If you have ‘Obsessive Christmas Disorder’ like me, then Manchester will not disappoint you. Coming from the US, I was hesitant about having the same joyous feeling about Christmas, being in a different place; it was the opposite. The UK does not celebrate Thanksgiving (a traditional American holiday), so Christmas starts in November. Manchester has a day specifically for turning all Christmas decorations on, which jumpstarts the Christmas spirit. A few days after the Christmas lights switch-on, the magical Manchester Christmas Markets start.
Christmas Markets are a German tradition, which started in Manchester in 1999. Albert Square is the main location for the Christmas Market hubs, running this year 10 November – 21 December. Going to the Christmas Markets is a perfect activity to do with your coursemates because there is something for everyone. You may be wondering what you do at the Christmas Markets? Well, one piece of advice – be ready to eat.
When you walk into the Christmas Markets, there are several adjacent wooden huts with different vendors in each. You are able to browse handmade gifts such as ornaments or room décor, various Christmas decorations, but more importantly traditional European food. This was a dream for me because Christmas Markets are not in the US, so this was a filling experience. Not to mention, the feeling of joy at Christmas, was the perfect treatment for my homesickness.
My favourite part of the Christmas Market was definitely all of the food. My dad is a chef and my mother is Italian, so food was a large part of my upbringing. When my friend and I went, we tried traditional German spicy sausage dogs topped with onions and ketchup first.
Afterwards, we tried the other Christmas Market must – mulled wine. Mulled wine is another German Christmas Market tradition and is basically hot wine. This may have you sceptical right now, but it’s actually quite yummy. The huts have all different flavours for you to choose from; I got apple mulled wine and my friend got cinnamon. For those of you who do not drink, there are also yummy hot cocoa stands all around the market.
Also, we cannot forget the most important thing about Christmas: the sweets! Leave it to Manchester Christmas Markets to not disappoint because there are tons of sugar sweet options for you to devour. For me, I chose traditional Dutch mini pancakes with Nutella and powdered sugar. This was a fascinating thing to watch because each pancake is put into a little holder on the grill, popped out, and topped with your choice of deliciousness. I also picked a champagne-infused chocolate covered strawberry, because calories never count during the holidays.
What I loved most about the Christmas Markets was the feeling of home, love, and a warm environment, even if it was 4 degrees celsius. You can certainly feel the Christmas spirit for the full two months before the big holiday- just another perk of living in Manchester, during this time.