Christkindl German Market in Chicago


Every year I look forward to visiting the Christkindl German Christmas Market located in downtown Chicago’s Daley Plaza. It’s a miniature version of the famous German markets and it hosts 50 vendors and the city’s official Christmas tree.
Today marked the third year in a row that I’ve visited the market, surprisingly I didn’t make it there the first two years I lived in Chicago. While it can get RIDICULOUSLY packed during the weekend, I recommend going on a week night, early in the month of December if possible as the market gets more crowded the closer it gets to Christmas.
As I’m half German I appreciate all the tasty treats on offer including warm sugared pecans, baked apples, soft pretzels, potato pancakes and bratwurst (sausage). Of course no trip is complete to the market without a ceramic boot shaped mug full of Glühwein, a spiced mulled wine. It’s warm so makes you feel cozy on a chilly winter evening.
Besides delicious street food, the market stalls sell gorgeous blown glass ornaments, Black Forest cuckoo clocks, wooden nutcrackers, knitted items like mittens and nesting dolls. In the past I’ve bought Christmas presents here but this year I’m doing a 100% thrifted and vintage Christmas so only purchased food at the market.
The ornament house is the most popular stop in the market, it’s always packed with people! Their best selling ornament is the traditional German pickle shaped ornament.
I’m a big fan of the new TV series, “Once Upon A Time” so photographed this Snow White ornament in tribute to the show.
Charlie Chaplin ornaments!
Super adorable sheep ornaments at the Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks and Gifts booth. The next photo is from the same booth, they had my favorite items of the entire market.
Cuckoo clock ornaments that double as magnets.
Traditional soft style pretzels, I regret not trying that Pizza flavored one!
A wooden candle holder featuring a nativity scene above and a choir below.
Blown glass ornaments, the lighting was a little odd in this booth so I didn’t get a shot of the marvelous ornaments in the shape of birds, animals and Santa.
Nativity scene at the front of the market.
Chicago’s official Christmas tree, this year it’s a 55-foot tall Colorado Spruce.
What are your holiday traditions every year? I’ll be baking cookies (gingerbread, chocolate chip and chocolate crinkle!) tomorrow night and then I’ll be heading home to Arkansas to visit my family next weekend.

Leilani, a journalist and photographer, is almost always overdressed in heels and frocks from the 1930s-1970s. She hails from a junking family, one that spent Saturday afternoons combing garage sales and antique malls for additions to their growing collections. When not trawling the aisles of Chicago-area thrift stores for glittery costume jewelry or cookbooks that feature such bizarre concoctions as and ‘creamed chicken in potato cups;’ Leilani can be found indulging her love of Antiques Roadshow or BBC’s Cash in The Attic from the comfort of her 1890s-era apartment in Logan Square. She dreams of some day having an all-aqua kitchen (including appliances) and having the ability to wear a different vintage dress every day of the year (yes, 365!).

Comments 10

  1. We have a similar German Christmas market that sets up on the grounds of the state house. The only Christmas tradition I have is that I MUST, MUST, MUST put money into a Salvation Army bell ringer’s kettle. It brings back happy memories of my mother giving me some change and having me drop it in the kettle, when I was a wee lad.

  2. 😀 I always looked forward to the german market when I was living back in Scotland. It was seriously awesome and delicious these photos are taking me back. No Charlie Chaplin ornaments though! x

  3. i would have loved that market! i love those cuckoo clock ornaments too!
    i always make sugar cookies (doing it tonight!) and we always decorate my grandparents yard the night before christmas.

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