, too.

Quite a few Convivio Bookworks pop-up shops over the next few weeks; here’s a list of what’s planned. (There may very well be others; we’re still working out the details on a potential date or two in late November.)

Saturday November 19 from 11 AM to 3 PM. We love this event hosted each year by SWEA, the Swedish Women’s Educational Association, at First United Methodist Church, 625 NE Mizner Boulevard, Boca Raton 33432. Admission $5 (children under 12 free), payable at the door (no tickets required). Click here for full details (in Swedish… if you’d like some information in English, ask below in the comments).

Saturday December 3 from 10 AM to 5 PM. It’s our first pop-up shop in Miami! We’ll be at this inaugural Christkindlmarkt at the German American Social Club, 11919 SW 56 Street, Miami 33175. Don’t let the “inaugural” fool you: The German American Social Club is home to Florida’s oldest Oktoberfest celebration, so they know what they’re doing! We’re looking forward to joining in the festivities. Admission is free, but you must register ahead of time to reserve your spot, as there are a limited number of tickets. Click here for the details.

KRAMPUSNACHT in Suburban Lake Worth
Friday December 9 from 7 to 11 PM. This spooky fun event at the American German Club on West Lantana Road kicks off the club’s annual Christkindlmarkt. We’ll be there with our largest pop-up shop ever. Tickets required, and they always sell out, so buy them early! Click here for full details.

CHRISTKINDLMARKT in Suburban Lake Worth
Saturday December 10 from 2 to 10 PM & Sunday December 11 from Noon to 8 PM. The two days following Krampusnacht at the American German Club on West Lantana Road brings their beautiful annual Christkindlmarkt and we will be there with our largest booth ever. Tickets are required, and this event always sells out, too, so buy your tickets early. Click here for full details.


That’s all for now. No wonder your November Book of Days Calendar is so late! If you’re local, I do hope we’ll see you at one of these fun events. And if you’re from away, get those Advent orders in now so you have your calendars and candles in time for the First of December, which is when our calendars and candles all begin. May you love the anticipation of Christmas as much as Christmas itself, and in so doing, may you enjoy these autumn days fully for what they are. All things in their time. There is plenty of time for Christmas once it arrives.

Image: “Corn Shocks and Pumpkins” by William Trost Richards. Oil on canvas, 1864 [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons].



Autumn Leaves, or Your October Book of Days

October: Such a beautiful month! And here is your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for the month, hopefully almost as beautiful. Cover star: autumn foliage, which is a scene we don’t see much of here in Lake Worth. The occasional Florida Almond tree will turn suddenly red, perhaps, but this is a few-and-far-between experience. On the heels of Hurricane Ian, the weather here is cool and dry. Ian, in his way, sucked summer away. A rather violent end, but that’s how this land is sometimes. We build seawalls and we pave over the green and we erect concrete structures, but Nature has a way of reminding us who is ultimately in charge. I imagine sometimes all that we build left unattended for a spell and wonder how long it would take for everything to be covered in vines, how long it would take for everything to be reclaimed. Ours is a strange green land that never rests; the vegetation just grows and grows, plants sprouting leaf and tendril without end, day in, day out. So much different than northern climes, where autumn brings winter, and pause and rest.

The apples and pumpkins are shipped to us, and we are grateful to you for this. We’d be lost without you, devoid of all things iconically autumn. We do have the Seminole Pumpkin here, and the Calabaza, but when I sent pictures of these varieties several years ago to a pumpkin-growing friend in Maine –– one who grows old autumnal standards with rich pedigrees like the deep red Rouge vif d’Etampes pumpkin and the blue green Jahhradale pumpkin –– well, she made it clear she was not impressed. The Seminole and the Calabaza are good eating, but they are not the prettiest pumpkins in the patch. We thank you, then, for all the beautiful pumpkins you send to our markets, and for all the crisp, tart apples.

This autumnal month begins in an angelic way with the Feast of the Guardian Angels on the Second of October. It is an old, old celebration, dating back the Fourth Century, when folks began setting up altars in their homes honoring their angelic protectors. It is one of the oldest feasts of the Church, and one of the most personal. It is said that each of us has an angelic protector, and that we rarely know all they do for us. Me, I do my best to remember that maybe that driver who pulls into the road in front of me and slows me down is perhaps saving me from some terrible accident that may have happened further up the road had I not been hindered. Maybe that driver is my guardian angel. Maybe his name is Pablo and maybe he didn’t really deserve all the expletives I was hurling his way. Maybe I need to appreciate moments like this more than I do. The Feast of the Guardian Angels is perhaps the logical conclusion to the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel that we celebrated on the 29th of September: an angelic time of year. Also this month: Yom Kippur and Sukkot in the Jewish calendar, and in the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain calendar, Diwali: the Festival of Lights. Hallowe’en, at the close of this month, welcomes us to the time each year when we remember our beloved dead, keeping them close at heart. This union is part of what makes October such a beautiful month.

