If you are German or of German heritage, you can conjure up the images evoked by the word Christkindlmarkt – immediately you smell the fennel and cinnamon, the eucalyptus, and the burnt almonds, and you can taste the Pfeffernuesse, the Printen, the Lebkuchen, and the Stolle.

Copyright Andreas Schmidt

Did you know that the Leipzig Christmas market goes back to 1458, and is the second-oldest in Germany?  For years the biggest attraction has been the advent calendar, covering 857 qm, constructed by Leipzig students.  As over 500 years ago, the stalls in Leipzig are seamlessly incorporated into the inner city, and become part of the life of the city.  On the Augustusplatz a gigantic Ferris Wheel of 38 m height lets  you take in a unique view over the wintery town.   In Nuremberg you know to get a Zwetschengenmaennla  for prosperity or a good parti in marriage; in Leipzig you just go to enjoy yourself with a hot glass of Gluehwein, a piece of Stolle, and good cheer with your friends.  This scene is repeated all over Germany from Bremen to Munich, and from Aachen to Goerlitz.  Bert Wolf and Rick Steves of PBS have been taken you there by video or film for years.  Now we can enjoy a couple of Christmas markets over the next two weekends right here in Houston.

The first one takes place on Sunday, December 4, 2011, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the German American Elementary School, 3510 Mount Vernon, Houston, TX  77006.  There will be arts and crafts by the students, as well as traditional foods + beverages by the GAES PTO.  Surely that means at least Stolle and Gluehwein! There will be gifts made by the students, culinary treats such as herb oil, pesto, cranberry-persimmon chutney, and much more.  They also invite you to take a picture of your child or family in front of the Christmas tree and fire place for  your Christmas Cards.

A week later, you can enjoy the Christmas Market of the German Saturday School at Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church on Saturday, December 10, 2011 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., 2353 Rice Boulevard, Houston, TX  77005.  You will be able to enjoy all kinds of German food and drink, including the famous Swiss raclette, and as always, Stolle and Gluehwein included.

Later on December 10, 2011, the famous Revel series starts.  This time the story revolves around Christmas songs, dance, and customs in 19th century Bavaria and Alp communities – a special treat for all of us!  More information to follow on this website soon!

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