Believe it or not, there’s more to do in Nottingham than lectures, clubbing and societies, and Impact is determined to experience as much of it as possible. From heated political rallies to teeth chattering ghost walks, we’ll be there. In the latest edition of Nottingham Experienced, Lydia went to the Christmas Market on Market Square to check out the festive wonders on display. 

For some jaded people, Christmas holds none of the charm, joy and goodwill that it does for the very young and the very naïve. Luckily for me, I am able to activate the very young and very naïve part of my brain for at least a month each year so that I can be enchanted by what most people sarcastically call ‘the magic of Christmas’. For me, though, that phrase has always held a grain of truth.

market square

It’s hard not to be charmed by the sense of community at Nottingham’s annual Christmas market, held on Market Square. It may be a little cutesy – the stalls are decorated like winter cabins, complete with spray-on snow – but it’s also glittering with lights and thronged by people, adults and children alike, laughing and talking and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells that only a traditional Christmas market can offer.

It’s hard not to be charmed by the sense of community at Nottingham’s annual Christmas market.

The contributions in the sights department include a brilliantly-lit carousel, a (rather over-priced) helter skelter, and a tall Christmas tree surrounded by an ice skating rink- a returning favourite to this year’s market. As for smells, the scent of roast chestnuts and mulled wine is detectable from several metres away.

Almost every type of confectionery imaginable is on sale.

Wandering past the stalls, you’ll be able to pick up a bewildering variety of food, ranging from the slightly exotic – ostrich burgers and Indian or Chinese cuisine – to more traditional English offerings such as mushy peas and mince pies. Almost every type of confectionery imaginable is on sale too, from marshmallows to fudge to liquorice.

carosel

As I walked around the market, my friends scoffed that it was all commercialised nonsense. Yes, it may be true that some of it is only tangentially connected, at best, to Christmas (the worst offender was a stall selling small motorised vacuum cleaners), but if you’re looking for ideas for presents there are far worse places to look. And the market, with its ice rink, arcade games, and winter bars, captures the heart and happiness of the winter holidays far better than being trampled by hoards of bargain-hungry shoppers at Primark.

If you’re looking for ideas for presents there are far worse places to look.

Besides, there are plenty of gifts on offer that are perfect for the occasion. Apart from the standard stockings, baubles, hats and scarves (for younger siblings) you can also find jewelry crafted from glass, amber and silver (best given to mothers and girlfriends), dream catchers (for the hippie in your life), and more boring presents like pots (maybe your gran will like one?). At the most distinctive end of the spectrum come framed Lego figures and sculptures made out of wielded metal. Even the minions from Despicable Me get their own stand.

Even the minions from Despicable Me get their own stand.

But really, as I was standing by the ice rink watching the skaters whizz past, it wasn’t the presents at the market I was thinking about – and it wasn’t even the food.

No, I was thinking about how nice it is to see people come together and enjoy themselves at times like these. When you boil it down, a Christmas market might just be a collection of stalls selling a collection of material things, but the important thing is that it brings us together. It might be a little sentimental, but there it is.

ice rink

Actually, scratch that – ‘tis the season to be merry’. The Christmas market is a veritable winter wonderland in a sea of depression and drudgery. Get yourself down there, and for just a while stop worrying about looming exams and essay deadlines and be young and naïve again.

The Christmas market is a veritable winter wonderland in a sea of depression and drudgery.

Lydia Cockerham

The Christmas Market is open until the 5th of January. 

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