18 November 2022
When you start to see advertisements for Christmas markets appear, you know that time of the year is rapidly approaching. Whether you’re a regular Christmas market goer or someone thinking of going for the first time - let’s take a deeper look to find out what Christmas markets are, their history and why kids go crazy for them.
Christmas markets or, Christkindlmarkt (meaning Christ Child Market), is a street market that takes place during the four weeks of advent. Although this has been changing in recent times - with Christmas markets going away from tradition and now taking place in the weeks before and after Christmas.
The markets originate from Germany but have spread all over the world. The first market was held in 1434 in Dresden. Traditionally, the markets are held in the town square and offer visitors the opportunity to buy seasonal food and drinks as well as token gifts from open-air stalls. Often the market will also include group activities, such as traditional dancing and singing.
Christmas markets will often have a variety of attractions and stalls. Perhaps the most significant attraction will be the Nativity Scenes, with kids of all ages taking part in plays representing the birth of Jesus. These can range from extremely large productions, all the way to smaller plays that you might see at your children’s schools.
Nutcrackers, candied almonds and gingerbread are also traditional foods to see at the market and all have their roots in German culinary culture. The drinks we often deeply associate with Christmas are usually present, such as mulled wine and eggnog - which are also examples of traditional German cuisine!
Christmas markets offer the opportunity for children to fully embrace the world of Santa Claus and all that they associate with him. It is a mystical, whimsical and wonderful world full of sweet treats, decorations and upbeat music. Christmas is truly a time to embrace childhood and, although your kids will not realise it at the time, it is when being a child is at its most fun. There is no pressure or worries about cooking food, buying presents or making sure your uncle doesn’t drink too much!
Therefore, markets offer your child the chance to be a child! The colourful lights, the experience of getting to go out at night, spending time with their family and witnessing all the festive attractions and stalls.
Although visiting a market can be a whole lot of fun for the whole family, they can be quite busy. This might be a potentially stressful environment for your little ones. If you decide to take your child to a market this year, remember to wrap up warm and plan when you’ll arrive. It’s also a good idea to have a rough schedule of the activities you want to do, as Christmas markets have simply too much variety. Plan what your kids and yourselves will enjoy most, and you can make sure you can get these done as a priority.
Making sure your kids don’t get lost is also very important. The environment is extremely busy so have a little discussion with your children as to what they should do if they, for a moment, lose track of where they are.
Markets are incredibly safe environments full of families, so there is no real reason to worry. But we are all guilty sometimes of looking down and looking back up again, to not recognise where our kids have gone! Have a quick chat with them and you can prevent situations like these from happening.