Our pop-up market season begins next weekend! Our first big event is OKTOBERFEST at the American German Club, 5111 Lantana Road, Lake Worth FL 33463. Two consecutive weekends: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday October 7 through 9, then again the following Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, October 14 through 16. Convivio Bookworks will be there in our big new 10′ x 20′ tent, and right next door in a normal size tent, you’ll find my mom and sister, selling Mom’s hand-embroidered Millie’s Tea Towels. You need to purchase tickets in advance for Oktoberfest; it’s rare that tickets are still available at the gate. Click here for tickets and more information. It’s a wonderful event, and we plan to have our full line of handcrafted artisan goods from Germany there, for all the seasons of the year: not just fall, but spring and Christmas, too.

For the next week or so at our online store we’re offering $10 off your purchase of $85 or more, plus get free domestic shipping. Just use discount code AUTUMN22 at checkout. We’re adding new items this time of year almost daily! You’ll find new items from Germany for Hallowe’en and Christmas, plus new Advent calendars and candles are coming this week, and we’re getting ready for Dia de Los Muertos, too. Lots to see! CLICK HERE to shop!


Our Lady of the Grape Harvest, or Your September Book of Days

There is something about reaching September –– and I think it is the “ember” at the end of the word, the first of a series of embers to come (save for October, whose ending still is awfully close to “ember”) –– that gives us pause. It is the understanding that summer is coming to a close, and autumn will soon usher us into winter. September is a gateway, a portal: its ember a reminder of the embers we will soon watch as we take our seat beside the warming hearth. Even to speak the names of these coming months: September, October, November, December… is to conjure a space so vastly different from that which came with the shorter names of the months before: May, June, July, August. September brings gravity, as we begin to gather in: gathering the harvest, gathering in our homes, gathering what will take us through the coming months of long nights and short days. These are my favorite days each year, perhaps because home means so much to me.

Your Convivio Book of Days Calendar for September this year focuses on and celebrates this gathering. Cover star: a circa 1900 painting by Adrien Moreau called “The Grape Harvest.” After Labor Day on Monday, our next holiday on the calendar comes on the 8th of September: It’s the Nativity of Mary. Mary, who is known by many names, is known by vintners at this time of year as Our Lady of the Grape Harvest, and while the Church early on assigned the Nativity of Jesus to the Midwinter Solstice and the Nativity of John the Baptist to the Summer Solstice, to the Autumnal Equinox it assigned the Nativity of Mary. In Italy, despite all the wine made there, it is a day for blueberries, the traditional color of Mary’s cloak. But across France today, look up at most any statue of the Blessed Mother, and you are bound to find a bunch of freshly-harvested grapes placed in her hands. Across the Alps, in Austria and in Switzerland, it is time to bring the sheep and cattle down from the mountains and into the valleys: winter is fast approaching, and the Nativity of Mary on the 8th of September is known there as “Drive Down Day” in honor of this custom of moving the animals out of the mountains and back to the valleys, usually with some pomp and ceremony, the cows decorated with flowers and bells.

Click here for the calendar, which, as always, is a printable PDF, and a fine companion to this blog. Meanwhile, let me tell you about a few local markets where you’ll find us in the coming months: all kinds of events, actually, but I want you to know about Oktoberfest, Krampusnacht, and the Christkindlmarkt at the American German Club: tickets for these wonderful events are only available before the actual events, and they tend to sell out well in advance of each. I’d suggest buying your tickets early.

OKTOBERFEST at the American German Club, 5111 Lantana Road, Lake Worth FL 33463. Friday, Saturday, & Sunday October 7 through 9, then again the following Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, October 14 through 16. Then in December it’s KRAMPUSNACHT on Friday December 9, followed by the CHRISTKINDLMARKT, a traditional European Christmas market, on Saturday & Sunday, December 10 & 11. Click here for tickets and more info for all of these events.

You’ll also find us, in these coming “ember months,” at Dia de Los Muertos Lake Worth on Saturday November 5, as well as at Florida Day of the Dead in Fort Lauderdale the same night, and at the Swedish Julmarknad & Sankta Lucia Festival on Saturday November 19 at First United Methodist Church of Boca Raton. Perhaps more dates to come for some smaller events, but these are the ones we know about now. I’ll keep you posted with full details on each as they get closer, but don’t forget the events at the American German Club require advance tickets.

Image: “The Grape Harvest” by Adrien Moreau. Oil on canvas, circa 1900 [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons].