Mulled wine and cookies to go: 5 tips for recreating the Prague Christmas markets at home

The Czech capital's largest Christmas markets may have been canceled, but there are many ways to bring the holiday spirit home!

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro
Published on 23.11.2020 15:55 (updated on 01.12.2020)

Prague's largest Christmas markets at Wenceslas and Old Town Squares were canceled this year due to coronavirus. And while smaller markets in the capital and other Czech cities may still take place, many will be without refreshments or live music.

Luckily, a number of the traditional decorations and goodies you'd typically find at Czech Christmas markets, from Christmas cookies to mulled wine, are currently available for home delivery. And the loosening of some anti-COVID restrictions is good news for sellers of trees and carp.

We've put together a guide to recreating the advent-market mood that so many of us will miss this holiday season, right at home.

Get Christmas cookies delivered

The fledgling food truck GULE is offering Christmas cookies, eggnog and other seasonal goodies this season. The GULE Food Truck, which stands for Gastronomy Allowing People to Exist, employs people with disabilities. It's the owner's mission to show that people with disabilities can contribute to society and provide quality work.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 76m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 76m2

Koubkova, Praha 2 - Nové Město

Apartment for rent, 1+KK - Studio, 32m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 1+KK - Studio, 32m2

Molákova, Praha 8 - Karlín

Villa for sale, 300m<sup>2</sup>, 634m<sup>2</sup> of land

Villa for sale, 300m2, 634m2 of land

Akátová, Králův Dvůr - Zahořany

A number of other Czech bakers and bakeries are offering Christmas cookie deliveries as well. Marek Lobodáš, a Czech chef seen on Master Chef, offers Czech Christmas cookies as well through his Facebook page. You can message him on Facebook for an order.

Cafe Jirasek in Prague offers six different types of Christmas cookies for the holiday season as well as variety packs. You can order through their website.

The traditional Myšák Pastry Shop has a number of cookies available for sale as well through their website. You can either pick them up or have them delivered to your door. Make sure to order through their website.

Take your mulled wine (and St. Nicholas!) to go

Mulled wine and hot cider delivery (photo via Manifesto Market)
Mulled wine and hot cider delivery (photo via Manifesto Market)

It wouldn't be Christmas without svařák, the traditional Czech mulled wine.

Just in time for the holidays, Manifesto Market has launched Manifesto on Wheels, a new e-shop and delivery service that lets Praguers enjoy the season's favorite spirits from the comfort of their own home.

In addition to mulled wine and hot apple cider, you'll be able to order draft Czech beer and homemade cocktails from the bar menu. An e-shop stocked with vouchers and mugs lets you gift the market experience.

Parents take note: On Dec. 5 and 6, Saint Nicholas and his Angel and Devil will deliver orders in person (maintaining 2-meter social distancing protocols!) along with a sweet gift for good girls and boys who perform a traditional poem.

TIP: Order here using the WELOVESVARAK code for 15% off. Drinks can be delivered or picked up from Manifesto Florenc.

Purchase the perfect tree in Prague

PRIVATE PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 1+1 - Studio, 27m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 1+1 - Studio, 27m2

Sokolovská, Praha 8 - Karlín

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 55m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 55m2

Slovinská, Praha 10 - Vršovice

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 76m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 76m2

Voskovcova, Praha 5 - Hlubočepy

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 68m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 68m2

Neklanova, Praha 2 - Vyšehrad

Prague's own Christmas tree is due to be installed in Old Town on Monday, Nov. 23 but where can you buy your very own? Also from Nov. 23, changes to pandemic restrictions mean merchants selling Christmas trees can now operate.

Many major retail chains including garden centers like Bauhaus, OBI, and Hornbach, started selling live trees, around Nov. 20, according to František Valdman, vice-chairman of the Association of Christmas Tree Growers.

Some shops opening later in the week will be selling trees, too. Mountfield, for example, told Globe24.cz that they plan to open on Saturday and will offer fresh Caucasian firs from Denmark.

"I can confirm that we have enough trees for the first few days and are doing everything we can to ensure deliveries until Christmas. I cannot predict whether further deliveries from Denmark will be delayed or even interrupted due to the difficult situation in Europe in as a result of the pandemic," said Mountfield CEO Michal Pobežal. 

How much should you expect to pay? Pobežal said most families want a 150- to 200- centimeter-tall tree, which starts at CZK 539 while at OBI, for insance, trees ranging in size from 150 to 175 centimeters start at CZK 439.

Prague's forest department have also started selling their annual Christmas Fir with the Future trees. These are special Christmas trees in a pot that, unlike other trees, are meant to be planted in the countryside once Christmas is over, not tossed to the curb.

You can purchase one at various sale points throughout the city. Learn more about the trees here.

Order decorations and handicrafts online from local vendors

A Christmas tree wouldn't be complete without ornaments. This winter, due to the pandemic, small shops and artisans across the country are offering handmade ornaments online.

The small business Orel and Friends has a number of wooden and ceramic Christmas ornaments available through their online store.

PRIVATE PROPERTIES

Apartment for rent, 1+1 - Studio, 27m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 1+1 - Studio, 27m2

Sokolovská, Praha 8 - Karlín

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 55m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 55m2

Slovinská, Praha 10 - Vršovice

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 76m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 4+kk - 3 bedrooms, 76m2

Voskovcova, Praha 5 - Hlubočepy

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 68m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 68m2

Neklanova, Praha 2 - Vyšehrad

Si Vales Valeo, a small Prague-based business owned by an Italian craftswoman, also sells handmade ornaments on her site.

Fleur, an online marketplace in the Czech Republic, similar to Etsy, offers hundreds of handmade goods through their online shop from local artisans. Take a look at their ornaments here and their more general Christmas decorations right here.

Catch fresh carp at a shop or seller near you

Traditional carp seller in Prague (photo via Raymond Johnston - Expats.cz)
Traditional carp seller in Prague (photo via Raymond Johnston - Expats.cz)

What would Christmas be without the carp? Carp has long been an important part of Czech Christmas dinners, served alongside soup, potato salad and sauteed root vegetables.

On Monday, Nov. 23, changes to the pandemic restrictions will enable merchants selling live fish to operate, meaning that this is one tradition that'll be preserved during the pandemic.

For those who prefer to buy carp in a kinder, gentler (i.e. less bloody) manner, you can find it at most major grocery stores throughout the Czech Republic as well as grocery delivery services like Rohlik.cz.

Fish markets in Prague like Sádky Lahovice may also carry the festive fish, keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates. Rybárny Praha also offers fresh carp for sale.

Has the current situation had an impact on carp prices? Rudolf Provázek, Chairman of the Board of Fish Market, told iDnes that fish prices will fluctuate depending on the region and the transport, ranging from CZK 95 to CZK 120.

When you're ready to eat your fresh catch we suggest this tried and true recipe for Czech Christmas Carp.