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A Christmas Tradition Born in Germany in the Middle Ages Continues

Now Celebrated Internationally, the Christkindlmarkt Has a Vibrant Presence in America

In Milwaukee – the Most German of U.S. Cities – a Willwork Global Event Services Client Plays a Central Role in the Holding of the Christkindlmarkt

(Header image: Christkindlmarket Chicago in 2014; image credit: True Shot Studios.)

On October 17, Willwork Global Event Services published in this space a post about the history of harvest and agricultural fairs and festivals. 

Please click here to be taken to the post.  

Included in the post was a discussion of Oktoberfest, an annual autumn event celebrated around the world that has its origins in Munich, Germany in the early 1800s.

In that we are in the holiday season, we felt it appropriate to feature here another annual event that started in Germany and which grew to take place internationally.

We are talking about the Christkindlmarkt– a Christmas market that is a type of street festival held during the season of Advent, the approximately four-week period in the Christian calendar that leads up to Christmas. 

Christkindlmarkt is German for “Christ child market” – yet the term Christkindlmarkt, as it relates to the event, has become more widely accepted as referring to and meaning the Christmas spirit. 

Christkindlmarkts are also known as German Christmas markets, German holiday markets, and Christmas markets. 

Christmas markets have open-air stalls where vendors sell food, drink, arts, and crafts. There is music and plays and other theater.  Large displays and exhibits adorn the landscape of the markets.

A genuine Chriskindlmarkt will retain and celebrate German heritage.

There will be a nativity scene, zwetschgenmännle (decorative figures made out of dried plums, and nussknackers (ornate carved nutcrackers).   

Available will be German foods like bratwurst, goulash, and the hot mulled wine glühwein; beer; gebrannte mandolin (roasted candied almonds); the gingerbreads lebkuchen and magenbrot, and stollen, a soft bread into which fruit is woven; potato pancakes; and lentil soup.

German music will be heard throughout the market.

A true German Christmas market will feature the arrival of the Christkind, the golden-haired spritely child angel that is the traditional Christmas giver in Germany and other countries in Europe, and also in parts of Brazil, in Hispanic America, and the Acadiana section of Louisiana.

Benigna Munsi, dressed as the Christkind,, standing on the balcony of of the Church of Our Lady in Nuremberg, opens the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt (image credit: Matthias Schrader / AP)

The Striezelmarkt, in Dresden, is the oldest Christmas market, having first opened in 1434, and has been held for 585 consecutive years. 

Even during World War II, a year did not go by without a Striezelmarkt, as Dresden would not sustain any major Allied attack until the aerial bombings of February 13-15, 1945.

Today, the Striezelmarkt draws 2 million visitors.

Prior to Christmas markets, there were December markets held across the Holy Roman Empire, the earliest record of which is in Vienna in 1298.

For sure, the locus of Christmas market culture and activity remains in Germany.  

Consider that in Berlin alone there are 70 Christmas markets.  

Probably the most visited Christmas market on earth is the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market, which every year draws about 4 million attendees.  In second place for annual attendees, with 3.5 million, is the Dortmund Christmas Market

Christmas markets in Stuttgart and Frankfurt have annual attendances in the neighborhood of 3 million.  Two million visit the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt.

Please click here to be transported to a story “Germany’s Best Christmas Markets in 2019,” written by Meeroona, and published at Travel Away, the digital travel publication she co-founded, managed, and to which she regularly contributes.

Christkindlmarkts in the United States

Yes, the Christkindlmarkt – the German Christmas market, German holiday market, the Christmas market – is an international phenomenon.

Some of the best Christkindlmarkts anywhere on the planet are in the U.S. of A.  

One of these Christkindlmarkts that Willwork just has to point to is the Christkindlmarket Milwaukee, an authentic German Christmas market held in the most German of American cities.

We are compelled to highlight this market because it takes place along the plaza of Fiserv Forum, the sports, entertainment, and conventions venue to which Willwork client Fiserv – a worldwide leader in financial services technology – holds naming rights. 

