If you’re like most of us, your holiday season last year fell a little bit short on the fa-la-la’s. This year, it’s not too late to double down on , and make up for lost time with 'peak Christmas' at the Christmas markets of Europe.
Lynn Elmhirst, producer and host of BestTrip TV, shares this video with some of the highlights of a nighttime German Christmas market - and explains why visiting Germany's Christmas markets this year may be the best way to return to travel.
If it’s your first Christmas market experience, Germany is the way to go. So many of our modern Christmas traditions hail from Germany (via England, thanks to Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert); for a real injection of the spirit of Christmas, this year, it’s time to go to the source.
Even today, Germans are the torch-bearers for festive authenticity – only genuine fir branches, music, food, drink and shopping traditions allowed!
Since Germany’s Christmas markets begin in late November, four weekends before Christmas, and wrap up Christmas Eve, you have time to get a dose of Christmas cheer and still make it home for the holidays -laden with everything to deck the halls on this side of the ocean.
For an extra special experience, visit in the evening – when twinkling lights, bonfires and torches kindle the magic and spirit of the season and transport you back to the ancient origins of this winter festival.
It doesn’t matter if you had substitutes at home last year, tasting traditional German Christmas market foods at the source will remind you of exactly why you travel: because it never tastes the same as when you’re 'there.'
The fir bow-draped, traditional wood stalls include the best German standards: hot sausages, pretzels, and beer, plus the seasonal delights: hot, mulled 'gluhwein'; stollen, a particularly addictive fruit bread; gingerbread or lebkuchen; and marzipan.
Oh, the glorious marzipan. Forget the icky, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth goo slathered on top of cheap fruitcakes here at home. Once you taste the real thing, you just can't get enough. Marzipan in Germany comes formed in all shapes. Look for the quirky Christmas traditional 'marzipan kartoffeln' – marzipan 'potatoes', little marzipan balls dusted with coco to look like… miniature potatoes. Other shapes are delightful, hand painted confections – a favorite in southern Germany is little pigs, a symbol of good luck.
The best thing about the Christmas spirit is sharing it. By definition, markets are perfect for souvenirs, to savour your own memories, and pass them along to your loved ones.
High quality, and often, artisan-crafted German Christmas traditional items like nutcrackers, ornaments, religious items and toys, toys, toys are iconic symbols of Christmas for the young and young at heart. You are going to want to buy the unparalleled handmade glass ornaments and you are going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how and if you can get them home safely. Sheepskin slippers and mittens, and lots of boiled wool have a European design flair you don't find at home. Every market also has local specialties like the iconic blue and white china in Dresden, in everyday and Christmas designs.
If you haven’t restarted travel yet, the historic, traditional atmosphere of Germany's Christmas markets may be the best way to get back to the travel you love - and rediscover the magic of the holiday season.
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