Michael Buckman’s Blog: Christmas Markets

Those of you who follow my Blog may have wondered why I haven’t written for several months. Today, I would like to explain my hiatus. As the end of August came, my real estate business slowed, so I took a much needed vacation that turned into a journey. If you know me at all, you know I love to travel. My trip was only to be a month, but as fall came, I decided to stay in Europe and travel. Before you knew it, it was Thanksgiving and it was hard to get back to DC at a reasonable price. So I went and visited some old friends in other parts of Europe. Wandering around northern, eastern, and central Europe I walked through quite a few traditional Christmas markets.

This brings me to my topic, Christmas Markets. Christmas market tourism is both local and foreign. It made me wonder, where and perhaps why Christmas markets started. I’ve visited a few places that have some North African or Middle eastern/Turkish style bazaars or markets, but those are year-round. Christmas markets are limited but are prevalent in all of Europe. In fact I have been to Germanic style Christmas markets in at least seven countries that have no Germanic roots.

Case in point: The other day I went to the Wizards' game and I noticed a tent-filled Christmas market on sidewalk in front of the National Portrait Gallery. It started at 7th street and continued on down F Street. I have never seen a traditional style Christmas market in DC. After having walking around my fair share of Christmas markets with my mulled cider or rum infused mulled wine, I was disappointed that they sold no alcoholic beverages at this market. However, it was a fine market, full of last minute gifts and Christmas crafts. It also boasted a selection of some street foods, such as German style sausages. I assume anyone passing by who has ever been to DC would be curious to explore this market. It is narrow but one can stroll luxuriously through it.

It seems Christmas markets originated in Germany, or at least in Germanic speaking cities and towns. There is no consensus as to where the first market began; however, it is agreed that the concept of a Christmas market originated in the mid-to-late Middle Ages. The markets concept originated in celebration of the first day of the Advent calendar, and thus they are temporary. Most markets in Europe contain a nativity scene (the one in DC does not), and traditional Christmas sweets, food and crafts as well as alcohol such as mulled wine, hot cider, or brandy.

Anyway, I’m back from my hiatus, and I recommend that you check out the Christmas market on 7 and F streets NW. The easiest way to get there is the Red Line on Metro. Take the Red Line to Gallery Place/Chinatown, and walk out the F street exit and the market is right across the street. Alternatively, if you are in the mood to walk and to shop, I recommend getting off at Metro Center, and go shopping there and end you day at the Christmas Market. Alternatively, you can use UBER or drive there.

If you need any more ideas about DC hidden gems or real estate help, contact me at or 202-251-8721.

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