Kitchener-Waterloo

The Christkindl market is closed, but you can experience it 'in-a-box' instead

Subscription boxes are not a new phenomenon but they have a new meaning for area businesses and event organizers who want to promote local products to a wider audience during the pandemic.

The 'in a box' trend allows people to support a variety of local businesses from home

Volunteer Marjorie Wood says Christkindle-in-a-box offers everything that you think of for Christkindl the taste, the smell, the feeling, the memory of the annual German Christmas market in Kitchener. (christkindl.ca)

Subscription boxes are not a new phenomenon but they have a new meaning for businesses and event organizers in Waterloo region and Wellington County who want to promote local products to a wider audience.

Since the pandemic has prevented people from gathering in big crowds, a number of event organizers have decided to help people recreate the experience through special boxes with items that offer a taste of the event for people to safely celebrate at home.

Christkindl Market in Kitchener, in its 24th year. Though the physical market is closed, organizers have links to the most popular vendors online and decided to also offer an "in-the-box" format. 

Volunteer Marjorie Wood says they were inspired by Oktoberfest, which sold its own box this past September.

"We knew that we could not gather together this year and we thought how do we get Christkindl into your home," said Wood. "With Christkindl-in-a-box, everything that you think of for Christkindl — the taste, the smell, the feeling, the memory — they all are in that box."

"Some on the taste front are salty and sweet foods including, traditional German mulled wine called Glühwein. As well baking including Stollen, a German bread, as well as cookies. And for anyone who has ever been to Christkindl and noticed the crafts, in the box is an ornament of a hut you would normally see at Carl Zehr Square," she said. 

In support of local vendors

Like the Christkindl box, two other area businesses have similar offerings, with products from local vendors.

The Local Box Company offers four seasonal boxes through a subscription. As well there are special occasion boxes available for purchase.

Alyson Domm started the venture in the spring of 2020 after seeing many local businesses forced to close their doors in the first wave of the pandemic. The first was a Mother's Day box in May.

"We put together that box to help support the local businesses that we knew at that time were starting to close down their storefronts," said Domm. 

"So we thought to put together a box that has five to eight local products in it that people can get delivered right to their doors."

Domm says the locally-curated products include jewlery, apparel, bath and body products and "something fun to eat."

Flip-the-focus

Food is the focus of Corinne Taylor's Tasting Boxes. Her company had been offering the Taste of Mennonite Country Food Tours since 2017.

She was forced to put the tours on hold but re-invented the business by flipping the focus; taking the tour to the people by delivering seasonal food goodies in a box.

"Sausage, fresh cheese from the area, some baking [like] the 'Mennonite Twinkie.' We have a local bakery in Floradale, that actually makes what we would call a Twinkie or the Long John," said Taylor.

"We have another local supplier close to Wallenstein who is providing our summer sausage and he's doing an interesting twist. It's actually a turkey and beef blend instead of the traditional all beef or the beef and pork."

A sample of what's packed into Taste of Mennonite Country Food Tours and Tasting Boxes. (Submitted by Corinne Taylor)

Her packages come with information on the food items and where they were made. As well they provide food literature people can look to, to provide different food combinations on how to eat what has been delivered to them.

There are many ways to celebrate the annual German Christmas festival in Kitchener. Besides offering an online advent calendar and a virtual market, you can bring home Christkindl Market. Volunteer Marjorie Wood will tell us what's inside Christkindl in a box 5:24

About the Author

Joe Pavia

Reporter/Editor

Joe Pavia is a Reporter/Editor with CBC K-W 89.1 FM. He's normally heard weekdays on The Morning Edition but also covers a wide range of news and feature stories for both radio and web. If you have a story idea, email Joe at Joseph.Pavia@cbc.ca Follow him on twitter @PaviaJoe1964

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