Image by Maggie Gannon
Frankfurt Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market), Germany – words by Maggie Gannon
Germany is certainly well-known for its annual Christmas markets, so much so that English cities across the UK such as Birmingham and Manchester aim to give the same festive experience across the sea year on year. Unfortunately, this year restrictions in Germany meant the wooden stalls would not be able to open their doors, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited for next years festivities.
Frankfurt Christmas market is probably one of the lesser-known markets as travellers tend to opt for those of Berlin and Munich. However, do not be fooled by this as Frankfurt’s market is one of Germany’s oldest and most popular, taking place for just under a month (typically 23rd November – 22nd December).
The market spreads all across the city but the heart can certainly be found in the centre of town on Römerberg where the huge 30m Christmas tree takes centre stage. The tree, alongside a vintage carousel, sits beside countless little stalls and traditional German ‘wooden’ houses that have been rebuilt and reconstructed over the years since the war.
The huge spread of the market surges beyond Frankfurt’s old town (Altstadt) across to Paulsplatz in the north, and Hauptwache in the south which happens to run alongside the busiest shopping street in Frankfurt! Finally, the Mainkai market is the extension that runs along the main river and can tend to be slightly quieter than that of Römerberg, with lovely evening views.
Although this might sound very overwhelming, you can be sure to find great food and crafts no matter where you find yourselves in Frankfurt’s market. It would definitely be a crime to not indulge in some go Germany’s best delicacies, so be sure to grab a cup of glühwein or even apfelwein (a local’s favourite). As well as this, sugar-coated nuts, marzipan, and pretty much anything with cinnamon can be found amongst the food stools, with traditional gingerbread hearts (lebkuchenherzen) making a great present for loved ones. If you fancy opting for something more savoury, why not try a traditional bratwurst or even a potato pancake (kartoffelpuffer), yum!
The wooden stools also boast a whole host of handmade decorations and crafts that make great gifts, some of the more traditional including Bembels (apfelwein jugs) and Christmas houses that make a great souvenir. Altogether, Frankfurt really is the quintessential experience everyone tells you about.
Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market, Denmark – words by Kat Mallett
A Christmas market that has earnt its spot at the top of my bucket list is the Tivoli Gardens market in Copenhagen, Denmark. The traditional Christmas market takes place in the world’s second oldest amusement park, between the months of November and January. The beautiful gardens come alive with thousands of lights that help guide your way through the stalls and rides, whilst the huge Christmas tree glows harmoniously in the darkness.
The market boasts a plethora of food stalls, offering visitors a taste of Denmark with Danish doughnuts, glõgg (warm mulled wine) and caramelised almonds being just a small selection of what’s on offer. It is not only delicious foods available from the stalls, as you can also pick up a lovely gift for a loved one or a souvenir for yourself, because you deserve it too!
The Tivoli Gardens Christmas market also has enough entertainment to keep you feeling festive, amused and most importantly forgetting about the cold. There are, of course, the thrilling amusement rides, including one of the world’s tallest swings. However, if you don’t have the stomach for being above ground, then get lost in the beautiful Christmas melodies of the marching band, performed by the Tivoli Youth Guard, and remain firmly on the ground. Father Christmas is also a temporary guest at the Tivoli Gardens so don’t forget to pop in and get a picture with him for the gram (or your photo album). If you have time, get your skates on and glide across the frozen lake, in an attempt to recreate a cheesy scene from a Christmas movie (we have all thought about it!). Finish your visit by watching a spectacular firework display, whilst admiring the breath-taking display of lights.
The Tivoli Gardens Christmas market has so much to offer and I hope to be sliding (and falling) all over the ice rink next December.
The Alternative Christmas Market Experience – words by Millie Thomas
This year has sadly resulted in a season where it is more difficult for Christmas to be celebrated around the world, with an absence of the traditional Christmas market. However, just because we can no longer browse in person, this does not mean you cannot experience the joy of a market at all. Online retailers offer shoppers the ability to interact similarly to how you would if you were at the Christmas stalls in the markets, but in a safer way.
Etsy.com has created its own section to support independent sellers during this Christmas period. Its home page demonstrates a section dedicated to finding unique Christmas gifts, otherwise sold at the markets. The section holds a variety of items: ornaments, stocking fillers, personalised gifts, Christmas cards, candles and mugs. All providing a festive feeling, what’s not to love!
By doing so, this creates a platform that benefits not only the sellers from a creative perspective but also you, the shopper. Etsy is a platform that welcomes all kinds of independent sellers and if you crave a lil bit of DIY and to spread some Christmas spirit during the holidays, why not try and sell your items! Etsy offers online support and tips for new sellers hoping to keep up with the trends and even for the separate categories you could find yourself going into (clothing, jewellery, etc). So, if you have an urge to discover a new hobby during the festive season, have a go and explore your artistic mindset!
Browsing through the Christmas shop on the website I came across many incredibly inventive items that you don’t come across regularly. A mulled wine spice kit, handmade felt keyrings, handmade earrings and much, much more. I personally thought the homemade hot chocolate stirrers looked wonderful! So, if you are missing the magic of a Christmas market, whether it be the browsing of the stalls, being a part of a stall or purchasing gifts, I highly recommend Etsy.com. It’s a great way to explore more than you would usually see at a Christmas market and it doesn’t lack the festive feeling (also it’s lovely to support independent businesses!).
Hopefully this article has given you an insight into an online Christmas market and the wonderful things you can gain from it. Happy browsing and good luck to any independent sellers. Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!