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I found Vienna's Christmas Markets disapponting

I found Vienna's Christmas Markets disapponting

Dec 26th, 2002, 05:13 PM
  #1  
kathy
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I found Vienna's Christmas Markets disapponting

Maybe I am a little naive, but I thought that all the European Christmas markets had handmade merchandise. Even though the atmosphere was beautiful, I found a lot of the Christmas items at the Vienna markets to be mostly from China. Not to mention the Burberry knock-offs, music CD's, etc. Are all the European markets like this or do some still have hand-made toys, ornaments, etc.
 
Dec 26th, 2002, 06:09 PM
  #2  
StCirq
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Kathy:

I used to run a small import-export business on the side, selling Christmas ornaments and other small items from Germany,Italy, Austria, France, and England. For a number of years I visited Christmas markets in Germany and France with some regularity (I didn't ever go to one in Austria). It used to be that you could find beautiful regional hand-made items from these countries at the markets, but with the passage of time, more and more of the stuff being sold came from China and Taiwan. In the mid-1990s, I stopped bothering to shop at the markets - the stuff was cheap and made in lands too far away. I kept contact with the few local artisans I'd gotten to know along the way, but I haven't bothered going back to the Christmas markets in more than 7 years. You're right - it's a shame.
 
Dec 26th, 2002, 10:09 PM
  #3  
Peter
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You need to check out the Christmas markets in Taiwan.
 
Dec 26th, 2002, 10:33 PM
  #4  
xxx
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Unfortunately the German markets are pretty much the same. I quit going years ago, even to the market in my village. Christmas is officially made in Taiwan!!!!!!!!!!! The food is still tasty and hot gluhwein will take the chill out and knock you on your ass if you drink to much!!!!!! Happy Festivus for the rest of us!!!
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 08:54 AM
  #5  
Joe
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I found the same things at the Christmas market in Bruges two years ago. The stalls were selling stuff like sweatshirts with American team logos. Very odd. And the entertainment--a barbershop quartet and bumper car rides--were like something from the American Midwest in the 1950s. However, the food and drink stands--gluhwein, sausages, jeniver, waffles--were great, and the people were very friendly.
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 09:14 AM
  #6  
Meg
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Did you ever come to the Christmas market in Stuttgart?

OK, there IS a lot of rubbish and grotty textiles, but if you have time to look around, you'll find beautiful handmade wooden toys and household goods, glassware, traditional ornaments (guaranteed NOT made in China).

Better luck next time.
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 10:05 AM
  #7  
BTilke
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Agreed, a lot of the Christmas markets sell mass-produced items. However, we've been in Germany for about 6 weeks and have visited several Christmas markets that weren't on the usual list and found some great merchandise (mostly because we are visiting German relatives with little tolerance for anything but "real" German Christmas market items).

The two best markets we visited in terms of quality of merchandise were in Muenster and Dusseldorft. Muenster's old town is very attractive and the market was full of high quality locally made goods. We bought some handmade snowflake patterned ski socks and mittens and locally made Christmas ornaments.
Dusseldorf has a very good arts school and many of the student artists (and graduates) sell their crafts at the market. Dusseldorf doesn't top the lists of charming German towns, but the old town is attractive and lively and worth visiting if you're in the area.
The third market that we liked, but didn't spend much time there, was in the charming village of Hattingen, a medieval walled community near Bochum, with half-timbered houses, attractive squares, a castle, etc.
BTilke (Brussels and Bochum)
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 03:56 PM
  #8  
John
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Kathy:

You are so right! I go for the atmosphere and Gluewein! My wife loves to buy local wares, but just like in America China merchandise is everywhere! I made a note of Btike's post and will check out the towns he mentioned next time. There was an article in the NY Times last week about the Austrians (Innsbruck, I think!)that were against the Americanization of the Christmas season! They were noticing how many children and adults were taking on the ideal of the 'Santa Claus" delivering presents and moving away from the Austrian tradition of the "baby Jesus" and all that it had come to represent!
How sad!!!!
JOHN
 
Dec 27th, 2002, 11:26 PM
  #9  
Linda
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Also try Michelstadt's market. A small town with a beautiful market filled with booths of handcrafted items. The German's love this market and it can be wall-to-wall on the weekends, but wonderful during the week. We went for the second time this year.
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 09:04 AM
  #10  
Sweet
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John:
Huh?:
Although the matter is not really important (I, living in Vienna, read everything about it in the NY Times, as there wasn't anything about it in Austrian news), I want explain it before anyone starts believing some poor Austrian Theology students were starting an Anti-America campaign by writing about Santa Claus. But don't worry too much about it.
You should rather check the background of stories before relying on news articles about a country some Americans even don't know that it exists (to be hones). The Innsbruck students are a group of young priests that fear the "Christkind" will be displaced by Santa Claus, as it is happening in advertisements (Coca Cola etc). Their concern is just a theological one (Christkind=baby Jesus, brings presents on Dec 24 whereas Santa= no connection to Bible´, brings presents on Dec 25). They did not think about politics, probably a bit naive in times like these. The fact is that more and more things are being secularized in Europe, like the Christmas tradition. Ask people in the streets, and many won't be able to tell you the Christian background of the story....So, have a good New Year (at least this is the same)

