City Cast

Why Christkindlmarket Mugs Are a Chicago Tradition

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on November 16
Three 2023 Christkindlmarket location-specific mugs

The 2023 Christkindlmarket location-specific mugs. (Troy Mairs / Chicago Star Media)

Friday marks the start of a lot of Chicago holiday festivities, including Christkindlmarket. That means visitors can add the newest souvenir mugs to their collection. Here’s what to know about the tradition.

How Did the Tradition Start?

Noblemen drank Gluhwein, the hot spiced wine, in 15th century Germany, leading to the need for a vessel for the beverage.

Originally standard clayware, today's mugs come in all shapes and sizes: tall, short, thin, stout, heart-shaped, hat-shaped, and boot-shaped. While not exactly traditional in Germany, the mulled wine mugs are popular in the U.S.

Some Chicagoans have collected every Christkindlmarket souvenir mug since the market opened in 1996.  

What’s Available This Year?

  • Mugs for each market location in the Loop, Wrigleyville, and Aurora.
  • The mug for nonalcoholic beverages has decorations of a reindeer and a market.
  • A ceramic beer stein with holiday imagery.

All mugs and souvenirs won’t be sold online this year, so if you want to score one, you’ll have to go in person while the market runs through Dec. 24 downtown and in Aurora, and through Dec. 31 in Wrigleyville.

Want to beat the crowds on the weekends? Opt for a $25 fast pass.

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