Christkindlmarket (the spelling is Anglicized) Milwaukee launched last year, and last year also took place on the Fiserv Forum plaza.   

Christkindlmarkt Milwaukee – which runs this year from November 15 through December 25 – is one of three Christkindlmarkts organized and run annually by German American Events, LLC, a subsidiary of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc. (GACC Midwest).

Extending beyond the U.S. Midwest, the United States is an area strong and well populated with German lineage. 

Christkindlmarket Chicago – held every year since 1996 – is the first German holiday market that GACC Midwest established.  It is also the largest and best attended in the U.S.  

Located at Daley Plaza – the dates of the event this year November 15 through December 24 – Christkindlmarket Chicago brings in more than 1 million visitors, and hosts a vast and varied roster of vendors and events.

In 2017, GACC started its second Christkindlmarkt, also in Chicago, in the neighborhood of Wrigleyville, along Gallagher Way.

Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville has been a major success.  Dates for its 2019 run are November 22 through December 31.

America is a home to many wonderful and well-planned, well-orchestrated, inspiring, and fun Christkindlmarkts.

To learn about some of these Christkindlmarkts, we recommend clicking here to be taken to a story, “23 Best German Markets Across the U.S.,” written by Courtney Campbell, and published in October in the online entertainment and news outlet Wide Open Country.

You still have time to take in a Christkindlmarkt.

Willwork Global Event Services wishes all Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

For Labor Day 2018, a Reflection and Treatise on Work – and Curiosities Related to Labor

Labor Day postcard

“I learned the value of hard work by working hard.”

MARGARET MEAD

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a leader in exhibition services and event project management.

When we were founded, in 1987, we had one employee, and our office was in the basement of a residence – a house, more specifically.  Our technology and office furniture and equipment consisted of a desk, chair, lamp, paper files, and telephone and telephone answering machine.

Why Willwork is where it is now is because of many factors – primary among them, maintaining focus, a commitment to innovation, superior recruitment that contributes to a team of superior employees, supporting and providing our employees with many resources for professional development, our all-star business partners … and a lot of daring and enthusiasm.

Willwork has also benefited from operating and competing in a free and open and capitalist economy.

But, then, all these factors … all these conditions … will not bring about success if absent is hard work.

It is when you add hard work to the mix that you have something special.

Hard work is sacred – and hard work is high virtue.

Now in our fourth decade in business, Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a legacy of hard work.

Across our social media network, Willwork frequently discusses matters pertaining to labor and work.  Then, again, that would make sense.

Please click here to be taken to the post we published for Labor Day 2017, and here to be transported to the post we published for Labor Day 2016.

On October 6 of last year, we published here a post on “Persistence.”   Work is at the core of persistence.

As well, on this blog, there is the post which ran on May 26 of last year, the focus of which is an epic demonstration and execution of work that played a pivotal role in the launch of the United States of America.  Clicking here will take you to that post.

For Labor Day 2018, Willwork, publishes here a reflection on work, on different perspectives on work.

What is the most important work?  It would be tough to argue that the dangerous and life-saving, freedom and liberty protecting work of those who wear the uniform of the U.S. military is not the most important work.  And, within that vocation, those who serve in a combat capacity know a particularly urgent and vital and sacred form of work.

Our first responders – police and firefighters – do among the most important work.  They are frequently called to put their lives on the line.

Doctors and nurses save lives; that is important work.  Teachers prepare, instruct, and inspire those who are the future – yes, that is important work.

Wait, how about parents, and grandparents?  When you a see a successful and well-adjusted and responsible person, there is a good chance … almost a certainty, actually … that she had an upbringing in which a good and caring parent, or parents, whether biological or not … or both … exerted strong influence.

What is hard work?

There are those who estimate that only hard physical labor is hard work.  They have a point, a point that can be supported. For sure, manual labor ranks near the top of  the most noble and admirable work – whether that work is exhausting or only mildly taxing.  Physical labor holds and transmits a special value and worth.

Loggers, stone masons, iron workers, house framers, roofers (and add your own physical laborer) – they know what it is to work.

