… Christmas Markets

I’m a sucker for Christmas. 

Always have been.

I like the lights.  I like the music.  I like the seasonal cheer and the peace on earth and goodwill to all men.

I’m the sort of person who cries at the Muppets Christmas Carol and the Yogi Bear Christmas Special.   Or when the Snowman melts or when Linus tells Charlie Brown about the true meaning of Christmas.




And do you know why this is?  It’s because at Christmas we love traditions. 

It links us to all our Ghosts of Christmas past. Connecting our too-excited-to-sleep, noses pressed against the glass childhoods to our stressed-out, catering for twelve, borrowing chairs from the Joneses, “it’s all gone too commercial” todays.

Each year Gordon Ramsay suggests we put a twist on Christmas dinner because “everyone’s tired of boring old Christmas turkey.”

Well, guess what, Gordon? 

Nobody’s tired of boring old Christmas turkey!

It’s the best meal of the year!

Never forget when Mr. McGuffin taught the school choir “In come I, Sir Christ-e-mas!” when all the audience wanted to do was belt out Hark the Herald and hit the mince pies.

We like tradition.

So, as I said:  I am an absolute sucker for Christmas.

And for this reason, I’m the perfect target audience for Christmas markets.  And Manchester Christmas Market is magnificent.

A billion stalls (trust me – I’ve counted them) with handcrafted baubles, home made wreaths, sheepskin mittens and enough candy canes and chocolate truffles to make a diabetologist weep.

So, each year I hightail it down to the markets to soak up a little bit of yuletide cheer.

First stop, the mulled wine stall outside the town hall.  Only to be referred to as gluhwein if a) you want it to be known that you go skiing, and b) you are a prick.

It never feels massively safe forcing my way through a crowd carrying a cup of cinnamon scented hot vimto the temperature of molten lava.  But it will be even worse this year with the steamed-up specs due to the Christmassy cocktail of cold weather, hot drink and surgical mask.  Just don’t stop suddenly in front of me.  Should scalded acquaintances be forgot, and all that.

We then do our annual stock up on European Christmas goodies.  The mandatory German sausages which spend 11 months in the back of a cupboard before being replaced and next year’s market.  And the eighteen different shapes of the same ginger biscuit as sold by the Dutch gingerbread man.

I always like the beautiful wooden toys but I walk on by, imagining the look of dead-eyed contempt I could expect if I bought the girl one of the intricately hand carved and painted four-piece wooden jigsaws as her present.

Getting peckish we have two options. 

At one end of the market, we have the hog roast.  They somehow make it appear more seasonal by serving it up from an enormous tray of pulled pork with a severed pig’s head at one end and a forlorn looking curly tail at the other, and charging you eleven quid for a glorified ham sandwich with a bit of crackling the size of a thumbnail (or if you’re lucky, an actual thumbnail like I got on mine in 2016).  It’s like a macabre mash up of Ebeneezer Scrooge and the Lord of the Flies.

So we instead opt for the German sausage grill.

Every year I buy one.

Every year I long to enjoy it.

Every year it’s bloody awful.

They smell amazing.  Lined up on the 10-foot-wide hanging grill they look amazing.  And with the sizzle and spit of juice dancing off the hot charcoals they even sound amazing.

And with face aglow and full of hope, I sink my teeth into my nine quid cling-film wrapped tube of meat-flavoured Angel Delight.  And there’s a pop and a scrunch and the – what shall we call it?  – processed pig liquor trickles down the back of your throat.  And you remember.

It’s like biting into a used condom without going through the inconvenience of removing it first.


And do you know what?

I’m going to buy one next year as well.

Because it’s the tradition.

7 thoughts on “… Christmas Markets

  1. Haha. Excellent as always. I know someone who buys wooden garden ornaments He stands with a carpenters apron on sanding. Nowhere does he say he actually made them because he buys them ready made 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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