A History of European Christmas Markets

Traditionally European Christmas Markets start the Friday before the First Sunday in  Advent.  They feature handmade crafts that you buy from craftsman who often demonstrates their craft right at their stands.  In the past three years Europe has suffered “Advent Creep.”   Two years ago several Austrian markets opened the weekend before the first Sunday in Advent.  In Munich the markets were advertised to start on … Continue reading A History of European Christmas Markets

Amman’s Other Christmas Souk

I have just finished my work in Jordan.  I have completed my interviews and typed up my notes.  I will put off writing my report until after Christmas.  So now I am sitting in a hotel waiting for a taxi pickup in less than 5 hours and my thoughts are turning to Christmas, seeing my children and grandchildren, and, of course “The Battery Exchange.”  I … Continue reading Amman’s Other Christmas Souk

Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets came late to the UK.  It’s not that the UK didn’t celebrate Christmas.  Since Victoria’s Albert brought the Christmas tree to England the Brits have done it up in grand style.  Before Christmas markets, in the European fashion, came to the UK there was always Covent Garden with its stalls and decorations and Regent Street moving out from Piccadilly Circus. (Below are some … Continue reading Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets

Sitka Christmas Artisans’ Market, 2015

This year we didn’t make it to any of the European Christmas Markets, but Sitka has a fine Artisans’ Market in Allen Hall on the Sitka Fine Arts Campus.  Sponsored by the Greater Sitka Arts Council it is a great opportunity to buy gifts while supporting local artists.  They sell wine but what the Sitka market really needs is Gluwein, the mulled wine sold at … Continue reading Sitka Christmas Artisans’ Market, 2015

Sitka Artisans’ Market

The Sitka Artisan’s Market & Holiday Craft Party lives in the spirit of the best European Christmas Markets.  Allen Hall, on the Sheldon Jackson Campus, has historically been a meeting place for Sitkans.  Over the last few years Sitkans volunteered thousands of hours to restore the hall as a centerpiece of the Sitka Fine Arts Campus.  This building, so tied to the community is the … Continue reading Sitka Artisans’ Market

Lille, France Christmas Market

The Lille Christmas Market is the first one I have attended in France.  Lille bills itself as the most Flemish town in France.  It’s thoroughly French in language but the architecture is more Flemish-Dutch.  It is the heart of French Flanders and the market is in the heart of Lille.  The Lille Christmas Market had crafts and that interested me more than the others I visited … Continue reading Lille, France Christmas Market

Hasselt Winterland, 2014

Hasselt “Winterland” Market is, perhaps the most commercial Christmas market we have encountered in Europe.  It reminds me of the tables under the grandstand at the Minnesota State Fair.  There was a collection of kitchen wares, knives, trinkets, I half expected to see a Vegimatic and a Pocket Fisherman.   Some of this “State Fair” feeling is accentuated by the tent like pavilions with tables on … Continue reading Hasselt Winterland, 2014

Brugge (Bruges) Christmas Market, 2014

The last time I was at the Brugge (Bruges) Christmas fair, in 2007, it was a short visit.  It was raining and cold.  The skating rink in the middle of the main town square was more slush than ice and, while the city is one of the prettiest in Belgium, I didn’t really enjoy the visit. This year was completely different.  It was a clear … Continue reading Brugge (Bruges) Christmas Market, 2014

Covent Garden, London, 2014

Christmas Markets started in Central Europe, Austria and Southern Germany, and have moved up and down the Danube and spread out from that waterway across the continent.  London has always had great Christmas decorations and shopping, but the European style Christmas Market crossed the Channel only in the 1980s.  Today there are Christmas Markets, Fairs and Faires, throughout England, with the big one in Hyde … Continue reading Covent Garden, London, 2014

Valkenburg Christmas Market, 2014

Valkenburg is perhaps the most unique, and possibly the most interesting, Christmas Market in Europe.  I have been back to this market in The Netherlands three times now.  The first two times with our friends Dave and Carol Lam.  (The last visit was 2007, to see my post from then click here.) We were here this year because we were in Brussels for Carol’s funeral.  … Continue reading Valkenburg Christmas Market, 2014

2013 Christmas in Sitka, including the return of the Boat Parade!

For years Sitka had a boat parade.  Several years ago, after the mill closed, the boat parade ended.  It is expensive to run boats up and down the channel while powering lights with a generator.  The boat parade was replaced by the landlubber’s parade.  But this year, while we were driving around looking at people’s Christmas lights we noticed some lights out on the water.  … Continue reading 2013 Christmas in Sitka, including the return of the Boat Parade!

