Because Christmas Markets aim to bring Christmas magic to live, we drew a list of the most sustainable Christmas markets in Europe to make sure the magic doesn't rhyme with environmental disaster.
Why sustainable Christmas markets? We LOVE Christmas markets. But looking at the environmental cost , it’s not so great… On average, 75g of extra waste per visitor at a Christmas market. Imagine a Christmas market in a city like Strasbourg, that has more than 2 million visitors. Such a quantity of waste, plastic cups and so on? Considering the Christmas lighting on top of that, and the heaters in the outdoor stalls, the ecological bill can be salty!
So we decided to make a list of some of the Sustainable Christmas markets that exist in Europe offering organic, local and fair trade products, not made in China and where you can buy without feeling too guilty and which also propose a more sustainable alternative to celebrate the end of the year. The Christmas markets, they just make the Christmas spirit alive and I cannot say I don’t appreciate them, but I don’t want the planet to pay the cost for them. So make a gift to the planet this year and prefer the alternative and ecological Christmas markets !
In addition, studies show that these alternative markets are increasingly in vogue especially in Strasbourg for example where many people preferred the Christmas Off market to the classic one! Local, artisanal and organic products.
This list does not claim to refer ALL eco-friendly or organic Christmas markets, but unfortunately they are not so many of them in comparison to the number of Christmas markets per country! In Europe, there are hundreds of them just counting the “official” ones. France for example is expecting 27 million visitors this year for its official Christmas markets only! It’s a huge amount of people using disposable to drink gluhwein or eat choucroute. So if you can try to privilege the alternative markets rather than the official ones, that would be a great gesture to the planet.
In France, the Christmas market of Toulouse wins the prize of the most sustainable Christmas market !
Toulouse; a green city ?
So proud of Toulouse! From all the Christmas markets websites that I have visited, the city of Toulouse is one of the only ones to have an eco-responsible chart. So yes, the market may not be the most environmentally friendly because the exhibitors do not all offer organic or ecological products but at least the effort is present. Bravo to the City Hall of Toulouse!
And for those who really want to buy from an alternative market promoting solidarity and local products, Toulouse also has its alternative Christmas market (December 10 – 24, 2016)
Nantes; long live solidarity!
Nantes does not idle either regarding alternative and fair christmas markets! With the Other Christmas Market, Nantes is tinged with green. Indeed, for its fourth edition, this Christmas market, specially dedicated to exhibitors proposing fair and ecological products, is back from 1 to 24 December. To visit if you are in Nantes!
Lyon: educate to better protect
The Alternative Christmas Market at the Rancy Hall offers an educational Christmas market! Activities for all to make your own Christmas decorations,create your gifts while tasting local specialties. And for those who have unused gifts that you do not like, you can exchange them at this Christmas market. Very original! The program here
Strasbourg; An increasingly trendy Christmas market
I love Strasbourg, I think it is a really nice city. And to do well, the city has invested together with several associations, in an alternative Christmas market, called Off, proposing to revisit Christmas in a more ecological, organic and alternative way. Street art, concerts and fair trade products, everything is there for a real Christmas hipster! (1st – 24th December)
Paris: not really offering anything satisfying
I was disappointed to see that there is not really an eco-friendly or alternative Christmas market in Paris. The only “eco” market that exists lasts only 2 days, the 3 and 4 of December of this year in this case … What a disappointment when we see the effort of other smaller cities! But hey, at least this organic and green gifts market, looks like a real gem! Promised, next year we’ll see it!
The region of South Tyrol and its 5 Christmas markets in Italy, a beautiful environmental effort
All green! Low energy consumption, local and seasonal products, reduced waste and shuttles to limit the number of visitors by car. This region bordering Austria is absolutely beautiful, in the Italian mountains, a beautiful setting for Sustainable Christmas markets!
Stockholm Christmas Market, a constant desire to do better
Sweden is already known for its desire to preserve the environment. Swedes love nature, and show it! The Christmas market of the city of Stockholm is ecological with the reduction of electricity consumption, good management of waste and products for the majority local.
Germany, great champion of ecological, vegan and sustainable Christmas markets
Berlin offers a 100% green Christmas market, probably the biggest in Europe. A 100% organic, fair trade and vegan market! So no products from animals, which will change you from the stalls of animal furs or from the cheeses stalls. This market takes place on 16 and 17 December. On our to-do list of next year for sure!
Located in Berlin at the Kollwitzplatz Prenzlauer Bergtoujours but smaller than the Green Market, the Christmas market in Advents-Ökomarkt offers organic solutions and fair trade products. Every Sunday in December you can take a look and find crafts from all over Germany. And for the gourmands like me, hot wine and organic cookies.
Munich : TollWood Winter Festival
Germany is a precursor in everything that is organic, green and ecofriendly. In Munich, the Tollwood festival that is a huge market, well represents this trend that we hope will only continue,for more sustainable Christmas markets. This alternative Christmas market is located where the OktoberFest takes place and you will find lots of innovative, hipster and truly original artist stands. Between the tasting of hot coconut milk or the anti-animal cruelty sculptures, a Sustainable Christmas market that seems really original and much more interesting than the traditional Christmas market. From 23/11 to 31/12/2016.
In England, some nice initiatives but can do better
In England, from the 14th till the 23rd of December, the Real Food Market offers to London its Christmas edition. An organic and fair trade market, where you will find healthy and sustainable products! The market is not necessarily vegan but at least the effort is made for environmentally friendly products. Located opposite King’s Cross square, do not miss it if you are in London!
For all the Vegan Christmas markets in England, you will find a list here on this site. Do not hesitate to take a look, you will find original gift ideas and enjoy a good organic wine!
To highlight other interesting ideas around Christmas markets, here is a Christmas tree seller who offers to sell you a fir tree and guarantees you to replant a tree in Africa. Beautiful initiative.
There is also this online Sustainable Christmas markets site where you can buy products from local and ecological craftsmen. The name ? The Organic Christmas Market.
The Netherlands and hipster Christmas
PureMarkt is a regular market in Amsterdam, but its Christmas edition will delight your palate! One of the most hipster markets in Holland with fair trade and organic products as well as many vegan stands. Perfect for a Sunday outing! Moreover the Christmas market of the city of Amsterdam is relatively small and without much interest, this one could complete your walk!
Sustainable christmas markets of the “De Groene Passage” in Rotterdam is a small ecological and organic Christmas market. It is a covered market so you can go by any weather! Open from 11th December.