Updated December 2016
Like most everyone else in mid-December, my schedule gets a bit more hectic leading up to the holidays. I can’t really complain too much, though. I may have a few extra things to do and events to attend but it’s my wife who shoulders most of the Christmas-prep responsiblity. She does the shopping, the baking, card-writing, the gift-wrapping, etc. I’m willing to help – but she knows better than to ask for my assistance with baking (apparently, you’re not supposed to keep licking the spoon and putting it back in the batter), or shopping (my gift suggestions are met with eye-rolls), or wrapping (I still don’t get why I can’t use duct tape!) So, when my wife recently asked me to take her to the Texas Christkindl Market in Arlington, of course, I said yes. While it’s not the kind of thing I would normally choose to do on my own, if my wife wants to go, then we’re going.
The Texas Christkindl Market is modeled after the centuries-old Christmas markets that pop up during November and December in Germany, Austria and other parts of Europe. These markets are HUGE tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors who come to shop, eat and soak up some Christmas spirit. When the city of Arlington decided to import this tradition home, they did it right: they visited Rothenburg, Germany for inspiration and formed a partnership with city officials to help with the authenticity of the market. The partnership also included a promotional alliance: the city of Rothenburg promotes holiday tourism to Arlington and vice versa.
It must be working. Only in its fourth year, it is now the largest Christkindl market in the South. Last year, there were over 100,000 attendees including visitors from 11 countries.
It’s not hard to see why either. Strolling through the twinkling lights and red-and-white striped huts, smelling the tantalizing fragrances of bratwurst, schnitzel, spicy-sweet pastries and glühwein (spiced wine), it feels so festive. I almost expect it start snowing. I’m really impressed with the items available here. Many of the products are imported from Germany: authentic nutcrackers, smoke men (incense smokers) , hand-carved nativity sets, and Schwibbogen (candle arches depicting intricate scenes). Other vendors carry unique, handcrafted items you won’t find anywhere else. The market runs from the end of November through December 23.
Christmas is in the air here and before you know it, it gently settles on you like snow and you feel a bit lighter, less stressed, happier. And, the glühwein sure doesn’t hurt either!