Leave it to Chicago to have an outdoor market in the middle of November. Today marks the opening of the city’s annual Christkindl Market and Daley Plaza tree lighting. Based on the Nuremburg Christmas market that dates back to the 1500s, the plaza is turned into an old world village with little shops selling crafts, ornaments, fabric, woodcarvings, jewelry, toys and other handmade items, as well as various German treats – think potato pancakes, brats, roasted nuts and German chocolates. And don’t forget the beer and Glühwein.
This market is so cute that I can’t decide whether I want to squeel like a little kid or throw up.
At Christkindlmarket you will also find Chicago’s official Christmas tree, a mailbox for sending letters to Santa, Santa’s house, various holiday entertainment and the city’s menorah.
I always thought Christkindl was the German name for Santa Clause. Not so! Christkindl is actually a fairy dressed in gold with a white robe, blond hair and a crown. Depending on the region or family tradition she might be the one bringing you gifts on Christmas. Father Christmas, or Santa Clause, is Weihnachtsmann. Try sounding that one out.
Every year, the city of Nuremberg chooses an actual Christkind to serve as the city’s official representative. For 13 years an official Nuremberg Christkind has opened the Chicago Christkindlmarket with a big ceremony after the Daley Plaza tree lighting.
The tree lighting is today around 4:00 p.m. and the market runs from November 23 – December 24.