December 10, 2019

By Carla Minsky

Every year like clockwork I program my internal “Christmas spirit” alarm (in my mind it sounds like silver bells) to the first day of the Old World Christmas Market at The Osthoff Resort. Amidst all the shopping and eating and strolling I do that day I also make a point to set my intentions for the holiday season – to greet everyone I meet with a smile and a kind word, to express gratitude, share compliments freely, and to slow down to appreciate the smell of the fresh pine trees, the twinkle of the white lights, the stunning views to the lake, the crystal blue skies and, yes, even the falling snowflakes (and trust me, I’m not a fan of snow).

The market has a way of making you appreciate the old-fashioned goodness of the season, with artisans from far and wide displaying their wares in rustic timber booths reminiscent of centuries-old Christmas markets in Germany. The new element here is that the booths are inside a heated tent the size of a football field. Now that I can get behind!

It really is the antidote to the hustle and the bustle, the big box and the generic, the fatigue and disillusionment. Every gift I’ve purchased at the market (including more than few for myself if I’m being honest) has been memorable. I love that.

Some of my favorites are the alpaca wraps, stained glass ornaments, Polish pottery, Czech Christmas tree-toppers, freshly made wreaths, oh I could go on and on. And don’t even get me started on the food – sugared almonds, gingerbread cookies, melt-in-your-mouth caramels, cheeses (it’s Wisconsin after all), mulled wine and more.  

Be sure to enjoy lunch in the food court. The German food is so delicious, I can’t even!

I’ve visited with family members, friends and neighbors, even occasionally solo which I enjoy too.

While online shopping may be expedient, it will never be as gratifying as the Old World Christmas Market. In my heart and in my mind, the market is the essence of comfort and joy and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.       

Carla Minsky

Carla Minsky has lived in Wisconsin all her life and has made writing about and photographing the many travel gems in the state her life’s pursuit. Elkhart Lake holds a special place in her heart among all those gems. It’s where her family has vacationed for years and where they’ll continue to make memories for years to come.

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