Christmas Markets - Constructing the magic

Christmas Markets - Constructing the magic

Christmas excitement is in full swing, and millions of people all over the world attend their local Christmas markets to find quirky presents for their loved ones. Small towns and metropolitan giants alike fill with little cottages with traders offering their crafts. There’s a little bit of magic in the air.

It’s not just Britons who enjoy a good Christmas market, either. Germany has a reputation of setting up the biggest and best markets in Europe, not to mention the ones across the Atlantic in America. Millions are spent each year to bring the magic of Christmas closer to home.

“It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas”

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but preparation to this may start as early as January, when planning of the next visit from Santa begins.


For example, in September 2014 Edinburgh city council was tendering out a full planning application for an ice rink, market stalls, Christmas tree maze, fairground rides, bar, box offices, associated site offices, stores and ancillary facilities for this year’s East Princes Street Gardens Christmas market. This planning application is still valid, as it is for temporary use over the next three years. In the same fashion, in June Winchester city council posted a planning application for 101 wooden chalet shops for their Christmas market at the Cathedral. Both projects valued at around £150K, these are just the tip of the iceberg!

“It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas”

Every year, hundreds of Councils world-wide offer out contracts to builders, architects, transport companies and the like to plan the outlay and construct Santa’s grottos and log cabins, pop-up bars and entertainment venues. Suppliers can be inundated with demand for timber, steel frames and lights. It’s not magic that builds the Christmas markets we love so much, it’s hard grafting and countless hours of preparation.

Setting up a Christmas market takes much more effort than just plotting a few cabins on an empty space and hoping for visitors to turn up. The area where the market is to be built needs choosing, and plans laid out how to set it up. The little grottos and log cabins need to be built, and before that can happen, the materials need to be sourced. The lighting needs to be organised. More often than not there are Christmassy food stalls that need waste management. There is a lot more than meets the eye to constructing a Christmas market, and many industries need to pull together to make this annual event happen.

“It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas”

Some councils use the same providers every year, and as we can see some tender the contracts out, but every year suppliers and service-providers have the opportunity to be a invaluable part of what makes Christmas magical.

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