Christmas has always been a very exciting time of the year especially now that we have children and our daughter Rianne is in her toddler years. In fact, Anne and I first start dating during Christmas of 2009 (here we are 5 years later married with 2 kids)! This year marked our third consecutive year visiting the Vancouver Christmas Market at the Queen Elizabeth Plaza! The first time we went was in 2012 when Rianne was only about 7 months old. Last year, Rianne was 1.5 years old and Ryan was a newborn so couldn’t comprehend all the amazing sights, sounds, and food all around him! This year, our daughter is 2.5 and our son is 1 year old. It was extra fun this year because both our kids can fully experience and engage with the magic of the market!
We are very lucky to live in the city of Vancouver where we celebrate so many of our different cultures & ethnicities and one of them is the German Holiday Culture that the Vancouver Christmas Market showcases! During my 20s, I backpacked around Europe and I was in Germany in December right before Christmas and I got to experience several authentic Christmas Markets. Little did I know that one day I would be taking my wife and kids to a German Market in the heart of Downtown Vancouver! Let me tell you from experience….the Vancouver version of the market is very, very, very authentic!! From food, to all the tiny trinkets and arts and crafts to the talented musicians and entertainment, it is a one stop shop! A definite must see for every family this Christmas!!
Here’s some of our highlights!
I am the adventurous type. Every time we go out (not just at the market but at festivals and restaurants too), I like to try out the new food they offer and stuff that I haven’t tried before. So, when our good friend Vincent took us to the market this year, one of my first questions was “What’s new?” and “Where can get all the new stuff?” This year we tried several new items (be warned…the following pictures will make you hungry)! I know I get hungry and want to go back to the market every time I see these pictures!
1) Turkish Pizza – made fresh by veteran Chef Ismail (who has over 30 years culinary experience around the world)!
2) Ukranian Crepes – which comes in both savoury & sweet versions
3) Dutch Mini-Pancakes – a delicious dessert with Maple Syrup, Icing Sugar, and Whipping Cream! (I’m getting hungry just writing about them!)
Although we tried several new food items, we never forget to get a cup of their hot apple cider in their beautifully German-art inspired mugs (which you can buy as a souvenir too)! Nothing beats a flavourful hot drink in this cold season. We are still drinking out of these same cups at home!
Add here is Rianne eating some cotton candy and chocolate-covered strawberries!!
Definitely, there is lots to see and to buy! All hand made and with an authentic touch of the German culture, you will definitely want to bring some home with you! Why not have fun and do your Christmas shopping at the same time? What I liked the most are the handmade toys for kids. There is something to say with wooden handcrafted toys, they are adorable and just precious, perfect for a kid eager to learn…such as our two young kids! In addition to the artisan shops, there is entertainment, mascots, a giant Christmas Tree, a Photo Booth, and so much more!
One of the must-do attractions is to take a ride on the one and only Christmas Carousel in Vancouver! The Christmas Market boasts this beautiful carousel every child and the child at heart will love. The first year we visited, Rianne was too young to ride. Last year, she got on but we sat with her in one of the carriages. This year, seeing the joy on my daughter’s face as she ran towards her favourite horse was priceless! This was the first year she decided to ride the horse by herself (without daddy holding her)…Rianne’s mixed feelings of joy, surprise, and a bit of fear is such a joy for us as parents to witness.
Last but not the least, we couldn’t leave without seeing the popular Gingerbread Mascots! A hi-5 and a family photo with our gingerbread friends was the perfect way to end such a beautiful day!
We invite you to come visit one of the city’s greatest family Christmas events!!
Check out more details on their website:
Here’s some of the Videos we took at this year’s Vancouver Christmas Market: