9 Beautiful Christmas Markets to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

©. Aira (used with permission)

What makes these markets even more impressive is their commitment to eco-friendly practices.

Get into the holiday spirit with a mini tour of beautiful Christmas markets. The following list, which is set in Europe with one exception, was compiled by eCo2 Greetings and is meant to highlight markets with an eco-friendly approach. eCo2 says these markets offer tasty foods and "handmade gifts that use little-to-none packaging and sustainable products."

1. Art Advent, Vienna

This is Austria, after all, so perhaps one should not be surprised by the fact that "all aspects of the Art Advent, from food stalls and waste management to transport and travel, adhere to strict sustainability guidelines." Art Advent has been operating for 25 years, and was founded with a goal to "steer clear of kitschy commercial goods and cheap junk," while offering high-quality locally made products. This year's market even boasts that it's palm oil-free.

2. The Green Market, Berlin

The Green Market in Berlin, Germany, is a vegan market, founded in 2014 as an alternative to conventional markets. It features a unique mix of street food, fashion, cosmetics, and handmade gift ideas. eCo2 writes, "Whether it's tasty street food or handmade gifts, you can be sure that there is no plastic involved at the Green Market in Berlin."

3. Columbus Circle Holiday Market, New York City

This market, located at Central Park, is advertised as "one of the most elegant and beautiful places for holiday shopping." For the past 15 years it has been offering "handmade, sustainable, fair, and 100% eco-friendly goods."

4. Il Mercatino Green di Trieste

This Christmas market in Trieste has some impressive environmental credibility. In previous years, it implemented recycling; choosing local, organic and seasonal food; using only washable or compostable disposable dinnerware. This year goes even further, with clean energy powering the event, packaging and maps made out of recycled Tetra-Paks, and the prioritization of low-impact transportation, such as bikes, trains, public transit, and car sharing.

5. Bolzano Christmas Market

The market in Bolzano is celebrating its 28th year. It's a very traditional market that was designed after the one in Nuremberg, and is proud to announce that it's a certified Green Event (more info here). http://www.bolzano-bozen.it/en/green-christmas-market-bolzano.htm

"The house-shaped stalls exhibit only locally produced objects, according to strict regulations: from wooden statuettes to decorations, from traditional cakes and confectionery to accessories (slippers and hats), from stationery to musical instruments, decorative candles, and hand-crafted Christmas balls."

7. Weihnachtsdorf, Zurich

eC02 says that much of this market's appeal lies in the variety of clever upcycled products for sale, from bicycles to clocks. It has a skating rink and a place for people to try curling. Local designers sell jewellery and other handicrafts, while families can try their hands at dipping candles or feasting on traditional Swiss fare.

8. Manchester Christmas Market

Manchester Christmas market

Manchester Christmas Market/Promo image

The Christmas market in Manchester, England, boasts some great eco-friendly efforts. According to the city council website, all tableware used on site is biodegradable; the wooden market stalls used timber from recycled or well-managed sustainable sources and are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified; energy efficient lighting has been installed in the stalls; and energy supply is mainly electric, in an effort to get away from diesel generators.

9. Tollwood Christmas Market

In Munich, Germany, the Tollwood market is referred to as the "alternative Christmas market." It has theatre productions, concerts, organic food and wine, and arts and crafts for sale. The market runs on green energy and encourages visitors to use public transit to get there; in fact, all admission tickets also double as transit passes. Fair trade is also a priority:

"Tollwood’s restaurateurs and exhibitors play their part in making fair trade possible: bananas, rice, tea, coffee, sugar, wine, cacao and chocolate from developing countries are not only certified as organic, but have to be fair trade as well."