Monday

Oh all these Magical Christmas Markets - The Do's and Don’ts for a perfect Christmas Market visit




Christmas markets bring a festive sparkle of lights to freezing cold winter cities. There are countless beautiful ones in Europe. I created a list with Christmas Markets in Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden and Vienna and publish these in the coming days. Whether you are into ice rinks, festive shows, biscuits, drinks or Christmas carols, you will find it ... People’s behaviour on Christmas Markets makes a big difference to the experience, read on to have the best time.

The Clothes

If you plan to visit Christmas Markets you better wrap up warm. You will spend all your time outside, it gets dark at around 4pm. Temperatures can go down below zero degrees Celsius, even during the day, and most certainly in the evening. Most cities have several markets, and you probably want to stroll from one to the next to make the most of the festive experience. You don’t want to give up and go back to your hotel room because you are too cold. Wear winter boots, a woolen coat, a scarf, put on gloves, and seriously, you might even consider putting on long underwear. Once I had been wearing a camel-coloured coat, someone poured a nice cup of hot red mulled wine over it. Ever since that episode I stick to dark blue and black coats.

The Language

Learn to say “Thank you” in the local language, everybody working in the stalls will be grateful. Oh, and while we are at it, please always say “Thank you” and consider throwing a smile over the counter too. The people serving hot drinks to a zillion intoxicated visitors deserve it. For a mug deposit you will have to pay EUR 3, they know that you don’t want that, don’t tell them over and over, just hand over the money. Thank you.

The Hot Drinks

First of all, hot drinks are a great way to battle the cold. There is this age old divide between eggnog and mulled wine fans. Some are in the first group and would never event try the latter. If you can’t decide between the two, keep in mind that eggnog is stronger than mulled wine. A delicious spiced hot apple juice will keep you warm too. Don’t get all excited at the first drinks stall and drink too many hot alcoholic drinks at once; the fun would be over too soon. Cheers.

The Food

Go hungry to make the most of it (better not drink mulled wine or eggnog before you eat something). There is plenty of choice, and you are going to be surprised about the variety of spiced biscuits, one can say that nearly every region has got their own recipes, and there are also often differences from town to town. Buy some to take home with you; they make very special Christmas gifts.

The Crowds

Most Christmas markets in Europe are packed with visitors; I guess it is just the way it is. Stay calm, be friendly and don’t get upset about the crowds, everybody wishes to be served first or to be there alone, but to be honest, that would be so very lonely. Enjoy the festive season. Small children love Christmas Markets, obviously. I asked several dog owners and they all said they wouldn’t take their beloved furry friend to the markets, but still some people can’t leave their tiny friends at home. The fact that children and dogs are smaller than you doesn't give you the right to push them out of your way or to step onto their paws. Please mind all feet, fingers and paws.

The Kitsch

There are a lot of handcrafted goods to look at and buy. Don’t make fun of them, because in your eyes it is all very poor taste. It is some people’s livelihood, and they most certainly invest lots of labour and love. Stir up a conversation and ask for the history of these pieces, you might end up hearing a great story.

The Pickpockets

Some people become accountants, some gardeners, some astronauts, some decide to sell houses, and some become con artists or pickpockets, it is as easy as that. Use common sense. Hold on to your bag and purse, never put these on the counter when you pay for goods, never leave your bag behind at your chair or cocktail table or bench when you go somewhere (not even for a second). Christmas Markets are busy places; there are lots of opportunities for pickpockets.

It is going to be a wonderful Christmas season; I can’t wait to visit as many Christmas Markets as possible. You too have a lovely time.

From Berlin with love

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Greetings stranger. I always try to be myself and to be a tourist as often as I can. I would love to get in contact with lots of hard travelling tourists who love to be out and about as much as I do. I am looking forward to all your comments. Thanks so much in advance.