The Blumengarten Hirschstetten in the 22nd district hosts a Weihnachtsmarkt for all to enjoy, so over the river (but not through any woods) we went this weekend. There are a handful of market stalls offering artisan-made items (like the pretty bird door stops) oddly juxtaposed along side cheap plastic toy vendors; the more compelling reason to visit the market, though, is for its indoor natural elements displays. 
This year the theme for the display is “Christmas Dreams,” with a special focus on how some of the English-speaking cultures around the world celebrate the holiday. The outing was both entertaining and educational.
In the Caribbean display we found a large, lighted flamingo. Now I know where the tradition of lawn flamingos must have originated?
The Canadian display won my vote for most artistic.
The Inuits were featured for their celebration of dancing and gift exchanging, “Sinck Tuck.”
In the prairie provinces of Canada, “Belsnickel Santa” arrives a couple of weeks beforehand to scare children into being good so that the real Santa would bring them presents. 
The displays for Wales, Scotland and Ireland all featured whiskey. 
And in Scotland, ’tis good luck to have a stranger be the first to enter your house on New Year’s. “First Footing,” the tradition is named.

 It being summer and all, the Aussies spend Christmas at the beach. Hang Ten, Santa!

New Englanders celebrate Christmas in Victorian style.

Busy season up at the North Pole, naturally.

How is Christmas in the USA celebrated? “When one thinks of Christmas in the USA, one thinks of snow, colored lights, red stockings, and Santa Claus.” And Jack Frost, the Grinch, the Polar Express, and even the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, as well. However, “There is more to offer than mere commercialism.”  With so many stores now opening on Thanksgiving this year to give shoppers a head start on their Christmas gift lists, I’m beginning to doubt that latter sentiment. Shame on you, American retailers.

In closing, a friendly and important PSA to all marketgoers: “Think before you gift. No animals beneath the Christmas Tree.”