It’s time again for the Weihnachtsmärkte. Stuttgart’s Christmas Market runs from 29 November to 23 December. Uwe and I always go to drink a glühwein with friends. You should, too!
The Christmas Market began as a short winter market.  Europe has held seasonal markets for centuries. Vienna, Austria’s Dezembermarkt dates all the way back to 1294/1296. But a Weihnachtsmarkt is special, and signals the beginning of the Advent season leading up to Christmas. This tradition is found in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Alsace region of France. 
Medieval guilds tightly controlled who could produce or sell wares, so each city market was unique and had a distinct, regional flavor. This remains true today. At a German Christmas Market, you’ll find these items for sale at open-air booths:
- Tin, blown glass, wooden, and straw ornaments
- Round wooden presses or molds for cookies known as Springele
- Gebrannte Mandeln (candied toasted almonds)
- Magenbrot and Lebkuchen gingerbread (Lebkuchen is often sold in beautiful and reusable decorative tins)
- Eierpunsch (eggnog)
- Clothes, including hand knit hats and gloves and scarves
- Hot sausages and
- Glühwein: a magical drink of mulled wine served from huge brass vats, with a shot of liquor added if you want to get extra-warm 
Our city of Stuttgart’s Weihnachtsmarkt is famous for its decorated booth roofs.
The market attracts more than 3,000,000 visitors each year! Tour busses pull up and unload shoppers from all over Europe. The Weihnachtsmarkt takes over several piazzas downtown; the 3x weekly Wochenmarkt for fresh produce and flowers moves to the Königstraße, the main pedestrian street.
I try to go a couple times each year. I head for the weekly market for fruits and vegetables and then meet a friend for a Bratwurst and a Glühwein. Or I arrange to meet Uwe after work.
We wend our way through rows of booths, enjoying hearing so many different languages along with the local Schwäbisch dialect.
NOTES: © Jadi Campbell 2017. Last photo courtesy of Wikipedia; all other photos © Jadi Campbell 2017.  Also called Christkindlmarkt, Marché de Noël, Christkindlesmarkt, or Christkindlmarket.  The tradition has since spread to Romania, England, and other countries.  Nothing is worse than a glass of hot Glühwein if the weather refuses to get properly cold. It’s just, wrong, on too many levels….
NOTES on NOTES:  ….and nothing is better than a starry winter night, a hot mug of Glühwein, snow gently falling as you stand with your sweetie, the sounds of talk and laughter of other Weihnachtsmarkt visitors all around you as carolers sing in the courtyard of the 16th century castle across the plaza. Prosit, und Fröhe Weihnachten!