If you haven’t been to a European Christmas Market, you’re missing one of the greatest holiday traditions in the world. The gingerbread hearts and candied apples hanging from the stalls, handmade straw and yarn ornaments, wooden figurines for nativity scenes, nutcracker soldiers, and aromas of sausages and gluhwein are on every corner. I spent my childhood in Germany and exploring the Christmas markets are some of my fondest memories.
Quebec City is said to have one of the best Christmas Markets in North America, as close to a European Christmas market without the cost of a transatlantic flight. It may not have the number of stalls a true German Christmas Market or the extent of products, but the sights, smells, and tastes are all there in small scale along with rosy cheeked patrons and Christmas music surrounded by historical architecture.
Vendors display their wares from small wooden cabins in the enclosed square tucked between City Hall and the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Old Quebec. Ornaments, wool clothing, jewelry, chocolates, holiday cakes, and honey make excellent presents, but for the steadfast shopper, the warm gluhwein, hot pretzels and sausages are the reward for braving freezing temperatures to find gifts for their loved ones.