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Christkindl Markt

In many towns in Germany, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the town Christkindl Markt (Ger. literally, Christ child market). Generally held in the town square and pedestrian zones, the market combines shopping and pageantry as well as tradition. On opening night and, in some towns, every night, onlookers welcome the Christkindl, or Christ child, in the form of a golden-haired angel played by a local youth.

Some of the most popular items at the Market are the Nativity Scene (also known as a creche or crib); 'Zwetschgamännla' (figures made of decorated dried plums); 'Nussknacker' (carved Nutcrackers); 'Gebrannte Mandeln' or candied, toasted almonds; assorted cookies like Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread); Christstollen, a sort of egg bread with candied fruit); and not least, Glühwein, hot mulled wine (with or without a shot of brandy) to keep the body going in the cold winter air. Many other homemade crafts and toys, books and (in recent years) more or less useful gadgets can be found at a Christkindl Markt.

The most famous Christkindl Markt is held in the city of Nuremberg, making it a popular tourist stop (official site).

German immigrants to America brought the Christmas celebrations with them and there are some Christkindl Markt events held in the US as well.

Kris Kringle, an American name for Santa Claus, is derived from Christkindl.