Dear Diva Readers,
top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>While December 1 for most people starts their busy season – rushing and running and bustling about – for me, it’s the start of my slow season. We tend to do less tours during the holiday period and colder months (thus our special Provence Sale) which means I am blissfully at home, snuggling with my husband in Berlin. There is no better place to be for the holiday season than in Germany and I find myself singing “Oh Tannenbaum” and simply being in the Christmas spirit! What better way to celebrate than with a traditional Christmas Market. Here in Berlin, there are over 70 Weihnachtsmarkts that pop up in late November and stay up through the four weeks of advent, creating a special atmosphere for the holiday season.
These street markets are set up in different squares throughout towns in Germany and are like little villages within themselves. Tents and open air stalls are filled with vendors offering seasonal handmade wares, Christmas ornaments and decorations, weird import goods from China, and traditional food and drinks. The appetizing smell of Gebrannte Mandeln (candied toasted almonds) fills the air and mulled wine is a requirement to ward off the cold. Sounds like the perfect picture of the Christmas Season, doesn’t it?
These markets date back to the Middle Ages, as early as the fourteenth century. Traditionally, on opening night, crowds welcome a representation of the Christchild, typically played by a local child. There is usually singing (much like caroling) along with a nativity that is set up close to the center of town.
Some people attend the markets to simply soak up the holiday spirit, while others go to shop for gifts. As for me, I recommend buying a few traditional ornaments (these make lovely hostess gifts) – I’ve also bought myself a gorgeous array of handmade jewelry over the years as often small artisan vendors set up. My favorite Christmas market is the one at the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin – it has the highest quality of inventory. As an American who’s lived in Germany for several years now, I must say that the Christmas Markets don’t disappoint the quintessential idea in my mind of Germany at Christmas time.
If you find yourself in Germany over the holidays, you simply must attend one of the markets! And then post photos of your fun time on my Antiques Diva & Co Facebook page!
The Antiques Diva®