I’m living for about 7 years in Canada now and I haven’t visited any Christmas markets up until a couple weeks ago. I’m from Austria where we have awesome Advent markets (if you’ve never been in Austria, I’d suggest visiting it anytime between middle of November and end of December – in my opinion the best time to visit – apart from it being a bit cold and you’ll likely search for the sun without successful) and I figured it’s time to visit some markets over here.
Every year around this time, I miss home a lot. Walk through Vienna and you don’t only see the all-year-around beautiful architecture, but also awesome Christmas lights, stands with hot drinks and my absolute favorite, hot chestnuts. This year, I decided to give Canadian Christmas markets a chance. It’s kind of weird, but apparently lots of Canadians don’t ever visit these markets here. My husband has never been at one before and I’ve met many people here that haven’t either.
We’ve visited a smaller Christmas market in a nearby city and a week after a big one with about 200 stands. I was actually positively surprised. I really like that at those markets you see mostly local sellers and you find a lot of nice stuff. Unfortunately, you pay entry for many markets (the ones we went to, but there are also free ones). On the one side, I understand that it costs a lot of money to have those markets inside (since honestly, who wants to be surprised by -20 degrees Celsius or worse outside), but on the other side, it prevents people to visit those markets more than once a year.
The whole family enjoyed the trips (especially to the big one), but it wasn’t quite the same as at home. I asked my husband, why he didn’t enjoy it quite that much and he stated that Austrian Advent markets are very social events. You pretty much always meet friends at those markets, walk a bit through, drink a few hot wines to warm up (not the best if you’re on a diet considering the amount of sugar in them, but they are just delicious), maybe have hot chestnuts as a snack and chat for a few hours.
I remember, I used to spend frequently time at the market in front of the university with a few colleagues. We drank one, two hot wines and then we walked to the math tutorial. It didn’t make it more fun, but at least a bit more bearable (I do enjoy math, but those tutorials were definitely hardcore).
Nevertheless, I’m planning to visit more markets over here in the coming years. They aren’t what I’m used to but some of them are definitely worth visiting.