Christmas Holiday in Europe

I know it’s still summer in the US –  But  December is not far away!

I guess since I was born in December, I have this thing for Christmas and shiny objects! And many of the best decorations and celebrations come from Europe. Poland, Germany and Italy are hubs for glass blowing and ornament making.
Some of Europe’s Christmas markets have been around since the Middle Ages, so it’s no surprise that Cologne Germany, which has five markets, is a seasonal popular hot spot.

Cathedral Market, Angels Market, Harbour Market, Old Market Christmas and the Market of Fairy Tales! Every year, the city centre of Cologne is touched by the magic of the festivities in the weeks leading up to Christmas. When the Christmas markets in Cologne open their gates on the last Monday before Advent, millions of visitors from around the world delight at the goods on sale at the quaintly designed huts (or “Buden”).

Some say you haven’t experienced Christmas lights until you’ve seen nearly four miles of them artfully hung in patterns dictated by Tiffany’s head designer in Copenhagen’s (Denmark) famed historic amusement park, Tivoli Gardens — and that’s not counting the 1,800+ strands dramatically draped on the lakeside willows. They say there are EVEN MORE LIGHTS added this year!

Copenhagen celebrates Jul (as in “yuletide”) in high style, with its famed Christmas market the centerpiece. Over 50 stalls are stocked with fine handmade crafts, including traditional figurines of clog-clad elves in pointy red caps, while vendors are selling iced doughnuts slathered with black currant jam and hefty cups of gløgg, a steaming hot mulled red wine laden with raisins, almonds, cinnamon sticks, and cloves—all of which are steeped in aquavit or schnapps.

Vienna is another magical place for the holiday season. At the traditional Vienna Magic of Advent, the Rathausplatz becomes a shining fairytale land. The 150 or so stands offer Christmas gifts, Christmas tree decorations, delicious sweet treats and wonderful warming drinks.

 

You see a sea of lights in the trees around City Hall park.
Not far away is the Christmas village on Maria-Theresien-Platz. Over 60 stands offering traditional handicrafts and original gift ideas are set up here during Advent. The romantic Christmas village in the Old AKH is also a popular meeting point during the season.

Not too many European cities have such a rich gay history as the Austrian capital. You can get up-to-the-minute information on the Facebook page “Gayfriendly Vienna”.

Christmas in Europe is a time for elaborate pastries, for lyrical midnight masses in Gothic churches, and for the upholding of quirky local traditions—in many countries, Christmas just isn’t complete without mischievous pixies (Copenhagen), kindly witches (Rome), treacherous demons (Salzburg), or an 8,000-pound fruitcake (Dresden)!

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