The Christmas season in our house has always gotten underway after Thanksgiving. I have not even begun to thaw the frozen Butterball for Thursday’s dinner (about which I am not too keen on preparing, but I learned too late, unfortunately, from where I could order a fresh bird).  Nonetheless, we joined the merry masses at Rathausplatz last night for the lighting of the Christmas tree and the “official” start of the Viennese Christmas market season.
The Christmas tree is a gigantic, 100 year old beauty from Niederösterreich state.  The tree was rejected by the Vatican to grace St. Peter’s Square (because it was too big and too thin).  I think it looks just perfect in front of city hall.
With 140 market stalls to stroll, the temptation to eat, drink, and empty my pocketbook of Euros was strong. Christmas tree baubles of sparkling glass created a winter wonderland all on their own.
Wooden toys invited the young, and the young at heart, to play.


Glühwein and Jugendpunsch banished the evening chill for our young ones.
Gingerbread sweets of all sentiments to quiet the sweet tooth.
Handmade chocolate liquor and candy bars sure to impress the chocolate lover on your holiday list.
A “Potato Jim,” offering a stuffed potato alternative to the common bratkartoffel.

Beautiful garlands to bring the aromas and sounds of the holiday season to your home.


And enough lights to make us feel we had been transported to the North Pole.
While the Cardinal Rule has always been to celebrate our holidays in their natural order on the calendar, Thanksgiving does not appear on the Austrian calendar, so I guess we didn’t break any rules after all.