Why I Love German Christmas Markets

Just a short while ago I was wandering around golden-leafed vineyards wearing short sleeves and soaking up the final hours of late autumn sun. Now the days are shorter, the nights wetter and colder, which means I’ll be packing a warm coat and a few pounds as I prepare to infiltrate German Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkt or Christkindlmarkt) in search of the best food and drink, which is the main reason why I love German Christmas markets.

Weihnachtsmarkt foods, Christkindlmarkt foods

© Wikimedia Commons, Glühwein by Mr.choppers; Almonds by Mattes; Chestnuts by Achromatic; Cookies by AndrewPoison; Lebkuchen by Leon Brocard; Brat by Jarlhelm

Starting from the first Advent of the holiday season it’s essential for Germans and Expats living in Germany to visit the Christmas markets with friends, family, and business associates too for shopping, fun, food, drink, and lots of laughter. Perhaps the laughter is due to the Glühwein (literally means glow wine) a popular mulled wine drink served warm.

Historic German Christmas Markets

The history of German Christmas markets dates back to the late middle ages in the German-speaking part of Europe. During that time, from the first Advent of the holiday season, townspeople gathered on the town square or local pedestrian zones to commune with one another–a sort of middle age ‘meet and greet’, ‘see and be seen’ event.

The weather may have turned cold and dreary in Germany, but the discussions will soon heat up as Christmas market aficionados present their opinions on the components of the best Christkindlmarkt including coziness (Gemütlichkeit), food, and most importantly who serves the best Glühwein.

Every year, I follow suit and plan another foodie rites of passage for the upcoming German Christmas markets in search of local German sweet and savory essential Christmas market favorites below.

The German Christmas Market Experience

We wish for snow and cold temperatures to add to the cozy nature and gather together after the sun sets and huddle under the festively decorated huts, drink mulled wine and snack and devour quintessential Christmas market foods to warm us up or satisfy our sweet tooth.

After the sun rises, we go back to the office and huddle in the coffee corners discussing which Christmas market offered the best Christmassy feeling and why. The following Advent weekends we do it all again, maybe even in the same town. Who? Where? What? Why?

So yes, it’s a simple, repetitive thing we do every Christmas, but we are glowing and not because of the Glühwein, but because nowhere else in the world can you pack tight like an Eskimo, huddle around an open fire eating chestnuts, trying not to let Jack’s frost nip at your nose and toes, all the while singing Yule-tide carols.

Put a little jingle in your holiday and visit one of Germany’s fantastic Christmas markets.