Anyone who has been to Germany during the Christmas period will have come across the magical "Weihnachtsmärkte", or Christmas markets, glowing in the snowy winter streets.
A tradition dating back centuries, they include stalls of all things Christmassy and German; carved little wooden figures, traditional soft gingerbread biscuits, delicious foods such as bratwurst, handmade ornaments and decorations, and, for visitors' defence against the piercing cold, the much loved hot mulled wine (Glühwein).
Christmas Market at the Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin
Having spent last year's Christmas in Berlin, I found myself feeling rather nostalgic for the wonderful atmosphere these markets generate; until I read about a German Christmas market to be set up right here in Melbourne, in the heart of Fitzroy.
The market will be hosted by the Deutsche Schule Melbourne (German School Melbourne), a unique bilingual primary school established in 2008 and steadily growing to its current population of 50 students from prep to year four. As the school grows, years five and six will also be offered in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Classes are taught in both German and English, with fully qualified teachers from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The school embraces all students, who come from a range of backgrounds (German speaking, bilingual and also local Australian families) and needn't have any German skills at commencement.
The students and staff are very excited to continue the German Christmas Market tradition this year by adding it to their events calendar.
On Friday November 30th, from 5pm-9pm, they welcome you to enjoy this fantastic opportunity to examine and purchase a dazzling array of beautiful and unique gifts, both traditional and contemporary, all with a distinctively German flavour. All the proceeds from the market will go towards the new sports ground the Deutsche Schule Melbourne has planned for its site on Barkly Street.
There will be many treasures for those decorating their homes and preparing for the festive season, including gorgeous candles, hand-made ornate gingerbread houses, decorative cards, handmade clothes and handbags, attractive homewares, delightful Christmas biscuits, and so much more.
Visiting children are also offered plenty of fun activities such as mixing their own reindeer food for Rudolph and co. or painting their own Christmas ornament masterpieces. A special surprise from Europe's very own Saint Nikolaus is also sure to enchant the evening.
Finally, for those concerned about dinner, the market also has this covered. Delicious tasty treats will be available for hungry market-goers, including those famous German sausages, scrumptious meatballs with potato salad and delectable crêpes. Sit back and enjoy dinner with a range of soft drinks, German beer and Glühwein. Although there may be no need to ward off the cold this Friday, the Deutsche Schule Melbourne is sure to create an authentic experience that no one should miss.
For more information on the school, have a look at their website and Facebook page for an idea of the school life. Parents interested in registering their children should come along to one of the two Open Days in 2013 – on March 16th and May 29th from 10am to 12pm. Register by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to Lucie (Admissions Coordinator) and Melissa, who were happy to share information about the school and market with me.