Christmas is the most anticipated holiday of the year, based on my scientific deductions from my Facebook Newsfeed. Despite being a Halloween girl myself, I can’t deny that there is something about Christmas that just makes December so magical. The twinkly lights, the snow falling from the sky, the jolly fat man who squeezes through your chimney to deliver gifts to your children. Okay, that last one might be more fascinating for the kids than the adults.
However, moving to Germany introduced us to something that has infinitely made the gift giving season that much more magical: Christmas Markets. We had never heard of such a thing before living abroad and it’s easily become one of our favorite activities to do each winter. And the best part is nearly every city – no matter how big or small – has one! Now, here are our top five reasons to visit a Christmas Market this winter!
1. Unique Christmas Gifts
At every Christmas Market I’ve ever been to, I’ve seen numerous booths with local vendors selling handmade products. It’s the best way to get a jump start on your Christmas shopping! Who doesn’t love a unique gift you can’t find in stores? And these vendors sell such a different variety of gifts. I’ve seen mugs, plates, clothing, hats, wood crafts, ornaments, and much more! Plus, a lot of these products are Christmas themed which makes for more home decor each holiday!
2. Holiday Music
No matter where you are, you’re bound to hear some holiday cheer when at a Christmas Market. Sometimes there are live bands playing, or there are speakers set up to softly play Christmas music while you’re enjoying the market. Of course, you can just turn on the radio in December and hear some “Jingle Bells,” but nothing beats the ambiance of snow falling while a live band is playing Christmas tunes at the local market.
Glühwein, mulled wine, or whatever you want to call it; this drink right here? Fan-freaking-tastic. Being honest, our first winter here our friend brought us a bottle of glühwein and told us we needed to heat it up before we drank it. I’m sorry, what? It was already hard enough getting used to no ice in any of our drinks, and now you want us to purposefully heat up wine? That just sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. Long story short, we did what he said and we’re never going back! Even Tyler loves getting glühwein in the winter. Plus, there are several different flavors you can try: regular, blueberry, apple, etc.
And bonus! When you order yourself some, they’ll give it to you in a nifty personalized mug that you can only get at that specific market! You can return it to the vendor and earn your deposit – pfand in Germany – back but that’s just silly. We’ve kept all our Christmas Market mugs and plan on collecting even more this coming winter!
Not every Christmas Market will have a Krampus show, but plan on hitting one that will. Trust me, it’s worth it. We all know the story of Santa Claus – or St. Nicholas here in Germany – but most tourists have never heard of Krampus. He’s known as the anti-Santa in that he punishes children who misbehave. In America, we know that Santa will reward good boys and girls with presents and naughty ones with coal in their stockings. Krampus doesn’t deliver coal to the naughty children, instead he stuffs them into his bag and tortures them with whips and chains.
The entire Krampus show is in German, so we can never understand a word that is said. However, it is an amazing experience and you can understand the basic premise of the show from watching the actors. Plus if you hang around once the show is over, you might be able to score a picture with one of the demons!
5. It’s Truly Magical
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: Christmas Markets are magical. Streets and neighboring buildings are covered in twinkling lights, multiple Christmas trees are scattered around and decorated. The biggest reason I love Christmas Markets is getting to spend time with my friends and family. Being in such a beautifully decorated market with the people I care about makes all the stresses of life dissipate and all I’m left with is fuzzy feelings. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
If this post hasn’t convinced you to visit a Christmas Market you must hate anything good in this world. Ha, kidding! But seriously, everyone should experience a Christmas Market at least once in their life. It’s one of the best ways to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones.
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