Willkommen, Weihnachtspyramide!

Yes, yes, it’s that time of year again!  Time to break out a bit of holiday decor!  And you know what that means…..time to dust off that Weinachtspyramide and get it going!

What is a Weinachtspyramide, you ask?  “Weinachtspyramide” is German for “flimsy, yet very expensive Christmas pyramid powered by candles*” The whole concept is actually really cool.  It’s a handmade wooden pyramid shaped device and there are little scenes on each level. My pyramid has Baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and the 3 wise men at the base, shepherds in the center, and angels up top.  At the very top are several blades, and at the base you place candles in candle holders.  The heat that rises from the candles creates lift, which spins the blades and therefore spins the ‘scenes’.   Now, let’s talk about the reality.

I clearly remember my mother telling me as a child to not touch two things:

1. Her Gingher scissors, and

2. The Christmas pyramid.

Either one could possibly set her off like Joan Crawford, minus the infamous coat hangers.  So, we just didn’t touch them.  I didn’t realize at the time why the two were so hands-off to kids but now I know.  As for the scissors, Ginghers (at least back then) were expensive and cut through fabric like a hot knife through butter.  And there’s nothing better than good scissors.  Now, for the pyramid, the problem is that you touch anything on it and the fan blades will fall off.  In fact, if you breathe on it (or, quite possibly, look at it too long), the fan blades will also fall off.  The blades then fall onto the burning candles and you have a lovely waxy mess and also the threat of a house fire. Only a German could come up with something so unique, beautiful, and downright deadly at the same time.  After all, you WANT to touch it.  Especially as a child.  It was sheer torture NOT to touch it. Imagine!  Brightly painted, tiny figurines that spun around! Spinning blades and fire!  Who wouldn’t want to NOT TOUCH IT?

Anyway, besides the drawback of dropping blades, it is a somewhat fickle little contraption.  If the center rod is not perfectly centered in the glass cup at the base (which, by the way, you cannot reach unless you had hands the size of mouse paws), it will not spin.  I managed to get a pretty good look at the glass cup and, not surprisingly, it looks like it was installed crooked.  Now, it will spin for quite a while and then it will slowly come to a halt.  Then you have to *touch it* to get it moving again.  And pray that the fan blades don’t go flying off into your hot candle wax. Also, there must be absolutely not drafts, and I mean NO DRAFTS, in the room, lest you inadvertently disperse the candle heat.  Just don’t move.  Admire.

Another aggravating thing is that the whole shebang seems to be made from the cheapest wood glue and wood available. Each year I unpack the pyramid, something else has fallen off.  This year, it was a couple of pieces of the ‘railing’ and a few posts.  So, every year I have to whip out the wood glue and stick something else back on.  It isn’t like I pack it up and play soccer with the box, so I’m not sure what’s going on.

I didn’t get an instruction booklet with my pyramid, but if it came with one, this is what I think it says.  Or should say:

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a Weinachtpyramide; a traditional decoration borne in the Ore Mountains of Germany. We hope your Weinachtpyramide will bring you and your loved ones many, many years of enjoyment.  Before you use your pyramid, there are a few things to remember!

1. Do not breathe on, stare at, or move too quickly in the presence of your pyramid.  Doing so could cause your pyramid to fall apart, or possibly implode. 

2. Do not leave the pyramid unattended.  Ever. Should you leave the pyramid alone, you will find yourself constantly asking, “Did I remember to extinguish the candles?” which will result in you getting in your vehicle and leaving work only to find that you DID remember, resulting in lost wages, wasted gasoline, and possibly being fired for leaving your position at work unattended.

3. Do not touch the pyramid. Touching the pyramid may result in the breakage of any and all parts, which could result in making Baby Jesus cry.  And no one likes a crying baby.


But seriously, with all its nutty and annoying quirks, I really do love my pyramid.  Except when I get lost in the wonder of it all, forget the rules, and reach out to touch it.  Which ends with hot wax being spilled all over my desk.  Yes, that really happened. This led to a outburst of most un-Christmas-like behavior and vocabulary.

*Actually, it’s just “Christmas pyramid”. Not like me to exaggerate or anything. I happen to have the exact one posted in the link.