In Germany, Christmas celebrating and shopping begin before Thanksgiving, since they don’t do Thanksgiving here. And the Christmas markets (Weinachtsmaerkte) are where it’s at, not the mall.
German Christmas markets are like little wooden villages built inside the pedestrian zones just for the Christmas season. The markets are made up of actual wooden buildings, complete with roofs, windows, and live greenery. Vendors sell food, gift items, and gluhwein (a hot alcoholic drink) or eier punsch (egg nog). There are also carousel and train rides for the kids. It’s great to have something festive to do just when the weather is dropping to freezing temperatures.
We traveled to a special Christmas market the other day, held at a castle not far from Hannover. At Schloss Bueckeburg they call the Christmas market Weinachtszauber, or “Christmas Magic.”
This is a shot inside the castle. Love all that ornate detailing on the ceiling and the chandelier. All kinds of lovely things for sale: colorful cashmere scarves and sweaters, leather bags and ornaments, decorations. You should bring your magic wallet to the castle, though, because the prices are definitely fit for a king.
Below is a picture of an outside booth, where they were selling antique fencing. Cool, eh? Especially if you wanted to start your own cemetery.
It was freezing so we kept going inside and back out again. Above is a vintage organ with moving figurines on it. So fun. In another area, dancers demonstrated a traditional German dance in their lederhosen. We also saw, flitting about here and there, angels in white sweaters and massive petticoats, sometimes accompanied by St. Nicholas.
Sunday we also pulled out our advent wreath, and the kids have enjoyed lighting it every night and singing an advent song.