I’ve decided that Germans LOVE the this time of year. I realize that’s a sweeping generalization, AND I’m not even German, AND I generally try to avoid sweeping generalizations because there are always outliers, BUT I feel confident in this case that it fits. Here’s why. In cities, and towns across the entire country, near the end of November the Christmas markets literally come alive.
For my readers in the United States, remember Thanksgiving is not a world-wide holiday. So once the grey-cold winter overpowers the beautiful autumn there is nothing standing in the way of people getting in the mood for snuggling, breathing in the crisp wintery air, baking sweets, goodies, candies, cookies and then of course eating said sweets, goodies, candies, cookies.
Little stands and shacks are decorated with Christmas lights red ribbons and boughs of greenery in clusters. Most markets are open daily Monday-Sunday from late morning to 9pm. They make it really easy for you to put on winter hibernation weight by selling gingerbread cookies, candy canes, licorice, candied nuts, chocolate covered strawberries, pastries, popcorn, french fries, bratwursts, nutella-filled crepes, and millions of other fatty feel good foods.
Also, the Christmas markets are great places to buy gifts, ie toys, jewelry, leather products, special candles made from beeswax, pottery, lanterns, blankets, slippers, and the list goes on forever.
Perhaps the tradition that keeps people returning to the Christmas markets weekly (ok perhaps for some daily) is the Glühwein! It’s hot spiced wine. Tons of people go with their family and friends and huddle together over cups of hot Glühwein and revel in the magic. Just so you can see that I’m really not exaggerating the ‘magic’ feeling of the markets, I’ve included photographic and video-graphic(?) proof! Last weekend Mauricio and I took a train to nearby Wiesbaden because rumor has it their market was voted the best in the state! I can see why…
Also some cities refer to their markets by different names.
Weihnachtsmarkt = Christmas market
Sternschnuppenmarkt = Star sniffle(?)market (?)schnuppern means sniffle, not sure exactly about schnuppen but it makes sense since it’s cold and you do sniffle after a while.
Christkindlmarkt – Christ child market
At the Wiesbaden Sternschnuppenmarkt we watched a live performance of Alpen Horns. I’d never seen them in real life! It’s wonderful, here check it out: