Advent in the Emmental: 5 events that you shouldn’t miss

I have to admit that I try to resist Christmas as much as I can, even though the shops have been full of Christmas decorations and chocolate figures of Santa Claus since October. But just as vehemently as I am denying the slightest thinking of Christmas in October or November, suddenly something clicks inside my head at the beginning of Advent, and I suddenly have the urge to fully enjoy this season. But besides looking for gifts and baking cookies, I scan carefully at the surroundings and save tips on where to go and what to do to soak up the atmosphere of the approaching Christmas as much as possible. Of course not anywhere far away, preferably in my beloved Emmental. That’s why I have put together these 5 event tips that you shouldn’t miss in the Emmental.

1. Visit Christmas markets

Yes, it’s such a cliché, but where else to smell the atmosphere of the approaching Christmas than at the Christmas markets.

Probably the best known in the Emmental is Kambly Weihnachtsmarkt in Trubschachen, which takes place during the first two Advent weekends. In fact, it was, as I recall, our very first Christmas market, which we visited after moving to Switzerland.

I also really like the Burgdorfer Weihnachtsmarkt, which takes place in early December (so if you read these lines, you have missed it, sorry). Not only does it take place right in the center of this cute historic town, but among countless stalls, you will find the stall of “our” ice hockey club. This year, I have challenged myself (and my Swiss German 😉 ) and signed up for an hour-long sales shift. If somebody told me a few years ago that I would be selling at a Christmas market in Switzerland, I wouldn’t believe it! 😀

2. Decorate gingerbread

You may say that gingerbread decorating can be a piece of cake for an experienced housewife/baker, but after a nice experience of making chocolate Easter bunnies in the bakery Bäckerforum Aeschlimann in Zollbrück, we decided to go here and decorate gingerbread. The children enjoyed a one-hour workshop where they could decorate two big gingerbreads and they could also get to know how it looks and works in the bakery.

3. Bake Grittibänze

Grittibänz, the boy figures made from an enriched yeast dough, is a goods that together with the gingerbread (Lebkuchen) goes along with Samichlaus Day. I thought that just as we could decorate gingerbread, it would be possible to find a bakery where we could bake our Grittibänze under expert supervision. Because I remembered that our older son was in a similar school workshop when he was in first grade. But at the Fischer Ersigen bakery, where they were then, they do these workshops only for school classes, but unfortunately not for the public.

If you do not find a bakery in your area where you could bake Grittibänze, you can try it at home following this simple recipe of my blog colleague Andie (Andie also lives in Emmental, so it counts 😉).

4. Visit St. Nicholas (Samichlaus)

In Switzerland, people celebrate St.Nicholas Day on the 6th of December. Sometimes St.Nicholas (here is called Samichlaus or Samichlous) comes to a certain place (like school, kindergarten, even visits ice hockey trainings 😉 ), but sometimes you have the opportunity to go to his cottage in the woods. For example, in Sumiswald, you can visit Samichlous and his assistant Schmutzli in the Laueli forest (information here).

Samichlaus on the skates

5. Visit “Adventsfenster”

This tradition began to resonate in my ears only this year. From December 1 to December 24, “Adventsfentster” (Advent window) opens in many villages. Every day, in a different place in the village. It is as if you gradually opened windows from the Advent calendar. Adventsfenster is more of a social event, meeting with neighbors for a friendly chat and relaxing from the pre-Christmas bustle.

Adventsfenster at the Röthlisbergers in Ersigen

And how do you spend your Christmas time? I look forward to your comments! And if you don’t want to miss any of my recent posts please sign up for my blog in the top right-hand corner of this page. Thank you. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.


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Our Czech Christmas in Switzerland

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