And let’s not forget that physical labor and sharp reasoning and strategy literally … and figuratively … move the world.  Airline executive Colleen Barrett had it right when she observed, “When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.”

Yet hard work hard is just not hard physical work.  Hard work is an exercise that involves long hours and intense focus and effort, whether it is writing software code or writing a novel; building a stone wall or building a team; driving a truck or driving a nail; planting and growing plants in a field, or planting and growing ideas and imagination in a mind; planning and coordinating freight logistics, or driving the truck transporting the freight.

On another matter pertaining to hard work … let’s face it … there can most certainly be an element of pomposity and conceit in the declaration that to achieve financial wealth all it takes is hard work, and that the level of hard work one expends is commensurate with one’s net worth.

If that were true, ranking with the world’s richest (money wise) would be all dedicated and good parents and parental figures – and all farmers across the developing world.

What are other exhausting jobs – with exhaustion a mix of physical and mental exhaustion?

It would be tough to argue that the training and performance needed to qualify and become a member of the United States Navy’s Sea, Air and Land Teams (SEALs) does not reside near the top – if not the top – of the most exhausting jobs on earth.  Brutal … absolutely brutal … what is required to become a SEAL … to join one of the most effective and elite fighting forces on earth.

Then, again, even basic training for any of the branches of the U.S. military is a demanding experience.

Elite competitive endurance athletes – whatever the sport … running, rowing, cross-country skiing, cycling, swimming …  are in the running for most exhausting.  We mean, really, your job is to be tired, and frequently to go into oxygen debt.

Martial arts sports, like boxing, karate, kung fu, judo, jiu-jitsu .. and other forms … and mixtures of the forms … are a tough way to make a living.  So too are collision sports, like football and hockey.  Martial arts and collision sports are exhausting, and painful.

What countries are the hardest working?

On September 2, 2016, U.S. News & World Report published a story, “This Labor Day Weekend, a Look at the Hardest-Working Countries: At least 16 other countries clock in more working hours each year than the U.S.”  The story, written by Deirdre McPhillips, cites a study of 38 countries that was produced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Here is an excerpt from the story:

“Struggling with work-life balance and often opting to pass up vacation plans to spend more time in the office, workers in the U.S. may be surprised to learn that there are a number of other countries in which workers put in more hours. In fact, the average 42.8 work week in Mexico is about a full workday longer than the average U.S. worker’s 34.4 hours work week.”

In 2016, Vin Scully retired as a play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a job he held for 67 years (when he started with the organization, in 1960, it was the Brooklyn Dodgers).  Mr. Scully is a legendary figure in sports announcing, and the length of his career is amazing.

Of course there is the gentleman who held a job with the same company for 80 years? To read about him, and other long-serving employees, please click here to be transported to the CNN Money story, “Meet the Vin Scullys of the American workplace,” published on September 26, 2016, and written by Ahiza Garcia.

Scariest jobs in the world?  On September 3, 2015, the news and entertainment site ScoopWhoop published an article,  “13 Of The World’s Scariest Jobs That Are Not For The Faint Of Heart.”  Written by Rohit Bhattacharya, the piece is an interesting read.

A note and teaser and spoiler here.  As listed in the article, the scariest job in the world – and among the reasons cited to support the ranking is that the job “makes up a third of all occupational deaths in Alaska” – is Alaskan king crab fisherman.  Coming in at number two on the list is … and this makes total sense … is piloting through a hurricane.

Then there are weird … strange … jobs. Dog surfing instructor, fortune cookie writer, and dog food taster are occupations (at least on a part-time basis) that you will find featured and described in the Business Insider story (published on July 10, 2015), “12 weird jobs you’ll be surprised to know exist,”  by Jacqueline Smith and Steven Benna.

Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services believes that America is a nation whose marrow and soul is one that possesses a vibrant work ethic and inextinguishable fire that drives it to toil long and hard to achieve.

We also believe that no country on the planet provides more opportunity for those willing to work long and hard than does the United States of America.

Happy Labor Day to All!!