I just came back from the US and over there Christmas is everywhere. Decorations, music, gift promotions – enough to make you sick of the holiday before it actually comes around. While I don’t believe Christmas should be a two-month long holiday, I am starting to get into the spirit of the season. And just in time, as the Christmas lights are going up in my neighborhood and the many Christmas markets and fairs around Brussels kick off this weekend.
The American Women’s Club of Brussels will host its 46th Annual Holiday Bazaar and Charity Tombola this weekend at St John’s International School in Waterloo. Although a bit outside Brussels, the bazaar will include 100 vendors from across Europe, so there may be some interesting gifts, Christmas decorations and food on offer. The event also includes children’s activities, a charity raffle and a brocante (flea market). The bazaar is running on 19 and 20 November.
The biggest Christmas market in town is part of Brussels Winter Wonders (Plaisirs d’Hiver) festivities taking place downtown, which also includes ice skating and a ski slop. This market, which stretches over two kilometers between the Grand Place and Place Sainte Catherine, is made up of 240 little chalets selling gifts, food and drinks. I wouldn’t say this is the best Christmas market I’ve ever been too, but it’s a good one if you don’t want to leave the city. Avoid popular times like Saturday and Sunday as it can get very crowded. Starts on 25 November and runs through the 1st of January.
Head down to the Sablon on 24, 25 or 26 November for Les Nocturnes – the annual event when stores and antique dealers stay open until 11pm and the square has a lighting of a giant Christmas tree. If it’s not too cold, this is a great way to explore all the shops on the Grand Sablon and surrounding streets. There will also be exhibitions, drinks, music and carriage rides to give you some Christmas cheer.
Next Saturday, 26 November, will also be the day for the annual Association Femmes d’Europe Christmas Bazar held in Auderghem. The Association, presided over by the wife of the President of the European Commission, brings together products from all 27 EU member states (plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein) at this annual event. All profits go to finance humanitarian projects focusing on the education, training and health of women and children. I think I’m going to check this one out for some Christmas ornaments as gifts (and maybe for myself too).
Every first Sunday of the month, Brussels Vintage Market takes place at K-nal. The next edition on 4 December is all about Christmas and will have interesting and creative gifts available from young designers in Brussels. Visitors will be greeted by a glass of mulled wine and carols.
If you’re still looking for more options, this is a good site for a list of Christmas markets in other Belgian towns and elsewhere in Europe.
More to come on the Christmas theme in the next few weeks…