Into the holiday spirit

Twinkling lights and Christmas markets

Bridget Babcox
December 12, 2013

With all the twinkling lights, the delicious smells and the bustle of the people walking by, the Santa Croce German Christmas market had me experiencing sensory overload. As I bit into my delicious Nutella crepe, I realized that for the first time this year, it felt like, well, Christmas. For teens, the market is a perfect scenario: it has relatively cheap food, fun kiosks to browse and provides an excuse to go out with friends, even on a school night (after all, it only happens once a year). We do not even have to buy anything to enjoy the market. Perhaps the best part is walking around, simply taking in the sights.


Christmas markets are not the only things in Florence that get teens in the holiday spirit. My friend Malaika’s favorite part of this season is ‘the lights that they hang in the streets … especially when you see them at a distance and it looks like they continue into infinity.’ There is no denying the lights are spectacular—they add an extra touch of magic and elegance to an already magnificent city—but it is not just their beauty that makes them so special. Like my friend Kristian says, it is the effort behind them that makes them all the more beautiful. The idea that city workers and planners take the time to hang lights to embellish Florence further is heartwarming. Seeing the beautiful decorations snaps me out of my usual teenage study-sleep-repeat routine and forces me to appreciate the holiday season and the beautiful city around me.


The weather in Florence also adds to the Christmas spirit. My friend Marta points out that she loves this time of year because ‘it’s the only time in Florence you can hope it snows.’ Ah, the eternally idealized idea of a white Christmas.


And while we may resent having to bundle up, December in Florence is much milder than in many other places. When my friend Jonas told me his favorite part of the season was that ‘it’s warm’ I thought he had to be joking, but then I realized he had a point. Florence’s December weather may not be at summertime highs, but it certainly beats where Jonas grew up in Germany or where I grew up in Ohio. Since the weather is warm enough to permit socializing outside, it makes the overall holiday atmosphere of the city more jovial.


Whether perusing the markets with friends, simply appreciating the beauty of the Christmas decorations or optimistically seeing the chill of the air as an enhancement of the seasonal cheer, there are endless ways for teenagers to get into the holiday spirit in Florence. At the very least, there are some excellent Instagram opportunities.

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