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It is that time of year again…time for Christmas shopping. Shopping is not one of my favorite activities…unless it means a train ride to Chicago and a trip to Christkindlmarket. Christkindlmarket is a market held each Christmas season on Daley Plaza in Chicago, featuring artisans from all over Europe.

Here you see the booths of Christkindlmarket in front of the Chicago Picasso at Daley Plaza.

Here you see the booths of Christkindlmarket in front of the Chicago Picasso at Daley Plaza.

You will find all sorts of beautiful handmade items at the market. Some of my favorites include the hand painted ornaments, the wooden toys and creches, nutcrackers and candle carousels, hand knitted sweaters, and handmade pottery. You will also find many booths with great food. The brats are wonderful, but the very best is the mulled wine served in the “warming” hut. The wine is served in a commemorative mug in the shape of a boot that makes a wonderful keepsake of your trip. There is even a hut featuring European candies and nut confections. We never leave Chicago without more than we intended on getting. What fun!

Christkindlmarket has been a tradition in the city of Chicago since 1996. It is fashioned on the original Christkindlmarkets that have been held in Germany since 1945. This year there are sixty booths at the market. The market runs from November 21 through December 24, and is open seven days a week. For more information about Christkindlmarket, you can check out their website at http://www.christkindlmarket.com.

This is one of our favorite trips to repeat again and again. We take the train from St. Louis and spend a weekend in the Windy City, sometimes meeting friends we don’t get to see often enough.

Here are a few of the things we like to remember from our trips to Christkindlmarket.

Whether we are coming in from a big day of shopping, finishing up with decorating our home, enjoying a house full of kids and grandchildren, or just sitting and relaxing, our very favorite warm-up drink is Dr. Pepper Spiced Apple Cider. I got this recipe one cold winter day at a street market here in Rolla, at a booth that was a very welcome site! It is so very simple, yet so very good.


Dr. Pepper Hot Spiced Cider

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1-2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper
  • 1 bottle of decorating red cinnamon candies, more or less, according to taste

Put all the ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Stir occassionally, making sure the cinnamon candies don’t stick to the bottom.

That is it…couldn’t be simpler! This makes a big batch of cider, but at this house it does not last long, and any leftover spiced cider can be refrigerated. I often hear Jim, or one of the kids when they are home, going out to the refrigerator at any time of day or night…the microwave is their best friend on these trips! Enjoy!