Monday, December 5, 2011

Tuesday Travels - Christmas Markets

For me traditions are something to cherish.  No, you don't have to be "stuck" in the past, but you may want to try a new experience. 

German Christmas markets are so unlike our Black Friday or any of the other sale days after Thanksgiving.  The couple of times I've been fortunate enough to be in Germany during December, I visited markets in both small and large towns.  Some open on December 1; some are just for a weekend (in the small villages). 

They all have great atmosphere.  There are lots of handmade items.  I've bought wood carved ornaments, ornaments made from walnut shells, ornaments made from blown glass, ornaments made from lace, ornaments made from something like paper mache, and much more.  I've found hand knit scarves and sweaters.  Of course there is candy and roasted nuts.  And, there is food.  Oh, what food.  And, to drink there is gluhwein which is a mulled wine.  However, there is also kinder gluhwein which doesn't have wine, but is based on a juice.  The first time you purchase a cup in a market, you pay a deposit on the ceramic cup.  (The cup may have the year on it, but definitely has the town.)  For refills, you pay a smaller fee.  Then, at the end of the market, if you wish to return the cup, you get your "deposit" back, or you can keep the cup as a souvenir.  I have cups from 9 or 10 markets.  What fond memories I have when I drink coffee, tea or apple cider from them during December. 

Chicago has a great Christmas market.  Phoenix has a one day market that was in Mesa for the first 3 years and has now moved to downtown Phoenix.  I'm certain other U.S. towns have the markets also.  If you can find one near, check it out.  You really get an idea of what shopping was like for our ancestors in the "old" country.  AND, for many of our "cousins" even now.


  1. I love Christkindlmart in Chicago. I can't imagine how fun a market in Germany would be.

  2. I also have countless Christmas market mugs! Those markets were our favorite part of the holiday season in Europe, and became a fun tradition. I really think the idea could do well in America, I mean the Chicago version is always packed!