It's Xmas time! (Christmas Tree by Anna Cervova, via

As the past two weeks have seen a flurry of activity within the European institutions, it can be hard to remember that the countdown to Christmas, New Year, and a few blessed days of rest will shortly be upon us. In between Parliamentary hearings, monitoring, and the day to day glamour of public affairs, we will be fitting in Christmas parties, Christmas drinks and of course Christmas markets.

In fact, a few of us at The Lobby got a head start on the holiday merriment and gift-buying by heading over to Christmas markets both large and small last weekend, in Henglarn and Cologne. In between Bratwursts, Glühwein, Feuerzangenbowle, and copious amounts of chocolate we were also able to squeeze in some Christmas shopping.

Closer to home, the Marché de Noel at Sainte-Catherine in Brussels is known for its ice skating rink, open until 10pm. Strasbourg, which calls itself the Capital of Christmas, has various markets, and MEPs, Assistants, and anyone else headed there should definitely check out the most famous of the city’s markets, known as Christkindelsmärik, at Place Broglie. Another favourite for those in Brussels looking to venture beyond the city is Aachen’s Christmas Market, roughly an hour and a half drive from Brussels.

So whether you are enjoying Glühwein in the comfort of your own home or at one of the many Christmas markets, take a minute to enjoy the season. Before you know it, 2010 will be here, and with it a new Commission…

– Megan

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