Kathy: At the Rathaus "Christkindlmarkt", I'm afraid more+more things are not traditional. This started already a few years ago. But there are several smaller markets, and even the 2 other big ones (at Schönbrunn and Spittelberg) sell many hand-made things, often rather expensive but beautiful. You should look there the next time. And in general: a Christkindlmarkt is rather for lingering around with Punsch and Gluehwein than for buying handcraft ...
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 09:14 AM
  #11  
Seet
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Of courese "market" does not only mean handmade merchandise. There are some good ones, and there are some selling cheap stuff. I've been to Santa Fe several times, and it is not easy to find real handmade local crafts among things made in MExico, China or Peru. I think this is the same worldwide.
Or do you have some tips ??
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 09:38 AM
  #12  
Servus
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I have been to many Christmas markets in Central Europe, but it has never occured to me to buy anything except food and Glühwein (don´t you say mulled wine in America?).

I liked the markets (in Germany, Austria, Alsace, Poland), but fly from America just to visit them? No.

Santa Claus as we know him today was invented by Coca-Cola for advertising. Early 20th century, I think. He got his name from Saint Nicolaus, a Greek bishop of Myra (today in Turkey) in the fifth century or so. He is still celebrated in the Netherlands on december 6, when they give gifts to the children.

www.pro-christkind.org
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 10:26 AM
  #13  
Sally
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I went to two Christmas markets in Rome two weeks before Christmas. At first, I Was a little disappointed by the lack of handmade items. But when I looked carefully, I Found lovely items from Asissi - nativity scenes , decorations, serving items, etc. made from olive wood at the Feria Roma market.

Also , there were huge amounts of food, wine, and olive oils to be tasted. That was a lot of fun- truffle cream, caviar, delicious chocolates, cheeses, all kinds of cookies, etc. We walked from booth to booth sampling all the goodies!

At the Christmas market at Piazza Navona, there were boothes of nativity figures so you could create your own Nativity scene. Also , there were boothes selling delightful Befanas, the legendary Epiphany "witch' who brings presents to children on JAN. 6.

Also there were many entertainers and carnival games. It was very enjoyable.
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 10:29 AM
  #14  
Sally
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I went to two Christmas markets in Rome two weeks before Christmas. At first, I Was a little disappointed by the lack of handmade items. But when I looked carefully, I Found lovely items from Asissi - nativity scenes , decorations, serving items, etc. made from olive wood at the Feria Roma market.

Also , there were huge amounts of food, wine, and olive oils to be tasted. That was a lot of fun- truffle cream, caviar, delicious chocolates, cheeses, all kinds of cookies, etc. We walked from booth to booth sampling all the goodies!

At the Christmas market at Piazza Navona, there were boothes of nativity figures so you could create your own Nativity scene. Also , there were boothes selling delightful Befanas, the legendary Epiphany "witch' who brings presents to children on JAN. 6.

Also there were many entertainers and carnival games. It was very enjoyable.

We only saw one Santa in Rome. IN every store and church, we saw beautiful nativity scenes of all sizes- frm fitting on a table top to a room sized display. The few Christmas trees that we saw were decorated only with white lights and a Christmas star.
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 10:58 AM
  #15  
x
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Funny how in Europe it is okay to display a Nativity Scene in a store. If you did that in the US you would have the political left wingers and the ACLU all over it.
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 11:16 AM
  #16  
Santa Claus
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I just found this interesting site: www.snopes.com/cokelore/santa.asp
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 11:25 AM
  #17  
xxx
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If I'm not mistaken, a PRIVATE enterprise in the U.S., like a store, is free to display a nativity scene, or a scene with Hobbits, or any other mythological scene they wish.

People are also free to protest this if they wish.

It is a PUBLIC enterprises that should not be displaying scenes SPECIFIC TO ONE RELIGION. That violates the "establisment clause" of the First Amendment.

 
Dec 28th, 2002, 12:43 PM
  #18  
Heaven
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..that any public enterprise or government should condone the display of any ritual that extols peace on earth, good will toward men....
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 02:24 PM
  #19  
xxx
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"Heaven forbid that any public enterprise or government should condone the display of any ritual that extols peace on earth, good will toward men..."

Ah, if only that were the case, that the particular religion which favors nativity scenes were to extol good will toward ALL men. Unfortunately, it does not. Therein lies the wisdom of America's founding fathers with the "establishment clause" in the First Amendment.
 
Dec 28th, 2002, 05:05 PM
  #20  
heaven
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Xxx

I stand corrected, the quote is indeed ‘goodwill toward men’ and not ‘all men.’ However, the point remains that the sentiment expressed is clearly not coercive, nor does it call for some kind of national or international religion. It only (only!) encourages national and international peace. Therefore, it should be encouraged, not discouraged.

For on that note, your founding fathers were indeed wise. The Congress that adopted the first amendment also said: "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." When rituals and associated symbols promote peace, they are arguably promoting not intolerance or a state religion, but something that is arguably essential to the happiness of mankind. Furthermore, no suggestion has ever been made that only nativity scenes be accepted as symbols of peace. Alternative symbols and rituals promoting the value of peace could and should likewise be encouraged by the government.
 

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