A German perspective on Atlanta’s first Christkindl Market.
Yesterday I had a girls night out downtown Atlanta with my oldest daughter Zaynah, Andrea (a new German friend I made) and Andrea’s daughter Sophia who attends Middle School with my Zizi. We ventured to Atlantic Station to check out Atlanta’s first ever Christkindl Market. This will be a short blog entry but I wanted to give all my American friends a German view to this German holiday tradition and how Atlanta compared.
Let me start by adding first that not only did I grow up enjoying a Weihnachtsmarkt (this is what we call it in my neck of the woods in Germany as I am from Trier and different regions have different names for it), but I also actually worked at a booth (we sold all things gem stones) together with my family for many many years. I was thrilled when I found out that Atlanta was starting a new Holiday tradition! (You can check out this fun clip of the Trierer Weihnachtsmarkt that I found on YouTube here.)
I went into this trip the same way I do after reading a good book and attending the movie to that book: no expectations to match the original whatsoever! (This technique has worked great for me because in all these years I’ve never been disappointed after watching a movie and am usually just pleasantly surprised about the pieces and parts they DID get right from the book. LOL) Anyways, back to the Christkindl Market. If you’ve been to Atlantic Station obviously you’ll know that the space is somewhat limited. You can’t have 100 booths! No way. However, I am hoping that next year they will bring in a few more booths because there certainly was more room to grow. The booths they did have offered indeed very lovely traditional items. Here’s a tip to the creators of the Market: you don’t have to have ALL GERMAN booths. The Markets in Germany are very traditional when it comes to the foods and the wooden arts, but let me tell you….it’s more about artisans and handmade crafts! I like that you had 3 booths alone for drinks and offered Glühwein. But….we were there around 6:30pm and only one of those was still open. Plus, major con for this German non-alcoholic drinking gal, you had absolutely NO option for kids or people who don’t drink wine/alcohol. Try and get some Kinderpunsch next time. It’s super easy to make or to get, actually, IKEA down the street offers it! 😉 I also had a chat with the guys working the Glühwein booth and told them that you need to add the year to your mugs! You cannot expect people to want to buy the mug if it isn’t a collectors item. And you do that by adding the year to it. I can’t even tell you how many mugs we collected over the years! I was ready to buy one last night but realized that I could most likely buy the same one next year which totally took the thrill out of the purchase. So instead I just got myself a hot chocolate in a paper cup.
I’m super happy to see that you had a Currywurst booth. (Which was very delicious and was served with a roll on the side and lots and lots of Curryketchup and curry powder that I requested.) Here are 2 suggestions of food items I think you should add for sure to next year’s Market: Krumper-Schnittchen (potato pancakes) with apple sauce and Dampfnudeln (flour dumpling or white roll but it has to be a specific roll…NOT the American roll!) with Vanilla sauce and maybe some sour cherries (Aldi always carries the cherries in jars during the holiday months). These along with Lebkuchen, traditional cookies and Brat-Currywurst are total staples at any German Christmas Market. I didn’t actually try any of the cookies sold at the booth but I got myself a bag of lovely chocolates. What can I say….I’m a chocoholic! We did try the Lebkuchen and I must admit….again, you should consider collaborating with Aldi! They sell them in boxes along with other traditional holiday cookies and they taste better than the ones we tried last night. Andrea and I were also very happy to see that you served fresh roasted nuts! We tried some of the almonds and cashews. Definitely bring those back again next year too!!
We all loved the giant Christmas tree! It really is a perfect backdrop for pictures and adds a lovely atmosphere. We also were lucky enough to catch some of the fake snow. That definitely was a highlight not just for our 2 girls but all the other kids we saw playing around. We didn’t check out the Santa cottage but the line of families was there and they seemed to enjoy it! You should also consider inviting local bands and chorus groups to come and perform live. Live holiday music is another big thing I definitely missed last night. I love that you have the ice skating just down the street inviting people to stay longer and spend more time at the market between all the shopping they can do. Maybe even consider adding a few booths down by the rink if there’s enough room.
So, heading to the market with absolutely zero expectations and knowing that there is a snowball’s chance in hell this one would actually hold up in comparison to a real German Christmas Market….I must say that overall I think they did a good job for their first year! Kudos Atlanta! Don’t get me wrong, there is lots of room to improve on but I have a good feeling that they will take the steps to make those improvements for next year, and if you want a fun cultural experience for the holiday season with your family I definitely suggest you go check it out.
Atlanta: If you need any help…this German girl right here from Trier (Germany’s oldest city!) along with my friend Andrea, who grew up in Nürnberg of all places, are more than willing to help guide you in the right direction any way we can on making next year’s market an even better and more authentic experience. I plan to go back with the rest of my clan during the day so they can enjoy this German tradition as well! Christmas is always the time of year when I miss my home country, family and friends the most and it is partially due to missing out on the Christmas tradition. So thank you Atlanta for bringing a piece of home here to me and my clan to enjoy!
P.S.: Da dieser Eintrag mehr für meine Amerikanischen Leser ist lasse ich den deutschen Text diesmal aus. <3