By Eszter Révész
December is the most magical month of the year, the city is covered in Christmas lights, the streets smell like chimney cake and mulled wine, and if we are lucky enough, the rooftops turn white while we are asleep. Events of this month usually celebrate togetherness, love and tradition, and serve as fantastic opportunities to spend some joyful time with our loved ones. Here, you can find a selection of playful, sustainable and traditional events for the last weekend before the holidays, hopefully some great options to relax and recharge after the finals.
Animals’ Christmas at NOÉ Animal Home (Állatok Karácsonya a Noé Állatotthonban) December 18, 2021, 11.00-15.00
The workers and residents of the animal home invite everyone for a lovely afternoon with mulled wine and home-made cookies, and what they ask for in exchange is for you to “adopt” one of their animals for a few hours and surprise them with a gift of food and love. While charity should play an important role in all of our lives, during Christmas we have more chance to join such initiatives. As we are all preparing with gifts for our loved ones, don’t forget to surprise those, who really need it. Lastly, these events can be very recharging, especially in case of animals that give you all their love.
Vintage Légy-Ott! – Christmas Market (Vintage Légy-Ott! – Karácsonyi Vásár)
December 18, 2021, 11.00-17.00
There are more and more initiatives to reduce the overconsumption holidays, for instance by buying second-hand gifts. Vintage Légy-Ott! has been a strong force in bringing sustainable fashion closer to people, and their Christmas edition has the unhidden goal of contributing to create a more conscious buyer community. They selected the most amazing sellers, who offer unique and quality vintage clothes and accessories. Some of the brands are: Block Stock Vintage, Ever After Budapest and Unagi Vintage, so if you are still looking for the perfect gift it might worth to visit the market at Szimpla Kert ruin bar, Kazinczy Street.
December 19, 2021, starts at 11.00 and 15.00
Every year, since I was a child, I wait for this out-of-this-world experience, which only happens once a year. Now, I am almost grown-up, but the magic of the gold, graven walls, the elegantly dressed couples, and the breathtakingly tender movements of the ballerinas have not faded away. Unfortunately, the Opera House is still under renovation, therefore the ballet is displayed in the Erkel theatre, but as the light goes off, one immediately finds themselves in Clara’s dream and couldn’t care less where they are watching this masterpiece.
If the performances are sold out, another option is to go to the screening of the 2016 Nutcracker performance by the Royal Ballet, which is based on the original choreography by Lev Ivanov from 1984, in the Várkert Mozi.
Christmas Museum and Shop (Karácsony Múzeum és Üzlet)
Atlough this is not a specific event, Szentendre has a wonderful Christmas shop with hundreds of ornaments and decorations. It is only a 35-minutes ride from Budapest with H5, and while you are there, you can discover the city and its Christmas market, making it an amazing Saturday afternoon program with friends and family.
Magic Parkland at Vajdahunyad Castle (Varázsliget a Vajdahunyad Várában)
December 10, 2021 – January 2, 2021
Varázsliget is a new program, suitable not only for children, but for everyone, who has an inner child looking forward to see some magic and wonder. The Vajdahunyad Castle welcomes all until the first days of January to a fairy tale, where the Magic Ball invites us to create some playful tools, and every weekend there is a Fairy Show, where the smaller ones can participate with their DIY magic wand and fairy wings. The Magic Wall cannot wait to be painted wonderfully, and the magical merry-go-around makes the event even more festive. There are several programs, including tale-musicals, like the successful Mesekészítő, and the performances of Tűzmadarak acrobats and jugglers. The visitors are welcomed with some hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts and chimney cake, while enjoying the happy moments of the parkland.
Winter Food Fest
November 26, 2021 – January 3, 2021
While almost all Christmas markets offer a wide selection of traditional Hungarian foods, this year another concept arose and is available at Deák tér, which builds on the carefully picked selection of different countries’ national food. There are several restaurants participating so you can enjoy Mexican, Middle-Eastern, Moroccon and smokey tastes by La Cabina, Mazel Tov, Tereza, Smoke Riders and 101 Bistro. The Chimney cake shop reinvented the Hungarian traditional dessert, and only during the food fest they offer one stuffed with pistachio crème, besides their other experimental ideas.