By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Gifts & Decor | Issue: December 2008
Doris Gallagher, GAST publicity chairman, shows some of the imported German giftware and décor available at Christkindlmarkt.
If you can’t make it to Europe to shop this Christmas, enjoy the next best thing. Visit the Christkindlmarkt, December 5 through 7 at the German American Society of Tulsa (GAST), just west of S. Lewis at E. 15th St. & Terrace Drive.
This authentic German Christmas market marks its tenth year of bringing old world charm and unique food, drink and shopping opportunities to Tulsa. The Christkindlmarkt is patterned after the centuries-old street markets that celebrate the coming of Christmas during Advent, the four weeks prior to the holiday.
It’s a unique holiday experience like nothing else in Tulsa. The aroma of fresh roasting nuts from The Nutty Bavarian welcomes you at the entrance of the stately old former church, and enwraps the marketplace that is entirely indoors and protected from the elements.
Imported German items provide unusual gift and decorating ideas, along with arts & crafts from 27 outside vendors. Colorful glass ornaments, figurines, linens, bells, and dolls are imported from Germany specifically for the market. Some are collector quality for handing down to generations to come.
Since 1999, GAST members Don and Carol Wright have visited Germany every spring to hand pick items for the event. Much of the merchandise comes from the city of Seiffen, the Christmas toy and craft capital of Germany. Master wood crafters produce nutcrackers, smokers, candle arches, pyramids, music boxes, tree ornaments, toys and other specialty holiday items that will be available at Christkindlmarkt.
No German Christmas market is complete without wonderful German food. A Kaffeestube, or German bistro, will serve bratwurst and other sausages, Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes served with applesauce), schnitzel, hot spiced cider and homemade apple streudel. All-American hot dogs will also be served for less traditional tastes. Some popular treats – including cookies, candies, stollen and gingerbread – are imported from Germany and are available only during this time of year.
GAST publicity chairman Doris Gallagher says that they are pleased to offer a cultural shopping experience for the whole family to enjoy. Some people come to celebrate their German heritage; others come from European travels or military service. “Regardless, we want to keep the German culture alive,” says Doris, “particularly getting young people involved.”
German classes from local high schools will display decorated Christmas trees like those featured in German homes. Some teachers bring their students on a field trip to Christkindlmarkt, where they can learn while they shop. “It’s surprising how many students do their Christmas shopping here,” says Doris. “The vendors have items at all price points, so everyone can afford something special.”
Younger children enjoy the Kinderstube, or storytelling, where they learn about German Christmas customs. Periodically each day a traditional puppet show will be presented, as well as music from harpist Linda Paul of the Rose Stone Trio and from members of the GAST brass band.
Another popular attraction in German markets is a nativity display. Christkindlmarkt features a collection of nativity figurines and Holy Land scenes from GAST member and native Berliner Barbara Conrad.
Proceeds from Christkindlmarkt are used toward scholarships in the German departments at the University of Tulsa and Tulsa Community College. They also support needy children and a special Christmas project for Meals on Wheels.
The GAST Christkindlmarkt committee, headed by Joy Walker and Judy Anderson, welcomes you to the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas in Germany – right here in Tulsa. Join St. Nikolaus and Christkindl Friday through Sunday, December 5, 6 and 7. Hours are Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.