It's not too late to plan a visit to one of the Christmas Markets in Europe this year. They typically run from late November to early January and a quick 4 or 5 day trip to one of these old world markets would absolutely put you in the mood for the holidays.
Brussels, their Plaisirs d'hiver includes a nightly sound and light show on the Grand Place and a market surrounding the Bourse. Two hundred and forty chalets host artisans from around the world offering Christmas wares, handmade crafts and souvenirs. For more info: plaisirsdhiver.be
Copenhagen celebrates Jul (yuletide) with a Christmas crafts market and trees in the Tivoli Gardens covered in lights. Sample the aebleskiver (iced doughnuts with black currant jam) and glogg, a hot mulled red wine with raisins, almonds, cinnamon sticks and cloves, topped with schnapps. Look for the pretzels hanging in the windows. For more info: visitcopenhagen.com
Dresden , think 4 ton fruitcake. It's paraded through the streets of Dresden along with the Fruitcake Maiden. It has the oldest continuously running Christmas market. Here you'll find the best crafts Germany has to offer, including Dresden's own famed blue and white ceramics.
London's shopping season opens in November when the Christmas lights on Regent Street are lit. You'll even find a German Christmas market here. Small markets can be found all over the city and don't miss the carol sing along at the Royal Albert Hall most of December. Don't miss the Great Christmas Pudding Race of costumer contestants running an obstacle course around Covent Garden while balancing fruitcakes on spoons. For more info: visitlondon.com
Nuremberg, Germany officially begins on the night before Advent the golden Christmas Angle pronounces the opening of one of the most famous and biggest Christmas markets of them all. Two million shoppers descend on the 180 candy cane striped stalls that fill the main square with ornaments, toys, crafts and food. The air is filled with the scent of gingerbread and smoke from the bratwurst grills. For more info: christkindlesmarkt.de
Prague, Czech Republic. The 2 best markets are on Wenceslas Square and in the Old Town Square around a giant Christmas tree. Wooden toys, Bohemian crystal, handmade jewelry, classic Czech marionettes and lots of sweet tooth goodies can be found at both. On Dec. 5, St. Nicholas day, you'll find him roaming town accompanied by an angel and a demon, counting the naughty and nice children. More info: prague-info.cz
Rome Romans build Nativity Scenes all over the city. on the Piazza Navona you'll find most of the market action. Look for La Befana, (the Christmas witch) and Babbo Natale (Father Christmas) dolls. More info: romaturismo.it
Strasbourg, France Here you'll find one of the oldest and best Christmas markets in France, complete with caroling choirs, Nativity plays, mulled wine served in boot shaped mugs. Christkindelsmarik wooden stalls stacked with delicate ornaments and Nativity figurines surround the cathedral and line Place Broglie. Look for stuffed white storks, an Alsatian symbol of good luck in La Petite France, a post card looking, canal threaded corner of the historic center. It's bathed in a warm glow from garlands of Christmas lights, and there's a long line out of the gingerbread bakery. For more info: noel.strasbourg.eu