Visit a Christkindlmarket this holiday season

By Sarah Fischer

Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, we all have our own traditions practiced throughout the holiday season. Visiting Christkindlmarkets during the holidays is a wonderful way to learn about the ways Christmas is celebrated in other cultures, but it also presents the opportunity to start new holiday traditions.

Christkindlmarkets have been a German tradition since the 1500s in which villagers would buy and sell traditional handcrafted items such as blown glass ornaments, cuckoo clocks and hand carved nutcrackers. These seasonal markets are a jewel in German history, and have become so famous over the decades that they have moved into the United States, creating a fever of excitement among Christmas-lovers.

Chicago has hosted its famed Christkindlmarket since its debut in 1996, and there are now four major Christkindlmarkets in the Midwest: Chicago, Milwaukee, Wrigleyville and Naperville. There are multitudes of things to do at markets like these, and you’ll find yourself going home not only with bags of souvenirs, but also with new knowledge about a different culture.



There are dozens of German food selections to choose from while walking through the village. From bratwurst with sauerkraut to potato pancakes to delicious German desserts such as strudel, each vendor will entice you with delectable fragrances.

Sarah Fischer/Northern Star



One of the most famous beverages to find at these markets is glühwein, a hot mulled wine served with spices and fruits. Drink selections at Christkindlmarkets can also range from rich, German hot chocolate to spiced apple cider.

Sarah Fischer/Northern Star



Most of the vendors in Christkindlmarkets sell beautiful and unique German handicrafts such as ornaments, clocks, trinkets, clothing and other stunning Christmas decorations. These markets are the perfect place to purchase unique handmade gifts for friends and family.

Sarah Fischer/Northern Star