Christmas on the Street of Dreams

St. Paul Minnesota’s Summit Avenue runs from St. Paul Cathedral, towering above downtown St. Paul for about five miles, to St. Paul Seminary on the Mississippi River.   Along the street you can visit The College of St. Thomas, Macalester College, the William Mitchell College of Law and a few tony private schools.  There are lots of churches.  Although the Catholics control the anchors of Summit … Continue reading Christmas on the Street of Dreams

Sitka’s Holiday Market, 2013.

The holiday season has come to Sitka.  The city’s decorations went up just before Thanksgiving (allowing the electrical crews to have some time off on Friday).  I did the Good Day Radio Show on Thanksgiving Morning and enjoyed seeing the decorations as I drove to the station.  Friday we went on the Gallery Walk looking at work of local artists.  One of the things I … Continue reading Sitka’s Holiday Market, 2013.

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, Armenia does not have an official market but the regular street markets take on a festive air at Christmas time.  Here are some pictures from 2006.  I love the fur hats and Santa selling luxury automobiles.   We almost didn’t make it home for Christmas that year because the airport was fogged in for several days and we ended up spending more time in … Continue reading Yerevan, Armenia

Vienna Christkindl Market

This is from a letter written in 1997.  Suzi and I were living in Bratislava, Slovakia.  And while it was only 65 KM (40 miles) from Bratislava to Vienna there was a real difference between former communist Slovakia and EU member Austria.  Now Slovakia is in the Union, but this is my reaction to the Vienna Christkindl market in 1997.  The pictures are from later. … Continue reading Vienna Christkindl Market

Schloss Hellbrunn Advent Market, Salzburg, Austria.

In 2012 I got to three of Salzburg’s 5 markets, the Chriskindel Market in the main square, the Mirabellplatz Christmas market and the Schloss Hellbrunn Advent Market on the grounds of a palace where the Gazebo from the movie Sound of Music is located.  Each market has its own character, but I particularly liked the Hellbrunn market.  A forest of Christmas trees had been set … Continue reading Schloss Hellbrunn Advent Market, Salzburg, Austria.

Maribellplatz Advent Market, Salzburg, Austria

In 2012 I got to three of Salzburg’s 5 markets on the high speed Rain Jet train from Munich.  The ones I visited were the Chriskindel Market in the main square, the Mirabellplatz Christmas market and the Schloss Hellbrunn Advent Market on the grounds of a palace where the Gazebo from the movie Sound of Music is located.  Each market has its own character, but … Continue reading Maribellplatz Advent Market, Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg Christkindlmarkt, Austria

In 2012 I got to three of Salzburg’s 5 markets, the Chriskindel Market in the main square, the Mirabellplatz Christmas market and the Schloss Hellbrunn Advent Market on the grounds of a palace where the Gazebo from the movie Sound of Music is located.  Each market has its own character, but I particularly liked the Hellbrunn market.  A forest of Christmas trees had been set … Continue reading Salzburg Christkindlmarkt, Austria

Residenz Advent Market, Munich, Germany

In November 2012 I stopped over in Munich on my way home from Tbilisi, Georgia.  In Germany most Advent/Christmas markets open the Friday before the first Sunday in Advent.  Austrian markets open earlier.  Last year the German market opening day was scheduled for Nov 30.  Since I thought I would miss the Munich market I planned to catch a fast train (“Rail Jet” at 200 … Continue reading Residenz Advent Market, Munich, Germany

Munich Chriskindl Market, Germany

In November 2012 I stopped over in Munich on my way home from Tbilisi, Georgia.  In Germany most Advent/Christmas markets open the Friday before the first Sunday in Advent.  Austrian markets open earlier.  The year before the German market opening day was scheduled for Nov 30  but Surprise, Surprise, Surprise: Two of Munich’s Christmas markets were in full swing while I was there.  I asked … Continue reading Munich Chriskindl Market, Germany