Some time ago I wrote about why I find Christmas markets annoying. I was then insulted badly. I lack any romance and am abnormally critical and uncomfortable. That gave me something to think about. Was I on the wrong track? I decided to face the horror again and went to two Christmas markets again. One in downtown Hamburg and one on the grounds of a farm nearby. The latter was notably muddier (and even more expensive) than the first. Otherwise – everything is the same.

It’s cold at Christmas markets. It’s tight. It is wet. It is expensive. At countless mulled wine stands, passers-by bundled up in cold clothes stand and systematically solder their bulbs with nasty booze from the “Château Skull” category. At some point they stagger helplessly between “light-filled fir garlands”. It has been proven that sweetened, hot wine makes you drunk quicker. This is not good. But that seems to be exactly what it’s all about for many people. You just have to drink the whole thing up.

Sopping fatty pastries are offered for sale in all markets at inflated prices. Charred sausages and meat skewers have to be choked down while standing. Gigantic pans on iron chains over an open fire, in which fried potatoes and stringy pieces of meat are simmering, simulate medieval cosiness. Pans of mutated giant mushrooms simmer sadly. Everywhere people with red hats on their heads are praising Tinnef, which is then bought for huge sums of money by mindless sedated people after drinking mulled wine. At home you stand shaking your head in front of the Chinese “handicrafts from the Erzgebirge”, the chunky candles, the frilly gold angels, the sinfully expensive wooden boards from the Palatinate and the Christmas tree decorations for scaring eggs. It’s good that we still managed to escape the unleashed glassblowers and amber cutters. But wait – what’s poking in your pocket? Mistletoe from Alsace. Good heavens, what else could you have bought when you were drunk!

Carousels with blue-frozen children spin. Some people feel sick from all the cotton candy, “cyclops meat skewers” and greasy waffles. Whatever, another ride on the fire truck. You want to sip your mulled wine in peace. Let little Torben break a little.

And somewhere there’s always a poor, freezing student standing and playing “The Snow Is Quietly Falling” into a saxophone. Not far away, a circus man rhythmically shakes a donation box and asks for mild donations for the winter food of his pony, which is lazily apple-picking next to him. And the sound of horrible, cheesy Christmas music floats above everything like a cloud of exhaust fumes. And in every song – in every one! – you can hear the annoying sound of these jingle bells on Santa Claus’ sleigh.

But whenever you complain about Christmas markets, someone says: “But the one in (insert the name of any picturesque town near you here) is supposed to be really nice.” And then you allow yourself to be persuaded, drive there, park in a hugely expensive parking lot, get out of the car – walk through light-filled fir garlands, stand in front of the medieval pan, smell the frying fat and hear the jingle bells, the listless student blowing brass and the shouting the mulled wine-addled people. Well then cheers!

So, and in the coming weeks I will dedicate myself to another, massively overrated phenomenon: New Year’s Eve – this horrible obligation to forced collective happiness, wild shooting, unleashed food orgies and pointless drinking. I hate New Year’s Eve and will explain in detail why. If the cannon doesn’t hit me first. I know I have powerful enemies. Above all, Santa Claus and his clan. Maybe I shouldn’t have messed with them. Yesterday I found a sawn-off horse sausage in my bed!