When one thinks of Christmas in Switzerland, the sight of elegantly decorated marketplaces, beautifully adorned trees, and fairy lights comes to mind. The hum of Christmas carols, and smells of delicious baked goodies pampers the senses. The charm of Christmas here in Switzerland is quite unlike other parts of the world. We bring you Swiss traditions, recipes, photo features, DIYs, safe travel ideas for you this festive season.
Tis the Season for Carols, Cookies and Christmas Cheer!
The twinkling lights called ‘Lucy’ adorn Bahnhofstrasse, marking the beginning of this city’s celebration. Small rustic wooden chalets line the streets with traders and artisans who have unique goods for sale that makes Christmas shopping an absolute joy! The traditional glittering 32 feet tall Swarovski tree at the Christkindlimarkt dominates the interior hall at the Zurich Main Train Station. It is bedecked with 6,000 shimmering Swarovski pieces. The light accents on the tree change form and colours intermittently – making the glitter ever more sparkly.
Zurich is dotted with Christmas markets that our contributor Vantika Singh visited. Here, she briefly highlights the markets and her top 5 favourites at the ‘Weihnachtsdorf’ at Bellevue.
A Winter Evening in Zurich – Christmas Markets
Visit the Zurich Christmas Markets through the camera lens of Banu Balaji.
Off to the Christkindlimarkt – with a passion to cook!
The ‘Indian Vegetarian’ stall at Zurich Hauptbahnhof’s Christkindlimarkt – Every year, after Glühwein, ‘Masala Chai’/or spiced tea is the second favourite that keeps visitors warm here. Dhanraj Mali, the man behind the stall hails from Rajasthan. In an interview over a plate of ‘Rajma-chawal’ and ‘chai’, he tells Keerthana Nagarajan about his love for food, and his stall at various cultural festivals across Switzerland.
Strolling through a market Glühwein in Hand
There’s nothing more festive than strolling through a Christmas market, shopping for presents for your loved ones, taking in the spirit of Christmas and sipping on a hot beverage to keep your hands warm. Recreate that warm, festive feeling at home this year with Maria de Conceicao-Wittwer’s recipe for Glühwein, which you can make in the comforts of your own kitchen.
Mulled Apple Drink – A kid-friendly version
Mulled drinks are beverages that are simmered in a concoction of mulling spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, etc. Sipping on a hot mulled drink is the ideal way to stay warm during the colder months. This recipe is a non-alcoholic version of a medieval English drink, known as ‘Wassail’. This version of wassail uses apple juice instead of apple cider and is suitable for kids and adults alike. Enjoy a cup of this mulled apple juice served hot, in the comfort of your home. An added advantage of making this drink is that as the spices simmer on your stove-top, your house will begin to smell like Christmas! Shinta Simon tells us how.
‘Weihnachtsguetzli’ (classic Swiss Christmas cookies)
Christmas in Switzerland is the perfect excuse to eat lots of cookies. ‘Spitzbuebe’, a traditional ‘Weihnachtsguetzli’ or Swiss Christmas cookie, which literally means ‘bratty little boy’. Chetana Parameswar shares her recipe.
Here’s another absolutely lip-smacking recipe for all you cookie monsters out there! Aquarium cookies are essentially a cookie sandwich made with two stained glass cookies. Not your typical cookies, these are almost works of art in themselves! Here’s how you make them. ‘
Spruce up your house this holiday season
It’s natural to feel excited about the holiday season and all the decorating that comes with it. It’s the time of the year you can go all extravagant, glam and sparkly. Rasika Krishnamurthy shares some fun ideas to create simple and budget friendly holiday vignettes at home.
DIY Salt dough ornaments
The winter solstice is important and comforting as a reminder of brighter days ahead. Chetana Parameswar brings in some much-needed festive cheer, by decorating her Christmas tree at home with salt dough ornaments.
Festive Pop Up Cards
Smita Swamy shares an easy and fun festive pop-up card tutorial with our readers. Create and gift them to your friends and loved ones this festive season!
Easy DIY greeting cards
Often, a lot of planning and effort is made for presents, but not as much for the cards that accompany the presents. However, very often, these very cards are preserved longer than the gifts they accompany, and contribute to lasting memories. Manasa Mukka shows you how to make three easy cards that can be made with things lying around the house. This makes for a fun crafting activity with your kids.
Christmas Craft: A Woolly Vase
Our contributor Jeyanthi Dravidamani shares a quick and easy DIY for your Christmas dinner table, which she created along with her daughter. It is sure to bring cheer into your home this festive season!
Stone Art – A Memorable Keepsake
Here’s an easy to try, simple idea of painting rocks and stones for the festive season and decorate your mantle or table, or to gift them to your loved ones. Create your own personalised Christmas decor and gifts. Deepty Mundhra tells us how.
Simple Christmas Nail-Art
And now for some nail art to lift your mood this holiday season! Get inspired by Samvidha Srinath who came across the work of many nail art enthusiasts and influencers on YouTube and Instagram, and soon made it her hobby.
A Covid friendly Winter
The white winter wonderland beckons despite the situation the world is in. So if you are missing the vast expanse of snow that you head to every year on your favourite mountain, a visit to a fondue hut, or have plans to learn skiing for the first time ….. here is more on what is still permissible this winter season. Shinta Simon takes you into the adventures in the white winter wonderland that are still possible while keeping within the Covid safety measures, and staying responsible.
Ujjaini Roy revisits memories from Christmas holidays 2019 in the Austrian Alpine town Seefeld.
In January 2015, Deepti Pahwa explored the Finnish Lapland, and experienced the awe-inspiring phenomenon of Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights.
Fireplace reading with kids
Christmas holidays are almost here. Whether traveling or staying home, the one thing we look forward to is that perfect cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate and a cosy corner and catching up on reading. Keerthana Nagarajan shares her recommendation of books that you could read with your 2- to 7-year-olds this winter.
How to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
And finally, how to wish your friends and family “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” in German and other Swiss languages? We tell you more in our language corner.
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