As I opened the car door and jumped out into the crisp November air I shivered and slid my knit toque* onto my head, pulling it down far enough to cover the tops of my ears.
The cold still shocked me every time I stepped outside. The late autumn weather in downtown Vancouver was colder than the coldest night all year in Southern California.
Across the street, on the corner, I could see white Christmas lights and a line of people in coats, boots, toques and gloves.
Once we had my god son all snug in his stroller we began following the smell of roasting bratwurst that filled the air. I began realizing just how starving I actually was.
Sidney, Erica’s four-year-old daughter, stood at my side and held her arms up towards me with her infamous (as well as irresistible) sassy smile on her face. I reached down and lifted her up onto my hip before walking across the street and getting into the long but quickly moving line.
Approximately ten minutes later we walked through the entrance. The adults of our group made their way to the booth where we could show ID in exchange for a bracelet that allowed us to consume alcohol. You know you don’t want to miss out on some mulled wine!
Before we could satisfy our grumbling stomachs we needed to satisfy the youngest awake member of the family – little Wyatt was in and out of a deep sleep despite the high energy environment around us.
So Erica and Sidney had a photo op with the Gingerbread Man & Woman. Pretty nice of them to take a moment out of their busy schedule — you know with all that running as fast as they can. Ha! This is where you laugh… Okay, moving on.
Then I took Sidney on the Carousel a few times. Four-year-olds. They dig that stuff. And maybe 22-year-olds do too.
That evening we ingested vast amounts of traditional German food — including the longest bratwurst you’ve ever laid eyes on (just see below) generously topped with sauerkraut; Schnitzel, which was breaded and fried to perfection; freshly roasted chestnuts; and the delicious (but strong!) Gluhwein, steaming hot red wine spiced with cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, and citrus that warms you from the inside out.
After over-indulging our appetites we walked around and checked out the different Christmas gifts and decorations being sold by vendors at nearly fifty wooden booths — things like nutcrackers, German beer steins, tree ornaments, and a whole lot more! A talented live band played festive Christmas music on a stage in the center of the event.
I stopped to take some photos of my brother and his fiancee — wouldn’t this have been a sweet picture if he weren’t chowing down on those spiral-cut-potatoes-on-a-stick? I don’t know their actual name but they were delicious so I don’t blame him.
Then the rest of us gathered for a group photo.
It really was an incredible way to spend the holidays with family. It’s barely September and I’m already looking forward to this year’s German Christmas Market experience!
The Vancouver Christmas Market is located at 650 Hamilton Street on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza. It takes place from November 22 – December 24.
Adult tickets (13 years and older) cost $6 on weekends and during the evening on weeknights; $3 during the day during the week; $3 for kids 7-12 no matter the day or time. Kids 6 and under enter for free.
1. Admission is CASH only!
2. Print off the VIP Fast Pass from their website, it saves you time in line.
3. Once you pay to enter the Christmas Market you automatically get in free on return visits! Just hang onto your ticket.
4. During lunch you can BOGO! Buy One, Get One ticket FREE! Just print the lunch pass on their website.
5. When you buy a mug of Gluhwein or Feuerzangenbowle you automatically put down a $2 deposit for the mug. If you’d like to keep your mug like I did, go for it! If you’d like that $2 back you can exchange your mug for a toonie (a.k.a. $2 Canadian dollars).
* For all you non-Canadians out there, a TOQUE is a round-shaped hat normally worn during cold weather, and otherwise known as a beanie.