Christmas markets are the ideal place to buy unusual gifts, to sip a festive drink and to try some seasonal fare. We sample some of the best in the US and Europe.
EUROPE CHRISTMAS MARKETS
Prague Christmas Market
December 2nd – January 6th Old Town Square & Wenceslas Square, Prague
The markets consist of brightly decorated wooden huts selling traditional handicrafts: glassware, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, metal ware, ceramics, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats, gloves and scarves, and puppets and dolls beautifully dressed in traditional costumes.
Explore more on: https:// www.pragueexperience.com/ events/christmas-markets.asp
Why not stay with our local hosts: Svatava, Svetlana & Katerina
Club suggestions: Visitors can observe traditional foods being made and sample all manner of local produce.
Berlin Christmas Market
23rd November – 31st December 2017 Breitscheidplatz, Berlin, Germany
Ride the Ferris Wheel and treat yourself to a spectacular view of the yuletide scene below. Maybe have a gluhwein to fortify yourself for the wintry weather, but not before you try iceskating in the open air. The stalls are decorated in the style of the early 1900s, you could be in a chocolate box scene. Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz is another gem. Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt is my all-time favourite in Berlin! Surrounded by impressive architecture it is especially famous for unique hand made products, art and Origami. There are live plays performed too which will get you into the Christmas spirit.
Explore more on: http:// www.germany-christmasmarket.org.uk/berlin_ christmas_market.php
Why not stay with our local host: Thomas
Club suggestions: Do not forget to sit on a tyre and slide down a snowy slope if you’d like a break from shopping.
Cork Christmas Market
December 1st - 3rd, December 8th – 10th, December 15th – 17th December 20th – 22nd Grand Parade, Cork, Republic of Ireland
Cork is a lively and vibrant city, ideal for all your Christmas shopping. Packed full of exciting boutiques and quirky gift shops, Cork is the ideal place to meet friends over a Christmas coffee or browse the famous English market.
Explore more on: http:// corkchristmascelebration.ie/ whats-on/christmas-on-thegrand-parade/
Why not stay with our local hosts: Michelle, Marian, Philomena
Club suggestions: Indulge in festive food markets and lively entertainment on the Grand Parade this Christmas. Treat the grandchildren to a wonderful experience at Santa’s Cork Workshop presented by Dowtcha Puppets in Bishop Lucey Park.
US CHRISTMAS MARKETS
New York Bank of America Winter Village
Late October Bryant Park, New York
Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is Midtown Manhattan’s winter wonderland. Enjoy Bryant Park through the winter with the holiday shops, festive programmes, ice skating, rinkside dining and seasonal food.
Explore more on: http:// bryantpark.org/amenities/ bank-of-america-wintervillage-at-bryant-park
Why not stay with our local hosts: Cornelia, Merry & Sheila
Club suggestions: Don’t miss the skating showcase at the Winter Carnival!
New York Union Square Holiday Market
November 16th – December 24th Union Square Park, Southern Side, New York
The Union Square Holiday Market is a must-visit destination for unique gifts created by local craftsmen and artists. Live music, a place to warm up, a kid’s craft studio and tempting food from Persian soup to hot chocolate are all part and parcel of this bustling market which attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Explore more on: http:// urbanspacenyc.com/unionsquare-holiday-market/
Why not stay with our local host: Cornelia, Merry & Sheila
Club suggestions: This is a busy market, with lots of visitors. Suggest you visit on weekdays, or in the early evening.
San Francisco, The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is an extravaganza of colour and excitement with 800 costumed performers recreating the world of
Dickensian London across three acres of vintage exhibition halls, theatres, music halls, tea rooms and shops. There is also plenty of seasonal fare including hot roasted organic chestnuts served in paper cones.
Explore more on: http:// dickensfair.com/general
Why not stay with our local hosts: Jane and Jessica
Club suggestions: This is a ticket only event and daily tickets are limited. Advance booking is recommended at www.dickensfair.com/tickets
Original Joe’s is an iconic San Francisco restaurant situated on Glenwood Avenue,Daly City. Ph 650-755-7400. Recently underwent a full renovation & the menu is old-school Italian American fare with classics such as Eggplant Parmigiana, Prime Rib French dip, and Ribeye Steak. Jessica’s favorite is Chicken Parmigiana, but she also likes to do the ribs with a side of ravioli (the best of both worlds!). And, they have the best martinis!
Philadelphia Christmas Village
November 23rd – December 24th Love Park, Philadelphia
An outdoor Christmas market, designed in a traditional German style. A variety of ornaments, high quality hand crafts and specialist jewellery are available in Love Park. Mulled wine, bratwurst and wonderful Christmas lights will get you into the holiday mood.
Explore more on: http://www.philachristmas. com/about.html
Why not stay with our local hosts: Cornelia, Merry & Sheila
Club suggestions: Be sure to taste the gingerbread and experience the delicious waffles.
Washington Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter
November 24th – December 23rd Centered at 8th and F Streets, Washington
This market is lively and packed full of exhibitors with beautiful jewellery, pottery and festive foods stalls to help you welcome in the holiday season.
Explore more on: http:// downtownholidaymarket.com/
Why not stay with our local host: Cynthia
Club suggestions: This market is worth a few visits as the organisers switch the stalls to allow more exhibitors to display their goods. The lovely ethnic clothes may be on sale one day and replaced by beautiful candles on another day. Great variety with over 60 stalls present daily.