Christmas Shopping with a Twist

By Emma Jane Hade

 With Christmas adverts everywhere we know that Ryan Tubridy will soon be on our television screens in an awful jumper, but more importantly, that Christmas is only a few weeks away!  There’s no point in being the Grinch, so bring out your inner child and get into the festive mood. It is afterall, an excuse to drink, be merry and get presents! Why not try something different this year, like visiting a classical Christmas market.

 Having spent my childhood years in Germany, I have plenty of memories of the traditional Christmas markets.  Last December, whilst on a hen party to Dusseldorf, we made it our business to visit many of the markets the city has to offer.

 Entering Dusseldorf’s ‘Old Town’ is like stepping into a fairytale. Nestled between the beautiful, old buildings are hundreds of huts, each with something different to offer.  The smell of traditional food and drink creates a mouth-watering aroma and Christmas music can be heard piping through speakers in the background.  The hustle and bustle of the swelling crowds contribute to make an exciting atmosphere that would melt even Scrooge’s heart!

 As you move through the stands it feels as though you’ve walked into Aladdin’s cave; there are so many unique items with all intricate detail.  Among the hundreds of stands and huts, you will find; glass baubles, hand crafted woodwork, candles, trees, ornaments, as well as more unique items such as festive toilet paper!

 With these decorations, you can expect to pay anything from a few euro, to well over the €100 mark, all depending on the size and type of item.

 No Christmas market visit is complete without sampling the traditional German ‘Bratwurst’ or a glass of ‘Gluhwein’ (Germany’s version of mulled wine), perfect on a cold, crisp German afternoon.  For a glass of this, you can expect to pay €3… It’s well worth it!

 It’s possible to visit the Dusseldorf Christmas market on a student budget.  Aerlingus fly direct from Dublin to Dusseldorf, and with flexible dates, you could fly for as little as €40 each way.  Accommodation can vary in price, but some hostels (based on 4 people sharing), can charge as little as €50 for two nights per person.

 A trip to a traditional Christmas market is well worth considering, and with Dusseldorf’s ‘Altstadt’ (Oldtown), boasting over 250 pubs, a great weekend is guaranteed…

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