Since many service members and their families stationed in Europe will spend Christmas away from family, there won’t be a better way to spend the holidays then celebrating with the country that invented many of the Christmas traditions Americans enjoy today. One of the favorites, that most service members, their families and many Germans visit – to get the feeling of Christmas in the air, are the countless Weihnachtsmarkte, or German Christmas Markets.
Amidst a sea of glittering lights, colorful nutcrackers, delicate ornaments and fresh gingerbread, millions of Germans and foreigners venture to those markets in the wintry cold for a mug of the most amazing spiced Gluhwein, delicious candied nuts, handmade gifts or just Christmas enchantment to get you in the spirit of things. There are tons of markets throughout the country-one in just about every city or small community; selecting the right one is really a question of personal preference.
One of the oldest and most renowned markets in Germany is in Nuremberg. The market displays nearly 200 wooden stalls and dates as far back as 1628. Another favorite is the one held in Munich, which has a 100-foot-tall Christmas tree lit by 2,500 candles sparkling in the night. The Christmas market in Frankfurt was first referred to in documents some 600 years ago and these days it receives three million visitors per year. One of the smaller, more quaint markets that can be considered is Michelstadt, about 20 minutes north of Heidelberg. A unique town center, surrounded by half-timbered houses provides a true holiday atmosphere. The timbered houses’ construction dates back several hundred years. This village boasts a Nativity scene with life-size figures, a 23-foot Christmas pyramid and an enormous brightly colored wooden musical box.
Most Christmas markets start in the last week of November and run through Christmas Eve. They are usually open every day from 10 a.m. to about 9 a.m. Make sure you dress appropriately for wintry weather. Markets are located outside in the cold and generally have long lines and are often crowded. However, they will ensure festive lighting, personalized gifts, regional foods and yummy sweets, petting zoos, musical performances and the list goes on.
If you are interested in finding the perfect Christmas market for you and markets throughout Europe, check out www.christmasmarkets.com.
Bild von Thomas Rotarius auf Pixabay