What better way is there to get into a holiday mood, buying original Christmas presents and enjoying exceptional food than by going to a Christmas market. You can walk through the snow with a mug of mulled wine and one of the many edible treats from all over the world while treating yourself and others to some of the wonderful handcrafted gifts on offer. There is nothing else that embodies Christmas like a Christmas market.
Christmas markets originated in Germany and Austria as part of the preparations for Christmas. Most of them are set up in the pedestrian zone or in the centre of the town. They usually start at the end of November and go up to the 24th of December, although the length of Christmas markets differs from market to market.
Today, Christmas markets are very popular all around the world. In the UK the first Christmas market was set up in Lincoln in 1982. It still is one of the biggest markets that we have with more than 250 stalls and around 150,000 visitors during only a four day period!
There are different names for different kinds of markets. Continental or traditional Christmas markets are those which adapt the German/ Austrian Christmas market traditions. The stalls are cute little wooden huts, decorated with snow and fir twigs. Most items sold on a traditional market are handmade with a lot of wooden toys and little gifts. Of course there is food too! Favourites are sausages, candied almonds and traditional Christmas treats such as “Lebkuchen” (a soft version of gingerbread). The most common drink is “Glühwein” (mulled wine) a wine with Christmas spices.
Christmas Fairs are less traditional but still quite popular and are more like a carnival in feeling. They would have less wooden huts and quirky stalls and tend to have more rides and attractions such as merry-go-rounds.
Christmas markets today are getting more and more commercialised each year and instead of finding unique gifts for your family and friends there are sometimes much cheaper products on offer. This does not interfere though with what Christmas markets are really about or affect the popularity! Christmas markets are perfect for having a nice day out, getting into a festive mood, and trying out new food and drinks!