Vancouver Christmas Market offers great finds for last minute shoppers

German market vendors showing off their Christmas goods

With Christmas only three days away, thousands are trying to get downtown for the First Annual Vancouver Christmas Market to find last minute gifts and authentic German eats.

Since November 28th, an authentic German Christmas market has been in full swing in the outdoor plaza of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at the corner of West Georgia Street and Hamilton Street. With Christmas just around the corner, the Vancouver Observer decided to pay the Christmas market a visit to check out Yuletide offerings and last-minute deals.

The Christmas market is open from 11 AM to 9 PM on each day. But for you eleventh hour Christmas Eve shoppers, the market will be open to 6 PM on Christmas Eve.

General admission for adults 13 years and older is $5 ($2 between 11 AM and 2 PM). For youth between 7 - 12 years, entry is $2. For children 6 years and younger, admission is free. The market is also wheelchair accessible.

The first sight that greets market patrons is a stack of custom made Christmas market mugs. Whether you decide between hot spiced apple cider or a cup of Gluehwein (hot spiced red wine) to keep you warm.

If hot spiced apple cider or Gluehwein are not for you, then perhaps picking up a jar of pepper pickled beans for holiday ceasars is more fitting. If you're looking for a drink that packs a little more punch at the market, try the feuerzangenbowle. Feuerzangenbowle is a German alcoholic drink sweetened with a rum flambéed sugar cube. Its literal English translation is "fire-tongs punch".

The Artisan Bake Shoppe, based in North Vancouver, has plenty of sweet holiday offerings. The traditional Christmas Christstollen was especially delicious. Christstollen is a bread-like fruitcake with a marzipan centre. You can buy small, medium, and large stollens among other delectable treats.

For the meat-hungry, there is a choice between the small Nürnberger Rostbratwürschtl, the original Bratwurst and the Bavarian Weißwurst.

At $2.75, the pretzel was a decent choice.

Intricate hand-crafted wood cutouts are also available for purchase.

There are lots of  kitschy objects to admire as well.

With only days left to Christmas, the ornament bins were near empty as shiny Santas and glittery globes have found homes on Christmas trees and garlands across Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

The ornaments and Polish pottery at Arreola Designs are beautiful. The intricacies of each hand-finished design take these Polish ceramics to another level of craftsmenship.

There's a vendor that is also offering handcrafted soaps that look like fruit.

Colourful wool gloves are a winter must-have. Be sure to check out the 100% pure lamb wool offerings at Sherpaknits before you leave.

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