Today, we join Erin Salazar of Early Star Creative on a walk through a Christmas Market in Vienna, Austria, and learn how to re-create the Christmas experience with our kids using a bit of creativity at home.
One of the most delightful aspects of visiting Europe in the weeks leading up to Christmas is the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through a local Christmas market, known in German as the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christkindlmarkt.
Today I’d like you to take a stroll with me through the streets of Vienna, Austria, a lovely city known for its rich history of music as well as beautiful architecture and delicious food. The Advent market has been a Viennese tradition since the year 1298. Today there are more than 20 Christmas markets in the city.
A Christmas Market in Vienna, Austria
As dusk begins to fall, a crisp, chilly breeze blows. I hope you remembered your scarf! If not, I’m sure we can find you a new one at one of the booths. Items for sale range from clothing to popular gift items, children’s toys, and of course all kinds of intricate Christmas decorations! You can also buy hot food and beverages to warm you up as you browse.
One interesting decoration that is fun to look for is the Christmas pyramid. You can buy a small one to hang on your tree. Made entirely out of wood and equipped with paddles like a windmill, the pyramid spins when the hot air rising from a candle pushes against the paddles. As you walk through the market, you may find a large decorative Christmas pyramid all lit up for shoppers to enjoy as they pass by.
As we wander from booth to booth, breathe in the smell of fresh-baked gingerbread, hear the sound of festive music, and soak in the sight of beautiful lights and handcrafted decorations. Enjoy the cheerful bustle of holiday shoppers seeking gifts as you immerse yourself in the unique cultural tradition of the Christmas market!
Christmas Market Activity
If you are studying European Christmas traditions with your young children, it would be fun to set up your own Christmas market at home! Kids love role play, and this type of activity is great for practicing math and practical life skills.
- Table or counter to use as a market booth
- Pretend money (if you don’t have any, order these, or let the kids make their own!)
- Toys and accessories to “sell” (you can let the kids make their own crafts to sell)
- Christmas lights to decorate the booth
- Christmas music to play during the shopping experience
- Cookies and warm drinks for a festive snack at the end
Directions for Creating Your Christmas Market:
Let the kids arrange their items for sale on the table or counter, which will be their booth in the Christmas market.
They can decorate it with ornaments or lights if desired, and play festive music to get their shoppers in the holiday mood.
Items can be labeled with prices, or they can remain unlabeled to give the kids a fun experience in bargaining.
Once the booth is set up, let the sales begin! If not everyone has their own booth and ware to “sell”, be sure to allow time to switch roles so buyers and sellers can try out each other’s roles. End with a special snack if desired.
Erin Salazar is the creator of Pix the Panda and head of graphic design at Early Star Creative. She is a teacher and mother of three who currently lives in the United States. However, some of her past homes include Germany, Romania, and Mexico. Connect with her on Facebook to see her newest projects or hire her to illustrate yours!