In Belgium, Christmas Day is celebrated twice; once on St. Nicholas Day, December 6; and again on Christmas Day, December 25. On St. Nicholas Day children receive toys and candy from Pere Noel. On Christmas Day the children receive sweaters and socks from their grandparents.
The Brussels Christmas Market is a delcious treat for all the senses. Every winter the capital city is transformed into a Winter Wonderland. Eager shoppers can wander the cobblestoned streets to choose gifts from 240 wooden chalets. The displays are trimmed with Christmas lights that infuse the dark sky. The aroma of Gluhwein tantalizes the chilly air. Belgian chocolates, made by Artisan Chocolatiers are on offer around every street corner.
Winter Wonderland features an old style Christmas Market, a Big Wheel, street activities, a skating rink, and a nightly light show that dances arond the Grand Place on regular intervals.
I was delighted to discover that I had a front line view of the the amazing light show in the Grand Place from our hotel, Ibis Hotel off the Grand Place. I could barely wait to finish dinner, to start my shopping.
The markets extend from Grand Place to Ste-Catherine. The displays in the windows hold fine beautiful gifts, and the Christmas displays are truly imaginative. The wandering carolers and singers entertain as the crowd moves from stall to stall.
There is something for everyone. The parents can sample Belgian waffles and beer and the little runs will enjoy thier turn on Andrea’s merry go round. The Big Wheel offers an awesome view of the fairyland for the whole family.
The skating rinks is Brussels’s star attraction; it can accomodate 300 people at a time. There is children’s section as well as main adult rink, so all skills levels can glide to their favourite tunes.
My favourite memory was standing in the Grand Square, taking a moment just to admire the light show playing off the stunning City Hall. The square was crowded with tourists but still blessedly slilent, and the true Christmas spirit was all around. The experience was priceless.