I love a good Christmas market.
I’ve been to a fair few – Bristol, Bath, Edinburgh, Bruges even – and one of the things I love is that actually, wherever you go, you get vaguely the same loop of bratwurst, Russian dolls, furry hats, handcrafted wooden candlesticks and weird wine bottle holders made out of metal. There’s something comforting in the familiar, like visiting a National Trust property anywhere in the country and knowing you can bank on a nice cup of tea and lavender soaps in the gift shop.
In 2010 I went to Birmingham Christmas market. I had only recently met my boyfriend at the time – he was a student there – and we (or me at least, I’m not sure it’s something everyone does…) were in that exciting yet awkward phase of trying to do and say everything you think the other person would like, meaning that neither of you ever make a decision about anything.*
“Shall we go to the Christmas market?”
“I don’t mind. Do you want to?”
“Sure, if you do?”
That sort of thing.
We did eventually get there and it was really lovely. There is always something magical about being out in the dark, Christmas lights twinkling everywhere you look, crowds of people laughing, scoffing their bratwurst and chugging back the mulled wine. The smells of a Christmas market are glorious – food cooking, festive spices brewing – it captures the very essence of Christmas.
TOP TIP: If you do fancy a trip to Birmingham Christmas market I would recommend treating yourself to a nice Birmingham hotel rather than staying in a student house in Selly Oak where central heating is considered an unnecessary luxury.
The downside of Birmingham, in my experience at least, is that it can get very busy. We did end up in one of those shoulder to shoulder situations at times, where you can’t really look at anything as you are just trying to walk upright and not slosh your tepid mulled wine over anyone. If you fancy a bit of a quieter location for your Christmas shopping, you could try staying in Coventry instead.
Same bratwurst, shorter queues.
Do you have a favourite Christmas market?
*I have to confess that I probably don’t grow out of this as a relationship grows. Something to talk to the therapist about.