For the past three years, we have begun a beautiful Christmas tradition. We head to Chicago for the most amazing German Winter Festival–The Christkindlmarket. This glorious festival instantly transports you into a snowy European village at Christmas time. From the smell of hot chocolate (with the best whipped cream) and spiced mulled wine, to the quaint wooden huts selling authentic German fare, to the twinkling lights and colorful Christmas decorations, the sweets, beer steins, and traditional German cuisine, –this place will certainly fill your heart with the spirit of Christmas!
The only problem has been the massive crowds, but this year a second festival is open right in our home city of Naperville, Illinois. We are so excited to head there this weekend and are hoping the crowds are reduced significantly.
The Christkindlmarket open air marketplace began in Nuremburg in 1545, and Chicago’s adaptation is one of the largest of its kind in the USA. We are excited to see how Naperville’s compares and will update this blog after we go.
A must when attending this market, is receiving their signature commemorative ceramic boot and mugs. We love our collection so far. You can get gluhwein or hot chocolate in them. Get the hot spiced wine–it will warm you up since it always seems to be below zero when we go. Do dress warmly with boots, gloves, scarves and hats. There is one warming hut where they sell the wine, but the lines are massive and finding a seat inside is rare. I am someone who really cannot tolerate cold weather, yet I still find this festival worth attending, despite my frostbit toes–definitely doubling the socks this year.
The highlight for most people is the outstanding food. The pretzel selections are outstanding. The potato pancakes with applesauce were the best I’ve ever tasted and I’ve been to Germany three times. The schnitzel sandwich is delicious and the bratwurst melt in your mouth. I haven’t tried the currywurst yet, but overheard people talking about how incredible it is. That will be a must try this time. And definitely do not forget to grab some warm nuts to snack on as you walk around-there are many flavors to choose from–Cinnamon, amaretto,chocolate, and more.
Our favorite tent is the one selling handblown glass ornaments. They are so beautiful and delicate, although very expensive, so we only buy one each year. Most of the vendors only accept cash, so be prepared. The food and crafts are not cheap by any means. You may want to bring a bottle of water to save on that cost.
So despite the cold, the crowds and the cost, The Christkindlmarket is still worth setting the tone for a magical Christmas and starting a wonderful holiday tradition! It is such a fun and lively place! We will update this blog with our Naperville Christkindlmarket review and lots of pictures!
Have you ever been to the Christkindlmarket?
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