From 24 November to 31 December, Winter Wonders take over the city! What is Winter Wonders? A big Christmas Market, activities such as an ice rink and a big wheel (with a pretty view!) and winter & Christmas decorations across the city. Brussels Christmas Market was nominated for ‘best European Christmas Market’ recently on a website called ‘European Best Destinations’, a European organisation aiming to promote culture and tourism in Europe.
Because I travel quite a bit, I sometimes have that bad habit of thinking the grass is (quite a lot) greener on the other side. That’s why I was quite surprised to see the Christmas market I know so well nominated next to some other strong European contenders. But the truth is, our Christmas market is actually really nice!
If you go every year, odds are you’ll recognize all the usual chalets and sigh that it’s “always the same” but on the other hand you create your habits. You know you’ll go here for this or there for that. There’s a little chalet I like that sells little statues of cats, elephants, hippos… As I walked past it the other night, my friend asked me if I really needed one of these. “Of course, I don’t need one, but I want one.” And so this year I bought myself a little hippo. I guess that’s the charm of Christmas markets. Many things you don’t really need, but just as many you want. And then you start thinking to yourself “Now where can I put this in my house?” or “Who should I buy this for, because it’s really cool!”. You get tempted by little statues (oops), soap carvings (so cool!), wooden decorations (wow, the talent!), etc… Yet this only sums up the arts & crafts part of the Christmas market. There’s food too. You go from Tunisian sweets to Brazilian croquettes, to a traditional ‘tartiflette’, then past the crêpe stand (who can resist those?)… and think you can eat no more. Until you see the waffle stand, the chalet with the Portuguese egg tarts (I’m secretly eating one of those as I’m typing this) and the Argentinian empenadas. Basically, you eat and you shop and think to yourself “this is too much for one day, we’ll come back tomorrow”.
I walk through our Christmas market and think “of course we’re nominated”! We have this ‘vibe’ in Brussels. It doesn’t matter if you’re seeing it for the first time or the tenth… You’ll always find something! All the different food stands and arts & crafts make it into something special. You hear so many different languages and note many of those people you hear actually live in Brussels. That’s our vibe. We’re Brussels and a bit of everywhere else, all mixed into one beautiful Christmas market and it is not to be missed! 🙂
If you want to see the atmosphere from last year’s Winter Wonders Christmas parade check our story & video 🙂