Berlin Christmas Market at Alexa

The Las Vegas of Christmas markets.
23 Dec ’13 by Nico Places, Street Life

If you like Christmas, you love Weihnachtsmärkte. But not one of the typical ones is as impressive as the neon colored fair that we pass every evening on our way with the S-Bahn: we call it the Alexa Christmas Market, although it does have another, official name: Wintertraum am Alexa, although that sounds way too idealistic for what it really is.

The Alexa Christmas market puts a nice little twist on the usual freeze-off competitions. While all of the Boutique Designer Christmas Markets of Berlin are also steadily increasing their popularity, we like to stick to this one. It’s really the Las Vegas of Christmas markets and captures the essence of the season: Glühwein, cold and consumerism.

Sure, it’s only related to Christmas by name. The Alexa Christmas market and action fair definitely isn’t what you’d expect from a typically German, traditional version of a Weihnachtsmarkt. You’ll find mulled wine and Christmas-sy snacks, as well as probably some shopping options. But – fortunately – none of the tacky home-made overpriced felt and DIY-plastic stuff. For that, you will need to go to one of the new markets that I tend to avoid, or to a classic favorite like the Rixdorf Christmas Market.

I like this one though, because it only incorporates Santa, Jesus and the religious stuff as a side-theme rather than its main focus, turning the holiday just into any random excuse to get lit on hot wine, and giving reasonable justifications for having a fair, full with crazy rides and neon lights, in the wintertime. I know, I know – that’s not very much in the spirit of Christmas. But at least it’s not even pretending to be. In a world where Christmas is often used as excuse for sales, its kind of an afterthought here. It feels honest to treat it like that.

Thanks to the brash neon-lights, there’s something hypnotizing about the Alexa Christmas Market, especially when passing by on the S-Bahn into the east. There’s always a tinge of nostalgia when I see the dancing lights of Wilde Maus; like clockwork, every year the rides are erected before the first snow. It’s hard to ignore, an annual friendly reminder that the holidays are coming up and you’re still here, just older now.

23 Nov ’88Grunerstraße 20, 10179 Berlin, Germany