They call them “German markets.” Crafters set up booths of goods and bakers and brewers booths of mince pies and hot mulled wine. And you go and wander and find little Christmas tokens for loved ones. The one in Oxford is at the Oxford Castle. We waited until this morning, when the weather was slightly warmer and people were sparse. It was delightful.
There was a gaggle of adorable little girls in Santa hats singing carols with more gusto than gifting. With the fine social unconsciousness of toddlers Norah ran right up to them and stood there, staring and listening. When we returned home, she mentioned them periodically the rest of the day.
I love handicraft. Even the kitschy stuff intrigues me because someone sat down with raw materials and formed it with their hands. There was a wooden free-standing puzzle made with 26 different animals, each with a letter of the alphabet on them. The animals fit together in a long colorful procession but each could be separated and played with alone. I loved it. We saw a big bin of homemade potpourri with cinnamon, star anise, dried oranges, pine cones and cranberries that smelled like winter itself. Norah was the one who found the Christmas garlands. I heard her exclaiming, “I yike them, I YIKE them. Pitty!” and turned to see this: