It’s my first holiday season away from home, and I had been feeling homesick for the Christmas Village. Back in Philadelphia, my family and I would sleigh off to Love Park in Center City every year to explore the shops, food and activities of the German-inspired Christmas Village. Despite the finals, papers and long car rides impeding my way before break, the Baltimore Christmas Village at the Inner Harbor gave me the taste of home that I was missing.
Walking into the village, I was hit with the air of Christmas cheer. There were little kids running away from their parents towards the merry-go-round and couples lined up, hand-in-hand, waiting for their Christmas stocking themed-mugs to be filled with wine, as dog leashes webbed throughout the walkway.
The classic string live music could be heard at every corner of the village. And of course, there were the fathers following around their wives and daughters with credit cards ready as they traveled from shop to shop. I was right at home.
Starting at one end, my roommate Ashley and I made our way around the entire village. The shops are displayed in little wooden house-shaped stalls that encircle the main food vendors. We poked our heads into all the stands, taking business cards and smelling the candles from SH Candles. Ashley debated on buying a new plushie from the Squishable stall, and I FaceTimed my mom to show her the Vogue cover 1,000-piece puzzle from the New York Puzzle Company.
Ashley and I spent the most time in Lily Lough Jewelry. I bonded with the shop owner about the Philly Christmas Village and pestered Ashley, asking her if I was in my “chunky or dainty necklace era.” We agreed on the dainty era.
Obviously we could not leave the Christmas Village without getting a bite to eat. Making a decision wasn’t easy; Belgian fries, German pretzels and latkes are all good options — not to mention the debate on whether or not to fill ourselves up with hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and whipped cream.
Ultimately, Ashley and I decided to get crepes from Crepe (what an easy name to remember!). I got the number three, a savory crepe filled with grilled chicken, spinach, tomato, mozzarella and pesto. Ashley got the number five, a sweet crepe with strawberries, bananas and nutella. We sat down and dug right in, and as expected, it hit the spot. 11/10.
We needed a little crunch to end the trip on a high note. We headed over to TheNutRoasters and bought some cinnamon-sugared roasted cashews. These were worth all the money. The warm cashews and sweet cinnamon reminded me of how much I love the holiday season. Definitely buy a bag… or four.
If shopping isn’t your thing, taking a ride on the merry-go-round or the ferris wheel is the way to go. The rides give great views of the water and provide a relaxing yet amusing break from the hustle of the crowd. If you’re feeling confident, there is an ice rink for all ages to use as well. Personally, as a wall hugger, I did not partake in this activity.
If these activities aren’t your thing either, and you just want to sit down for a bit (without looking lazy), there is a Caricature stand! What better gift to get for your empty-nester parents than a distorted portrait of yourself? It will definitely replace your high school graduation photo that lines the stairway wall.
Waiting in the long lines for apple cider and dodging the running children is always time well spent at the Christmas Village. It’s even better when you have a friend who has never experienced the joy of German-themed holiday fun in American cities. Bonus points if they’re from Florida and aren’t used to standing out in the cold for long periods of time just to wander from vendor to vendor.
Baltimore’s Christmas Village is open until Dec. 24. Take a break from Brody for an hour or two, grab a few friends and spend your time shopping for secret Santa gifts and eating bratwursts at the Christmas Village!