On the first Saturday in December I joined a friend to check out the German Christmas Market at the Deutsche Schule Seoul International. For my friend it was a confusing language nightmare since she’s fluent in German, English and Korean and all were being spoken around us. The event started at 5pm and continued until 8pm in the school courtyard/playground area. It seems like it’s becoming an annual event though the time and date change a bit. If you attend make sure to bring cash.
We decided to try and do a circle of the little house shaped booths to decide what we wanted and then come back, looking at all sorts of traditional treats and heading towards the mulled wine or Glühwein which was 5,000 won for a cup and more if you wanted it in a seasonal mug to keep. But before we made it there my friend spotted some homemade Adventskranz and excitedly rushed to the booth through the crush of people. Adventskranz is a German advent wreath. Each Sunday in the month of December you light a candle around the wreath until Christmas. The wreath gives off a nice Christmas-y pine scent so you don’t want to pick out any scented candles to go with it. The Adventskranz cost between 12,000 and 25,000 won and we’re homemade but only came with one candle. After buying one they held onto it and when it was time to leave my friend went back and picked it up. My friend was pretty impressed by the quality since it even came with a little metal dish on the bottom which was why they were a bit more expensive. They did only come with one candle though.
After getting some Glühwein we hovered near the trash cans since it was the only spot where we could comfortably stand and not get knocked around by children or people trying to get through the crowd. There were two buildings open, one serving more treats in the lobby, but ones similar to what was outside and the other where children could decorate slices of homemade ginger bread or watch student performances for what seemed like a small fee. Traditional cookies, breads, spiced nuts, fudge, bratwurst, waffles, and soups were being sold. I wasn’t particularly hungry since I had had a late lunch, but my friend was pretty ecstatic about the bratwurst.
I wasn’t planning on buying too much. Just figured I’d go back to the first booth and buy a slab of homemade gingerbread (7,000 won) when a woman called out asking if we wanted to try some eggnog and I pounced. What happened to be “trying eggnog” turned out to actually be “buy a 2,000 won shot” which I did, though I had planned to just purchase a bottle since they were selling them for 12,000 won. The eggnog was strong. Not in an eggy way but in a strong brandy way. It took awhile to finish my shot and work my way back around to buying the bottle and my slab of gingerbread.
It was a fun event to go to and reminded me a bit of the Christkindlmarket in Chicago, though much much smaller. I think we spent too long there and would have preferred to have popped in, done some snack shopping, bought a cup of Glühwein and left. There wasn’t really any place to just stand and easily hang out. The crowd was intense and anywhere other than the trash cans that I stood next to ended up with me getting constantly pushed and jostled. One of the workers who was passing out free (actually free) samples of fudge mentioned that it had been much more crowded last year, but we also arrived rather early in the evening. (And if that was uncrowded I would’ve hated to have seen how busy it was last year)
It is a children friendly event since it happens at the school. There is even a non-alcoholic version of the Glühwein that they offered at another booth. Though there didn’t seem to be a non-alcoholic version of the eggnog.