The Return of the Julemarked

Wood carved ornaments at Christmas markets in NYC

Photo: Pixabay
You’ll find all kinds of holiday goods at New York’s Christmas Markets.

Victoria Hofmo
Brooklyn, N.Y.

It’s that time again—the return of the Scandinavian Christmas Markets. In New York City there are four Scandinavian Christmas Fairs, and all happen to take place at the same time, the third weekend in November.

Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, located on the corners of 80th Street and 4th Avenue in Brooklyn will hold their Holiday Fair and Flea Market on Friday, Nov. 20, and Saturday, Nov. 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. One will find a hodge-podge of second hand goods and some vintage items, especially linens, glassware, and Christmas decorations. Slightly used toys, books, gifts, and jewelry will also be available. You will certainly find something unique. Last year, I found some wonderful retro mercury glass ornaments with whimsical animals etched in glitter. There is also a Gourmet Table with tasty items to take home or to eat at the church’s pop up cafe.

The Danish Seamen’s Church will host their fair on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It is located at 102 Willow Street in Brooklyn. According to their their website, you will find “Danish applied arts, crafts, and delicacies: Modern and traditional Christmas decorations, Royal Copenhagen, Bodum, Dansko, Christmas plates, as well as donuts, Danish hot dogs, and candy.” The food they serve is to die for, and it has become so popular that they had to move their restaurant to a larger location at Plymouth Church, 75 Hicks Street Brooklyn.

The Swedish Church is located at 5 East 48th Street in Manhattan. Their Christmas Bazaar lasts three days: Thursday, Nov. 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20, from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. What you can expect? “Traditional Christmas food, ginger snaps and pastries, Swedish crafts, traditional music and a lot more,” as stated on their website. They will also have gløgg. Perhaps you can have you first cup of the season here.

The Norwegian Seamen’s Church is located at 317 East 52nd Street. It boasts the largest and oldest Christmas Market, held for more than 100 years. Lasting for three days, it begins on Thursday, Nov. 19. Visit their website to confirm hours, as the times for the sale and food do not coincide. According to their website it “will feature everything from traditional Norwegian foodstuffs and delicacies to books, music, clothes, designer jewelry, and decorative items. The fair will also feature freshly made traditional Norwegian food and Christmas treats—traditional salmon and shrimp sandwiches, gløgg, rice pudding, waffles and much, much more. The Church has enlisted the support of the world’s finest knitters: Norwegian grandmothers. An abundance of mittens, socks, sweaters, and scarves featuring traditional patterns will thus be available for purchase. There will be a Children’s Program on Saturday, Nov. 21.”

The many Christmas Markets in New York have become so popular that several of the Sons of Norway Lodges in Long Island are chartering a bus to attend. This is the third consecutive year they have done so, and this transportation is being organized by Zone 1 Sons of Norway. Organization member, Ken Johnsen, explained, “First we go to the Danish Seamen’s Church and then onto the Swedish Church and finally to the Norwegian Seamen’s Church.”

The Julemarked season is a wonderful time to reconnect with our Scandinavian traditions. It is also a wonderful time to support the continuation of these churches by attending and spending. For many churches this is their main annual fundraiser where they try to fill up their coffers with much needed cash for the upcoming fiscal year. Let’s not forget about the hundreds of volunteers who make these markets possible by cleaning objects, setting up displays, baking, serving, and cleaning up. These Christmas Markets will be crowded; this is a good thing. So be patient. Be kind. It’s the perfect time to embrace and share the Christmas spirit with those volunteers who are so integral to keeping this wonderful tradition alive.

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 20, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.