It’s hard to tell it’s Christmas unless there’s some sort of wooden market slinging its wares at you. The originators of the Christmas market, Germany, have made gluhwein and sausage a mandatory part of the winter solstice experience all around the world. So, you don’t have to go to Munich for Christmas – here’s a bunch of other great Christmas markets around the world.
Manhattan, New York
Manhattan can be bitterly cold in winter so all the mulled wine certainly helps. The Columbus Circle Holiday Market (2 to 24 December) has been a welcome addition to the seasonal spirit, and appropriately it’s on the edge of Central Park, home of the pigeon lady from Home Alone 2 – now that’s Christmassy.
You could also head to Union Square Holiday Market (20 November to 24 December) where they’ve been creating Christmas camaraderie every year for so long, there’d be an uproar if they missed a year.
— Alex Douglas (@alexmdouglas) December 11, 2012
Central Park, Columbus Circle Christmas Market from my window at work. #NYC #holiday A photo posted by Shannon Truax (@shannon_truax) on
Toronto, Canada’s shopping capital, is unsurprisingly well-prepared for the Christmas spirit. The Toronto Christmas Market (28 November to 21 December) is keeping it Yule at its regular location in the stunning Distillery District.
A photo posted by N ɑ o m i R o s e (@naomirosee) on
#torontochristmasmarket #thedistillerydistrict A photo posted by luneava (@luneava) on
A photo posted by Jenny Diep (@jennydiep) on
It helps that the city is twinned with Bad Konigshofen im Grabfeld, a German city that can show the Texan town how to do this market tradition stuff properly.
Christmas is a big deal in Chicago. The Christkindlmarket Chicago (21 November to 24 December) held in Daley Plaza, even has a traditional Christkind who represents all things seasonal, just like the original Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg.
A photo posted by Amanda Paige (@amandatheablaze) on
#ChicagoChristmasMarket A photo posted by Amanda Paige (@amandatheablaze) on
The capital of Pennsylvania is famous for the Liberty Bell, but over Christmas it’s all about the jingle bells. The Christmas Village in Philadelphia (27 November to 28 December) keeps things like the Nuremberg original with its very own Christkind to spread cheer amongst the happy visitors.
— Tourguide Nick (@Tourguidenick) December 15, 2013
Quebec City, Canada
Quebec, the predominantly French part of Canada, just loves Noel. No, not Edmonds or Gallagher – Noel is what French-speakers call Christmas. As is tradition, the region’s capital Quebec City will be hosting its annual Marche de Noel Allemand (28 November to 14 December), which unsurprisingly translates as German Christmas Market.
Christmas in the old town of Quebec, Canada , pic.twitter.com/teXaNu1qMF
— Life Hacks (@Bideax) April 19, 2014
Another pic of Christmas in Quebec city pic.twitter.com/m5QaHK5Ydj — Lyne Hamel (@lyhamel) December 23, 2013
Christmas Spirit in Beautiful Quebec City, Canada pic.twitter.com/a6LwM5PUTC
— Discovery Pics (@Discoverypics) December 16, 2013
— Rosie Warmington (@RosieWarmington) December 10, 2013
The fifth annual Vancouver Christmas Market (22 November to 24 December) will have a mix of the traditional atmosphere of a Weihnachtsmarkt along with a Christmas-themed talent contest for singers wanting to show off their holiday spirit.
Happy holidays everyone! No matter where you are, I hope you are surrounded by love in person, thought or virtually. Stay safe and enjoy! A photo posted by Megan Kennedy (@wanderlustmegan) on
A photo posted by Jen Doll (@littlehealthnutgirl) on
#VancouverChristmasMarket #weihnachtsmarkt #vancity #christmas #froheweihnachten A photo posted by Greg Kachmar (@gregkach) on
If you want to get back to the real roots of Christmas, before St Nicholas came in and stole the show, then you may be looking for something a bit more Biblical. For many Americans, it’s a bit tricky visiting the actual supposed birthplace of Christ since less than half of them own a valid passport. The solution is to head to Christmas City, otherwise known as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The annual Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem runs Thursday to Sunday every week from 20 November to 21 December.
— The Seed Keeper Co. (@SeedKeeperCo) December 3, 2012
Japan may officially be a Shinto country but consumerism holds sway, and they want to celebrate just like their central European friends. The Spartanly-titled German Christmas Market (28 November to 24 December) makes sure the citizens of Sapporo can enjoy all the gluhwein they want, despite being over 5,000 miles away from Germany.
Christmas markets in the Southern Hemisphere
Christmas in the Antipodes takes place at the height of Summer, just three days after the longest day of the year. Although they might give the mittens and fireplaces a miss, the Aussies definitely take great pleasure in celebrating the universal values of Christmas: buying presents and seeing the happy faces on the people they give them to. The Sydney Boutique Markets Christmas Weekend (15 and 16 December) in Rouse Hill is just one of the highlights.
Happy Christmas Mate! #sydneychristmas A photo posted by Cherise Selley (@cheriseselley) on
— Nelnel (@Nellly87) December 19, 2013
Hermanus, South Africa
Christmas in South Africa is long and hot, so what better way to spend it then in a coastal town where the sea wind can keep you and your presents cool. The Hermanus Country Market in the Western Cape is definitely worth a look. Hermanus is famous for being a whale-watching area so you’ll probably have better luck catching sight of an orca rather than Father Christmas.
A photo posted by Dave Luis (@bloggsymalone) on
Iceland doesn’t really feel like Europe, so we’re putting it on the list. Despite numbering fewer than 400,000, the Icelandic people also like to make Christmas a special time of year. Yule Town runs every weekend in December before the big day. The seasonal cheer somehow gels splendidly with the geological wonders of Iceland.
— Another Iceland (@AnotherIceland) December 14, 2013