Advent Calendar: December 22

December 22nd and our last Christmas tree sans market photo in the state of Saxony, and in particular, the Ore Mountains. This was taken in Zwickau, located between Werdau and Schneeberg. Normally at Christmas time when the markets take place, this main market square, Hauptmarkt, would be filled with huts selling a variety of foods and drinks, Christmas arches (Schwibbogen) and wooden figures and handmade clothing. Furthermore, the huts would also be found around the cathedral St. Mary’s (Mariendom) and at Kornmarkt. Read more about the tour here for more details. Recently, the Osterstein Castle has hosted its market in the castle building and the courtyard. Read more here.

This year is a totally different scene. The huts are there but they all contain nativity scenes originating from various fairytales. The tree is in its usual spot as with the pyramid. More unique is a set of Christmas trees with homemade decorations done by children from various elementary schools in and around the city with 94,000 inhabitants. One could find them in front of the city hall.

Be it for the purpose of attracting passers-by or making an empty city center as Christmassy as possible, but judging by the photos provided by the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, this is one of the most ornamental of all Christmas markets that were hosted in a slim form, meaning fewer huts selling fewer goods, held meters apart but decorated to make it a warm feeling nonetheless. Some points scored for Zwickau ahead of making some changing in planning for the real Christmas market next year and beyond. Christmas markets were once meant for stroms of people lining up for a good hot cup of mulled wine or a hot entrée, let alone watching the Christmas parade, etc.. But if there is a lesson learned from the Covid-19 epidemic, it is the fact that long term planning is needed to reduce the number of people, make the markets more spacious for people to enjoy it more and to make it safer and more hygienic. When planning takes effect in 2021, hygiene and safety will absolutely be at the forefront, much more important than profits.

One way to do it is having a drive-thru Christmas Market. An example of that can be found in this article. (Click here).

A pair of Christmas humor for you as we approach Christmas time:

Source: Rayne Storm

Drive-Thru Christmas Market in Landshut, Bavaria

When we think of the term “Drive-Thru,” the first words that come to mind are McDonald’s, the menu board outside, hollering in the microphone to make an order, and having something delivered either in person or through the drive-thru window. Drive-thrus are sometimes full of surprises when you are greeted with the items you ordered…… 😉

Now comes the fun part: can a Christmas Market and a Drive-Thru Mix? That is the question that many people were wondering when state and local officials tried various concepts to make the Christmas Markets hygiene-conform with more space between the huts, sometimes no mulled wine and food to-go. The concept of a drive-thru Christmas Market was something no one dreamed of doing…..

…..unless you are the owner of a private restaurant who not only worked together to provide the space for such a venue but also provided a spot for the vendors to sell their local goods. This was what the owners of the restaurant Zollhaus in the Bavarian city of Landshut did. Landshut is located along the River Isar east of Munich, with a population of 73,100 inhabitants, has a historic city center with two places worth seeing while staying there: St. Martin’s Church and the Trausnitz Castle. It is also home of the Landshut University of Applied Sciences.

While the city’s Christmas Market was cancelled due to the Corona Virus, the owners of the Zollhaus decided to come up with a creative way of keeping the Christmas Market tradition alive but attracting people who can come and grab their goodies to go. People enter from one end, stop at each station to pick up what they need and then leave on the other end. Even the mulled wine or hot drinks can be taken to go. To ensure no one gets wet, a tarp is erected over the huts, but there is artificial snow available to bring the Christmas feeling to the driver and his/her family- in the car! 🙂

There are a pair of film clips that show the drive-thru market live and how it works. One of them includes an interview with the owner of the restaurant:

The drive-thru market was created in response to the partial lockdown which lingered from November 1st until December 16th when the entire country went into its second total lockdown. Judging by what was seen in the photos and film, it appears to have worked and the business managed to compensate for some of the losses. Yet the question remains whether this would be a long-term option.

.

This is the question I have for you all: Could you imagine having a drive-thru Christmas market like the one in Landshut? Yes or no and the reasons behind your opinion.

If yes, where would you host the market, how would you arrange it in drive-in format and what would you offer to the visitors?

If no, what factors could possibly hinder having such a venue?

Feel free to post your opinions here in the comment section below or in the Files on Facebook, by clicking here.

.

.

Special thanks to Marc Stephan for his help with the visit and the photos of the market. All I can say is interesting and one that is practicable, especially in times like this……

.

Happy Holidays!