I don’t often venture out on weeknights. After commuting to work (1 hour), working (8 hours), and then commuting home (1.5 hours), I’m usually mentally exhausted. But a week or two ago on a warm-ish, winter evening, I met my best friends and their beau’s at the Distillery District’s Christmas Market.
It never occurred to me that this market was rooted in history, but “a Christmas market is a street market which celebrates the traditional sights, sounds and scents of Christmas. [It] is staged during the weeks leading up to Christmas. These markets originated in Germany, beginning in the early 1400’s, and are now being held in countries all over the world.”
I’m surprised with myself for not having gone sooner. In the summer the Distillery District is one of my favourite spots in the city. The old world culture and historic buildings are beautiful to walk through – especially with coffee or ice cream in hand.
Participating in the festive activities – riding the carousal, listening to the carollers, perusing the huts with speciality Christmas products, drinking mulled wine, and standing by the fire – really put me into the spirit of the holidays. Sharing in these experiences with friends is just as important as making time for your family over Christmas.
Tasting mulled wine for the first time was an experience in itself. Apparently, all you need is wine – bring it to a slow boil – add orange zest, and apple cider spices? I hope I’m getting that right because it was the most festive drink I’ve ever tasted. It warmed me up from the inside out, starting with my belly.
Artisans, hand-crafts, and fair trade vendors are bundled up in wooden huts all along the perimeter of the Distillery District’s sidewalks. My most favourite “gift to myself” this year was from one of those friendly companies called, Winterbourne Alpaca. Here, I purchased the softest, shiniest, and warmest scarf that I’ll ever own.
“Winterbourne Alpaca uses premium andean alpaca fleece to make beautiful handwoven scares and winter-wear. Each piece is lovingly hand crafted on wooden looms in a small village in Northern Ecuador.”
With my newly purchased, red Mackage parka, I had to choose a simple scarf. That doesn’t mean I had to skimp out on elegance though. I chose the one on the right-hand side, a beige/brown colour with flannel-esk stripes. With such fair prices – I thought it was going to have a $100 price tag – only $60 including tax, I couldn’t resist. Plus organic and fair trade, I was sold.
Operating until December 21st, if you’re in Toronto – it’s definitely worth the visit. Pick up some gifts for your family and friends along the way. The tree alone will bring joy into your life. Massive and lit-up it’s perfect for a photo-op!