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The History of Christmas Markets

It seems that each holiday season there are more and more holiday markets being hosted around Portland! Holiday markets have certainly become a valuable tool for local artists to sell their creations. 

But where did this genius marketing idea come from?

Europe! Vienna’s “Dezembermarkt” (December Market) was first hosted in 1296 and is said to be the earliest iteration of today’s holiday market. That winter, Emperor Albrecht I, allowed shopkeepers to hold an early winter market for a few days. He hoped it would give townspeople a designated time to stock up on supplies to help them survive the coldest months of the year.

The cozy cheer of winter markets quickly spread across Europe. Eventually, winter markets transformed into “Christmas markets”. The first Christmas market as we know it today started in Dresden, Germany in 1434. Since then, Germany has largely taken credit for creating the “Christmas Market” concept.

Today, in Germany there are about 3,000 Christmas markets every year. These markets have become such a quintessential part of German culture that Germany has considered requesting the markets be added to the UNESCO cultural heritage list.

What holiday market will you be selling your products at?


Posted on

December 20, 2022