The Christkindlmarket Mugs – History & Designs

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READ TIME 3 MINThere are only 5 more weeks till Christkindlmarket returns! **High Fünf (five)!** What better way to celebrate the fast-approaching fun than by revealing some secrets about everyone’s favorite souvenir, the annual Christkindlmarket mug! But first… a little bit of fun history! Everyone who has attended the market knows about Gluhwein, a hot spiced wine and iconic German Christmastime drink. Gluhwein literally translates from German to English as “glow wine” referring to the red-hot irons that were used to heat up the wine when the drink first became popular hundreds of years ago. In fact, references to Gluhwein date back as far as the year 1420, when it was considered a drink for the noblemen in Germany.  Along with this precious sweet and spicy drink, there came the need for an appropriate vessel, something that could stand up to the challenge, handle the heat… and look cute while doing it!

Though originally served in the typical clayware mugs of the old days, the mulled wine mugs have evolved and grown with the popularity of holiday markets throughout the world. The mugs themselves have actually become just as popular as the drink they contain. Varying in shape, color and design, there is one thing that all Gluhwein mugs (no matter where in the world they are) have in common. You may have noticed a small number up near the top of the mug that says “.2l”.  That actually stands for the standard size of all Gluhwein mugs worldwide- .2 liters.

The Christkindlmarket Chicago mugs became an instant sensation when we first opened our doors in 1996. We didn’t start changing the shape and design annually until 1999.  The green mug that was used for the first three years of the market is now one of the most coveted mugs around. Along with all our annual souvenir mugs since then, collectors can always count on finding something special for their sipping pleasure. We have had thin and tall shaped mugs, short and fat shaped mugs, heart-shaped, hat-shaped, and of course the ever-popular boot-shaped mugs.

Fun fact: Despite popular belief, the boot-shaped mugs are not a traditional German shape and are most popular in the US. In the 25 years that we have had the Christkindlmarket Chicago, we have actually only had a boot-shaped mugs nine times. However, our 2019 boot mug did come in three different designs (and interior colors) to correspond with the three market locations for that year (Chicago, Wrigleyville and Milwaukee).

You can check out more information and pictures of all the mugs from previous years in this Chicago Tribune article, written by Kori Rumore.

Are you ready to check out this year’s mug!? Well…. We are not going to give away the secret that easily. Starting on Tuesday, October 19th through Thursday, October 21st, you will be able join us in an online scavenger hunt to reveal this year’s mug! Be among the first to solve our riddles, and you can win a 2021 25th Anniversary Mug as well as little giveaways from our partners at Gallagher Way and our two long-term vendors Chiya Chai and Doenermen! You will have new chances each day so make sure to follow and check our social media (Facebook, Instagram) to get your clues. Even if you don’t want to hunt for the mugs, you will still be able to see them soon, as the official public reveal will take place next Friday, October 22nd. Stay tuned for more details that will be announced on all our channels next week!

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