Since 1996, Chicago’s annual open-air Christmas festival has delighted visitors and residents alike. With the holiday season fast approaching, Chicago prepares to be thrilled once again by this colorful, international festival with a Windy City flair. For a unique holiday experience, visit Christkindlmarket Chicago this season.
Tradition Steeped in History
Photo credit: Christkindlmarket.com
Chicago’s annual festival was inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt, which has been held in Nuremburg, Germany since 1545. The festival marks the beginning of the traditional holiday season and offers visitors a glimpse into the ancient German traditions of gift giving and storytelling that surround the holidays.
The Christkind – An Angel Bearing Gifts
The legend of the Christkind dates back to the 1500s and tells of an ethereal being with flowing white and golden robes with a golden crown perched upon her golden locks. According to tradition, the Christkind leads holiday parades during the festive season. It is the Christkind who delivers gifts to children throughout German-speaking countries on December 24, vanishing before she can be glimpsed by curious eyes, much like Santa Claus for American children today.
For the second year, Chicago’s very own Christkind will grace the crowds during the entire festival, from the opening ceremonies to the final events, regaling guests with stories, sharing German holiday traditions, and posing for photos.
The Kinder Korner
Special events for children and students are sponsored at the market, including scavenger hunts, the singing of German Christmas carols, a visit to Santa’s House, and if you’re fortunate, stories from the Christkind herself!
Children are invited to pick up a passport from the information booth at the Timber House. The passports are filled with fun games and activities and a special contest to be completed while at the market. By collecting stamps from participating vendors, children can enter to win prizes from Kinder Korner sponsors.
Location and Dates
On special invitation from the mayor, the Christkindlmarket will be hosted once again at Daley Plaza. The festival will open on November 21 and run through December 24.
Visitors are welcome to tour the festival and enjoy vendors from:
- Sunday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Friday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
There are special hours for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve as well. Christkindlmarket Chicago is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those days.
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Our season has ended, but our love for our city hasn’t. Check back here often to keep up to date on events happening in and around Chicago. We look forward to seeing you in the springtime!