‘Tis the season.

In Chicago, that means it’s time for the Chirstkindlmarket.  

Mimicking the large outdoor Christmas markets of Europe, vendors upon vendors line up in Daley Plaza, looking to sell their wares. 

There are booths filled with shiny ornaments, German food delicacies -not really anything for vegans 🙁 – handcrafted cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), figurines, bath and body products and more.

The streets are lined with twinkling lights, 

…and evergreen decorations pop up everywhere. 

The little caramel-colored wood huts are super cute, complete with the bold stripe canopies.

Handmade confections line the shelves, and this stand was even making caramel candies in front of us, in large copper kettles.

German specialties, mostly gingerbread or lebkuchen, were the hot sellers. Other iced, decorated, sugar-topped and chocolate dunked types of cookies (kekse) were arranged in like colors and flavors.

Of course, there were enough chocolate (chokolade) Santas to feed all of Bavaria.

Tubs of colorful, foil-wrapped candies in contrasting colors shine bright, beckoning kids of all sorts to grab a few handfuls to take.

Ladybugs – strange yet cute.

Caramel and cheese corn are stacked high, displayed in the window giving the whole shop an orangey glow.

As you move past the Sweet Castle, you’ll find rows of handmade ornaments. Here, precious and delicate glass creatures hang from floss like string, reflecting the sun through the colored glass and creating a dream-like aura. I liked the dragon dude the best. 

Slabs of santas hung a little precariously, especially considering of the infamous Chicago winds.

Little German flags line the stands, of course, adding a festive vibe.

Pretty handcut wooden ornaments line up in woven straw baskets, in various Christmasy shapes.

A manger meets the Menorah on the outskirts of Daley Plaza.

I loved this stand – even though these ornaments weren’t shiny, the intricate patterns of the wood grain created an organic texture that I was diggin’.

The Ornament Haus – baubles galore in every color sparkled and glistened, creating a very holiday-like aura.

There were magentas, pinks and purples….

…silvers, champagnes and creams….

…ooh, and the infamous pickles.

Friendly psychedelic mushrooms reminded me of something from Alice in Wonderland.

I loved the feathers and elegant vibes of these bird ornaments.

Glitter drenched pinecones in every color and size were perhaps the most sparkly.

Dipped icicle spears are some of my favorites; a little edgy, yet certainly chic!

And there’s more of the gingerbread! Around every corner. Frohe Weihnacht (Merry Christmas) was the common saying.

And the big tree – I captured it in bokeh. 

In the other Ornament Haus, (yes, there were many) featured these groovy mini Bug ornaments – super hippie. Love.

This was a cool idea; layer wire-wrapped glass ornaments on spiral white branches for a Winter Wonderland decoration. The contrasting lime and bright magenta here make for a modern palette.

There were a select few booths selling merchandise from outside Germany. Some had handcrafted woven sweaters from Nepal, ornaments from Poland and Canada, and more. This stand had super cool star paper lights. Totally gypsy/bohemian/star child = yes.

Alas! The cuckoo clocks. These are intense! All handcrafted from wood in the Black Forest. Boss.

Here’s the Polish ornaments….

…and these curious little glass animals (less than 1″ big!) from Canada. Which is your fav?

As we left Daley Plaza, we walked towards Macy’s on State.

More Christmas cheer here, of course!

Ceilings like you’d see in Marrakech, right?

Umm… can I have this in my room?

The Walnut Room featured their annual decorated tree – this year, a very bubblegum pink scheme, with contrasting chrome decorations.

More bokeh, I love a dreamy vibe.

We walked back to the train, the adventure over.

One last photo that caught my eye; these grand golden doors, something that Midas would have touched. Kind of obsessed with the regality of these. Until next year!

Auf Wiedersehen!

All photos copyright Allison Beth Cooling – do NOT POST OR USE without linking to me and crediting me.

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