THE HISTORY OF
CHRISTMAS MARKETS

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Back in 2006 the founder of ChristmasMarkets.com was looking to visit a Christmas Market and whilst, with a bit of searching on the web, it was possible to find some varied information about a particular market, it was almost impossible to connect the market to a hotel in the vicinity. The information about the markets was provided by the market organisers and there was little if any genuine review information.

Having returned from a visit, it was clear that lots of great local attractions and associated businesses were losing out on the opportunity to be visible to a whole new section of potential visitors.

So ChristmasMarkets.com was developed to fill this gap and provide a brand new way to link Christmas Markets, hotels and Christmas breaks.

With nothing else like it, our website quickly became the authority site for all matters relevant to Christmas Markets. Consistently top of Yahoo, Google, Ask, Bing and other search engines and frequently used by the BBC, The Mail, BBC Radio and also the Alan Titchmarsh show to provide content for their readers and listeners.  We’ve achieved excellent coverage in the National Press as well as a variety of magazines. The Daily Mail voted us as website of the week – ranking us 4/5 for inspiration, usefulness and ease of use. They described the content as “solidly helpful”.

Tourist Boards all over the world have found us an excellent route to market, to enable them to present their towns and cities to a wider audience who are already motivated to book a trip abroad somewhere – we help them find the where.

Market Organisers have found us to significantly increase the visibility of their market, not just on our own website, but also as a means to driving traffic to their own sites. The visibility of statistical information and feedback from people actually attending the market, makes it a reliable and useful source of advertising.

Fast forward 10 years and we are still the number one ranking website for Christmas Market content. We have over 2.5 million unique visitors every year, actively seeking information on Christmas Markets. The launch of our new website is set to enable much more functionality for our users, quickly enabling them to find the relevant information, whilst maintaining our original ethos.

Here’s to the next 10 years!

 

Each year, craft laden stalls form a carpet of colour in many of the squares and cobbled streets of towns and cities across Europe, more recently the USA and other countries are getting into the spirit, with their own versions of Christmas or Festive Markets. The smell of roast chestnuts and mulled wine wafts by; the sound of Christmas music fills the air; brightly coloured wooden chalet stalls display their wares and everyone’s face is aglow… welcome to a traditional Christmas market.

But where did it all begin? Germany is the perceived birthplace of the archetypal Christmas Market, with its images of cobbled squares, half-timbered houses, where you can generally shop for gingerbreads and stollen in a magical backdrop from cathedrals to candlelit caves.

The Bautzen market in Saxony, Germany, is thought to be one of the oldest recorded, dating back to 1384 – the late middle ages. The Dresden Christmas market, first held in 1434, remains popular to this day, still attracting in the region of two million visitors a year and featuring over 60 stalls.

In many towns in Germany the Christian festival of Advent often coincides with the opening of the Christmas market or “Weihnachtsmarkt”. In Southern Germany, such events are sometimes referred to as a “Christkindel markt”, literally meaning “Christ child market”. More often than not they take place on the town square, the markets offer an array of food,  drink and seasonal items whilst featuring traditional singing and dancing.

The Christmas market phenomenon has spread all across Europe including the UK, Canada and the USA  boast a modest offering of markets, and more recently, Christmas markets can even be found in Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, often forming part of a much wider seasonal programme of events.

Christmas markets as a wider commercial appeal, were generally relatively late coming to the UK (mostly in the last 30 years or so), the inaugural event took place in Lincoln in 1982. However traditional Christmas Markets took place in many towns, as far back as the 1640s and were very popular until Oliver Cromwell enforced a ban on the celebration of Christmas, thus causing Christmas Markets to cease almost immediately. Enter the Victorian era and many towns started to sell Christmas based produce and gifts, it took a while but from these beginnings and a desire to replicate the quaint and nostalgic from Europe, the trend continued and the Christmas Market more like the ones of today began to become regular annual events. Popular traditional German Christmas themed markets can be found in Birmingham, Leeds, London, together with German inspired markets such as Manchester, Bath, St Albans, Salisbury and Winchester.

As far as the rest of Europe is concerned Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Holland and France have interesting and well established Christmas markets, all with their own unique take on the Christmas Market theme. Many other countries in Europe have also recently adopted the Christmas Market tradition – these include Krakow in Poland, Tallinn in Estonia, Prague in the Czech Republic, Budapest in Hungary, Zagreb in Croatia and Ljubljana in Slovenia, Copenhagen in Denmark and Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden.  Some of these markets would not have been on the radar of the average visitor were it not for the exposure these markets have had on www.ChristmasMarkets.com.

Christmas markets are here to stay and helping historic towns and cities become regional destinations over the whole Winter period

Over the past 10 years, through some interesting and challenging economic periods, Christmasmarkets.com has witnessed a massive growth in Christmas markets located in towns and cities and also at stately homes and other visitor attractions. Some have adopted a German or French theme and others have kept their themes distinctly British.

This growth and popularity of relatively ‘authentic’ Christmas Markets, serving quality hot food and beverages, together with a balance of products made locally and abroad, is good news both for the Christmas Markets sector and also for the towns and cities that host markets. These markets contribute to the winter economy in many ways, including being an important generator of retail sales at a time of year when some towns might expect to see a loss in visitors and trade to out-of-town retail parks, Christmas Markets also generally improve the night-time economy.  A well-presented and well-managed Christmas market also helps spend in the host town or city as a whole, as well as providing a focal point for community cohesion, bringing family groups or work colleagues together, outlets for local production and crafts and opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

The recent economic recession led to a significant downturn in business, particularly where travel to Europe is involved. We are pleased to say that travel to Christmas markets destinations remained steady, and is one sector of the industry which continues to outperform, despite the unpredictable economic climate. Our research indicates that many people are booking shorter breaks, to new European locations, and Christmas markets provide an excellent opportunity to combine a short break with a new experience.  

Whether a Market Organiser, Trader, Supplier, Media Partner or Advertiser, we are THE portal to promote your interest in the Christmas market sector.

MERRY CHRISTMAS MARKETS!

Tel: 020 7193 9404
Email: sales@christmasmarkets.com