“Oh Mummy, PLEASE can we get that baby Jesus scene – it’s so nice.” The little girl, wrapped up in a bright blue duffle coat, gazes longingly at a Nativity Scene carved from wood. Mary and Joseph stand beneath a couple of palm trees on either side of tiny crib, three wise men opposite a couple of shepherds with two animals that might be sheep, possibly donkeys or maybe tiny oxen. It’s a timeless reminder of what Christmas is really all about, amidst the sparkle and fizz of the Manchester Christmas Market.
Every year Manchester creates a festive feast for the senses as its Christmas Market gets bigger and brighter. Above the Town Hall an enormous inflatable Santa incongruously straddles the imposing Victorian edifice like an over-stuffed King Kong. Inside rows of marble busts of illustrious marble Mancunian bigwigs benignly look down benignly on the indoor market ablaze with kitsch gifts, plastic toys and gaudy celebratory party paraphernalia. This is the place to get your cheerful Christmas jumper – my favourite is this quirky cat.
There are lots of different mini-markets around the city, all with a seating area for weary shoppers to rest their aching feet or quaff a glass of mulled wine or a stein of beer. With its quaint chalet-type stalls and cosy atmosphere of bonhomie, you could be in an Austrian or German village in the heart of mainland Europe.
It’s a festive feast for all the senses from a myriad of countries including Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Holland as well as the UK. Berry-red wreaths can be found next to shimmering glass baubles, beside zany reindeer heads, alongside festoons of shiny tinsel. Lancashire Hotpot bubbles away on one stand whilst spicy gluhwein sends cinnamony aromas through the December air. Vocal vendors entice shoppers to buy mistletoe, Dutch bulbs and flower displays fit to grace the most elegant Christmas Day dining table.
A hog roast sandwich or paprika-laden goulash sets taste-buds tingling and darkly luscious chocolates wrapped in brightly coloured foil make tasty tree decorations. Gingerbread hearts send icing messages of good cheer and a kooky snowman sports a natty matching hat and scarf set in vibrant holly green.
Dominating the skyline in front of the Arndale Centre an enormous wooden tower twirls giant figures around whilst a trio of brass band musicians entertains busy shoppers with traditional carols.
The shops vie with each other to provide the most appealing window displays and throughout the city there is an atmosphere of seasonal bonhomie. Manchester Christmas Market is a place of sparkling fun, feasting and good will; I love it 🙂
If you love Christmas Markets too then you’ll enjoy the festive spirit of Liverpool Christmas Market 🙂