Fun Times at the Market

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READ TIME 4 MIN – With 15 weeks to go until the opening of the Chistkindlmarket, we want to celebrate all the little things that make the markets so special to each of our visitors. Earlier in the summer, we sent out a call through Facebook and our email newsletter for our visitors to send in stories of their favorite Chistkindlmarket memories. We received hundreds of responses but quickly noticed that they all seemed to have one thing in common: Being together with the ones you love, whether it be friends, family, or the significant other. Everyone wrote about their lovely memories of spending time with those special people while celebrating their annual favorite holiday tradition in Chicago. We want to share some snippets with you:

Traditions Old and New

Our family took a picture of our Chriskindlmarket mugs while toasting each other during our first outing [to Christkindlmarket], about 6 years ago.  That year, our son took the hand of the 5th mug in the photo in marriage.  So that turned out to be our first new family photo together!  We had it wall-mounted for each household, and a new tradition was born.  Every year since then, we go to Christkindlmarket together, have our hot wine, buy our cookies and roasted nuts, and take the same photo, telling the story of each year.” – Maureen 

“My husband and I went to the market on a date and we made it a tradition of our own to go every year. When we had our daughter we vowed to bring her every year and make it a family tradition.” – Jasmine

My husband and I attended the very first Christkindlmarket in Chicago. By coincidence we were downtown walking near Pioneer Court that very cold December day–25 years ago–and had to stop to see what was then a small cluster of stands.  I have the mug from that first visit and have every Christkindlmarket/Gluhwein mug for every year since in my collection.” – Sue

Remembering the wonderful Christmas experiences my Dear Late Husband, family & I shared at your beautiful Chicago market, sipping delightful gluhwein, warming the chill & the best salmon we had ever eaten worldwide. 2019 was our last Christmas, so the memories are very precious in my life starting with our Grandsons Chicago University graduations & us celebrating at the Christkindlmarket together for the last time. THANK YOU for my precious memories.” – Dr. Sherry

The first time I went to the Christkindlmarket, I was overcome with the sensation that my family had come together.  Both of my parents have direct German lineage, but going to the market was the first time my father’s family (which I will call the lebkuchen side) and my mother’s (which I will dub the strudel/streusel side) were in one place.  I wandered around aimlessly marveling that the two sides of my German family were in one place.  I was so happy.” – Leslie 

My husband proposed to me at the market on December 23, 2008.   He used the CBS studio screen across the street to “pop” the question. […] It was such a wonderful proposal.  We even used that year’s mugs as our wedding favors. […] People loved them.” – Rosemary 

I was young and green and just out of school […].  Everything about Chicago was magical to me, coming from a sleepy suburb with only the limited experience of high school, home life with my family, then business school. […] Then one day, I went out on my lunch break and it got even more magical — the Christkindlmarket was in the plaza across the street.  I could barely tear myself away from it to go back to work in an hour, but went right back after work.  […] I loved to stroll the little avenues between the stalls (especially when it was snowing!) and enjoy the big tree and all the other Christmas decorations. When I went after work, I always had a brat and mulled wine which completed the experience and wrapped it in such a wonderful atmosphere.  Even now in winter when I prepare hot spiced wine at home, I fill one of my special Christkindlmarket mugs.  At the first sip, I’m back in memory to younger days and can enjoy again a cherished holiday tradition.  Chicagoans are so lucky!” – Connie 

Little Christkindlmarket Miracles 

The day after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 25, 2016, I lost my wedding ring at the Chicago Daley Plaza Christkindlmarket! The weather was a typical Chicago very cold day.  […] When we finally got home and I took off my gloves, I noticed that my wedding ring was missing.  The cold had apparently shrunk my hands a bit and my ring must have slipped off.  […] I was quite distraught the next day after thinking more about losing a ring that I had worn for nearly 39 years. […]  My wife suggested that I stop by the Christkindlmarket to check with the Lost and Found people in person.  I thought this a great idea and did so. When I arrived […] the ladies behind the counter remembered the email and were very sympathetic toward my predicament, and told me “the only thing turned in this weekend so far was a silver ring.”  When they showed me the Ziploc bag with the “silver” ring I whooped for joy since I immediately knew it was my wedding ring!  Many thanks to the Christkindlmarket for great memories, good employees who work behind the scenes, and especially for the honorable people it attracts who did the right thing and allowed me to enjoy a superb Christmas celebration and 39th Wedding Anniversary with family, friends, and my original wedding ring!” – Paul 

My older sister told me about your event and how she and her family have gone to it every year since it started since she lived in Chicago. I started going with her in the early 2000’s when I returned to live in Illinois. Therefore, when I was 9 months pregnant (2.5 weeks before my due date) on December 5, 2010, there was no way I was going to miss my annual trip to Christkindlmarket[…] I took the subway downtown where I met up with my friends at about 4pm. We got to enjoy the festivities for about 2-3 hours, before we decided to head back. That is when contractions started (furthering the need to leave). […] My daughter was born on the 7th. Since then, Gwendolyn and I haven’t missed a Christkindlmarket. While I do not have the space needed to showcase them, I do have a collection [of all the mugs] from all the times Gwendolyn (and subsequent child-Jameson) have attended Christkindlmarket! – Nicky

For us, the best memories are those that we get to share with every single person who walks through our gates. The memories we have with our visitors, our vendors and our staff have become as near and dear as those with our own families.  We can’t wait to make more memories with you all, dear friends, when we open our doors for the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Christkindlmarket in 2021.

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