The countdown is starting soon and the festive season is around the corner! It has not been an easy year but this makes more of a reason to put it behind us and celebrate Christmas and New Year period.
Christmas in Switzerland is a beautiful holiday with so many rich traditions. This Christmas might be different for many of us. So if it’s your first Christmas in Switzerland then here’s a roadmap and a bunch of recommendations of how you can spend it the Swiss way and make it fun, tasty and rewarding!
Visit some (great alternatives to) Swiss Christmas Markets
This year our favourite Christmas markets in Switzerland will not take place. We got disappointed for a while but soon we learned that some nice alternatives are being organised: like a winter garden at Frau Gerolds in Zurich, or a local Christmas market in Rapperswil or Wunderdorf in Baden.
Here are some important dates to note down:
Rapperswill Christmas Market: December 3 – 20, 2020
Winter garden at Frau Gerolds, Zurich: November, 11 2020 – December, 19 2020. This urban garden turns into a winter wonderland: food stalls, fondue and on Saturdays there will be a gifts fair!
Wunderdorf in Baden : November, 11 2020 – January, 3 2021
Christmas in Lugano: December, 1 2020 – January, 6 2021
We will keep updating the list so stay tunned.
Prepare an Advent calendar
We love this Swiss Christmas tradition to gift the Advent calendar and then unwrap small gifts and surprises every day between December 1 and 24. Although there are so many ready made Advent Calendars you can buy, it is a lot of fun to prepare one yourself for your closest people. Leverage your creativity to its best, although all what you need is a numbered board and some small gifts that can range from some candies 🍬 and sweets 🍭 to a…..diamond ring 💍 (just hinting 😁😉)
Bake a Christmas speciality
An old tradition is coming back, especially with all the “staying at home” this year. Baking is again in fashion and Christmas is your time to show your talents (or at least to try ☺️). The Swiss bake all sorts of cookies and rolls: Brunsli, Zimststern or Chräbbeli cookies or Grittibanz, a traditional man-shaped roll.
These make a perfect Christmas gift for neighbours and friends. If you are going to bake this Christmas for the first time, don’t worry we have your back. I am sharing this recipe of homemade cinnamon stars that I liked the most and tried myself although I am far from being a chef.
Go Ice Skating or Skiing
Ice skating is such a fun thing to do in winter in Switzerland. It’s a family activity that bounds kids and parents and friends, even those who don’t know how to skate 😄 . Outdoor skating rinks are in almost every town and city and you can also check some rinks on the lakes!
Swiss celebrate Christmas Day (“Weihnachten”) in a special way. It is on the 25th of December, that many Swiss go to the mountains and chalets to properly open the skiing season. Fingers crossed there is enough snow then! Together with skiing many other winter fun activities are abundant: tobogganing, ice skating, Nordic skiing and bobsledding.
We have a dedicated article about some of the best skiing resorts in Switzerland. Actually there are so many beautiful slopes to ski in Switzerland that it is hard to put all of them in just one article!
Spend Christmas Eve with family
Maybe it’s not an exclusive Swiss tradition but it’s highly appreciated here to enjoy quality family time and celebrate Christmas Eve with family. Fun can start from setting up and decorating the Christmas tree to preparing the Christmas menu. If you want to give your table a Swiss twist this year, you can have a Fondue or maybe even hot wine 🍷
And….DON’T forget the gifts! We have prepared a fully dedicated post to Christmas gifts here where you can have some new ideas.
We wish you a great upcoming festive season with loved ones and friends, with lots of delicious food and charming gifts, with smiles and laughs, with hope and dreams to a better year!