Part 1/2: An Introduction to German Christmas Markets
One of the best parts of the holiday season is the German Christmas markets. But with the lockdowns and shutdowns happening this year due to the pandemic, the opportunity for this highly anticipated tradition has been denied to many as well.
So why not end the year with one more at-home fling in the DIY (Do It Yourself) and DIH (Do It at Home) spirit that has been the hallmark of 2020 and create a German Christmas market at home?
But if you’re going to create a Christmas market at home, it’s essential to first understand what they are and why they are simply the best!
German Christmas markets
New to the concept of a German Christmas market?
A Christmas market is an open-air street market associated with Christmas celebrations during the four weeks of Advent from late November through late December. These markets originated in Germany, but are now a widespread tradition throughout many countries in Europe, and making appearances here in many cities across the United States.
But true to their roots, German Christmas markets are the most classic and, in my opinion, the most magical. Christmas decorations and all the “feels” are enhanced with the backdrop of rolling hills and perfect little German towns with charming gingerbread-cottage style buildings clearly designed from actual cookie cutters, or painted to life by Thomas Kinkade.
Taking place outdoors in the middle of sometimes frigid European winters, German Christmas markets highlight everything that the warmth of the holidays has to offer. Enchanting lighted displays, cheery and heartwarming Christmas music and live entertainment, endless options of hot-off-the-grill savory foods and baked sweets and treats, piping hot mugs of spiced (and spiked!) drinks and hot chocolate, unique handmade crafts to browse and buy, and toasty fire pits to warm your hands and face. And all in the company of family, friends, and loved ones. This all makea these outdoor markets a full sensory experience. And one of the warmest places to be in the chill of winter.
Germans in Texas
Did you know that there is a strong presence of German heritage right here in Texas?
After learning of favorable conditions in the area, the first concerted effort to bring Germans to Texas came in 1831. Within a generation, dozens of German-settled towns dotted the state’s region from the coastal plain to the Hill Country. Later generations also moved up into North Texas areas. Many of these towns are still recognizable today, including New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, and Luckenbach.
This substantial German heritage is alive and well today. It brings to Texas some of the best that the culture and traditions have to offer. This includes authentic German cuisine, influences in the brewing of local beer and winemaking, and Oktoberfest celebrations. And, yes, even an authentic German Christmas market here and there.
And we are here for all of it.
German Christmas markets and 2020
Unfortunately, out of the many things to be canceled or altered beyond recognition this year, Christmas markets have been victims. Millions of people attend Christmas markets in Germany and throughout Europe each year. This accounts for an economic boost of billions of Euros. So the absence of them this year leaves a significant gap in numerous ways for countless people.
But this situation won’t last forever, and, hopefully, by next year we will all be back in Yuletide business. So if you’ve never been to an authentic German or European Christmas market, put it on your bucket list! Or if you can’t make it across the pond, head to an authentic German Christmas market right here in Texas to sample the experience!
Dealing with the Christmas market FOMOs
But in the meantime, you (like me and many others) might have been saddened by the missed opportunity of your yearly Yuletide bratwursts and gluhwein. Or if you’re new to the concept of Christmas markets, you might now be feeling the FOMOs, and are upset that you have to wait until next year to see what all the fuss is about.
But we are here to help! With a little creativity, why not re-create all the best parts of a German Christmas market right in your own home with your family this year? And the best part of a DIY Christmas market is that you can enjoy it anytime. You know you started decorating for Christmas way earlier this year. So go ahead and keep the cheery holiday festivities extended after Christmas, too!
Enjoy the holiday decorations a little longer with a homemade German Christmas market day. Or maybe even make your New Year’s Eve celebration Christmas market-themed! (Because you know you’ll be stuck at home for that, too…) Who knows, you might even end up creating a new family holiday tradition.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this German Christmas market guide where we give you some ideas for how to create a German Christmas market at home!
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