Chestnuts and Hot Beverages – the perfect wintery Christmas combination

Christmas markets Austria

As autumn winds down and the first frosts hit, it is a sure sign that winter is coming. Yet not everything about winter has to be cold and horrible. With the air cool and crisp and the first flakes of snow threatening, December is one of the most beautiful months to be in Europe – with Christmas markets aplenty!

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Introducing Krampus, Austria’s Christmas devil, terrifying little kids into behaving

 

Krampus - Austrian Christmas tradition
Welcome to Austrian Christmas traditions!

Austrians have some strange folklore, but perhaps the one which is the most disturbing, especially for kids, is the Krampus. Saint Nicholas is the good guy that rewards the well-behaved kids with gifts on December 6th. But instead of simply telling kids in Austria that he simply won’t come if they are naughty, what they get told is the following:

“If you are naughty the Krampus will find you, pack you in his sack, and take you back with him to hell.” Continue reading

My first Austrian Christmas Party – what was I thinking not wearing a dress?

Are Austrian work Christmas parties any different to Australian ones? I found out last year – and rest assured I’ll do a better job this year!

I was full of nervous excitement about my first Austrian work Christmas party. Excited because it was a night of eating good food, drinking and dancing, nervous because I’d only been with the company a month, and my German was not quite ready for drunken conversations.

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Christmas cookies – I couldn’t possibly eat anymore… ok just one then

Austrians don’t really do dessert on Christmas Day, but that doesn’t mean they miss out.

Austrian christmas cookies
All for me? You shouldn’t have

For the entire month of December (and as long as they last after) Austrians bake truckloads Christmas cookies. They are everywhere – in shops, at work… and especially in people’s homes. Be prepared to be offered massive platefuls wherever you go. Continue reading

Christkindl Markets – Austrian winter at its best

Christmas markets in Germany and Austria
Stalls fill every square

I’m talking about Christmas Markets. In Europe around Christmas the streets come alive in the evening with brightly lit markets and stalls squatting out in the cold, snowy streets.

The light fades early here, around 4pm and the temperature drops as soon as the sun disappears, but in European towns and villages, the locals rug up and head out for a night of festivities and celebrations. Continue reading