Merry Christmas everyone! For this week’s post I’m going to be showing off my Christmas mug collection from Chicago’s Christkindlmarket at the Daley Plaza.
I’ve been going to the Christkindlmarket for a few years now, since I found out about it during a beginner’s German class in college. While I don’t remember much at all from that class (Guten tag!) I did get a very lovely tradition from that time.
2009 – First Visit
I took a German class my freshman year in college, which resulted in a class field trip to Chicago to go to the market. While the market has a lot of booths representing a ton of countries, but it is traditionally German and there are a lot of German influences and traditions that are displayed. I didn’t get a mug during 2009 (although I could have sworn I did) but it was a great time. Instead please enjoy this lovely sign that made me chuckle from the big sweets and roasted nuts shop at the market.
2010 – The market’s 15th anniversary!
I returned to the market my sophomore year with an acquaintance from the previous year’s German class. This was the year I got my first market mug! You can see the Chicago Picasso, Sears Tower, the Christkind (angel on the mug, kind of like the German equivalent of Santa Claus), and the large tree that used to be displayed at the market in the Daley Plaza. You can also see the 15 year commemorative design in the middle as well.
2012 – Returning for my senior year
I didn’t visit the market in 2011, sadly enough, as I had been really busy in school preparing for a semester abroad. I did make it a point to visit in 2012 though, and visited with a few college friends and acquaintances. I made sure to get a mug though! It was very similar to the previous year, as you can see the same main Chicago landmarks. I like that the 2012 mug had little ridges, which makes me think that this mug was meant to look like it had a cap of snow on top.
This was also the year I turned 21 so I finally was able to have my mug filled with the German wine they sell rather than the hot chocolate. I do like wine and I ended up having to finish off everyone else’s wine as they kept dumping it into my mug when they decided they didn’t want anymore.
2013 – Flute Design
For 2013 the mugs changed to a “flute” design rather than the “boot”. Same landmarks, just a bit more of the Chicago skyline in the background. Because of the slimmer design it is also taller than my other mugs, which I like because you can then still see a bit of it over the top of the boot mugs that I keep in the front row when they’re displayed.
At the market there are various other hand crafted items to buy, such as home decor, tree ornaments, food, clothing, etc. For a few years I’d get my Christmas presents exclusively at the market. While the items can seem a bit pricey they are extremely good quality. For example, most tree ornaments are around $10-15 each, at least the ones that I have bought. However, when you compare a market ornament to a regular one you can find in regular stores, they feel more sturdy. They’re definitely items you’ll take care of and cherish for years to come.
2014 – Two markets!
The mug for 2014 was a cute, short, rounder mug. Same landmarks as previous years. I loved that the inside was a different color, you can see the peek of the green on the inside of the mug. On this mug, stars from the Chicago flag make an appearance on the handle (a bit more visible on the photo on the far right).
In 2014, the market announced that they were going to have two Christmas markets! The second location was added at Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook, IL, a western suburb of Chicago about 20 miles from the Daley Plaza.
While the new market is smaller I love visiting it as well. I’m familiar with the area as my alma mater is close by so it’s always a welcome visit. The Oakbrook market had a different mug that greatly resembles the 2013 flute mug, however it is shorter, about the same height as the other mugs I have. This year’s design features a large gingerbread cookie that resembles cookies sold at the market each year.
Kinder Mugs were also introduced in 2014. This year the regular mugs were reserved just for the wine, while the hot chocolate was served in this cute little snowman mug! My sister and I got hot chocolate just to get this mug. Also it was really cold!
2015 – The Return of the Boots
Das Boot! It has returned!! It’s a Christmas miracle! This year we finally got a new boot mug and it’s downright adorable. It features the same landmarks and has a more rounded shape and looks bigger than the previous mugs. The inside is red and match the red stars on the handle of the mug.
My sister and I bought our mugs at the Oakbrook market because it was the first one we visited this year. Then at the Daley Plaza market we stalked a woman in front of us and determined that it was the same mug in both locations. They also offered another snowman mug this year, this time with a green scarf but I decided not to buy it as it was just too similar to the one I already had.
So those are my Christmas mugs! I love them and I hope to be collecting them in the years to come. Now my sister is collecting them as well so I’m glad I get to share this little tradition with her.
I’m starting to think that this collection is getting a little out of hand though, and you still get cheaper refills in mugs whether they are this year’s or a past year’s mug so I might just start taking previous year’s mugs so I don’t have to buy the new ones although they are very beautiful. As a hoarder though, I think new mugs will win!