Magical Christmas at the Osthoff Resort

 Magical Christmas at the Osthoff Resort
Pamela O’Meara
The Osthoff Resort sits on Elkhart lake.
Several reindeer and St. Nicholas dressed in red velvet greet visitors at the Old World Christmas Market at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wis., an hour north of Milwaukee.
In a football-sized, heated tent, guests can check out around 100 booths of Christmas gifts ranging from cashmere and silk scarves from Turkey, red, blue and white blown glass tree ornaments from the Czech Republic, Russian nesting dolls, German cuckoo clocks and nutcrackers, imported sweaters and lace table cloths from the former East Germany to wine, chocolate, elk and deerskin gloves,fine  jewelry and pastel drawings.
Some booths offer samples such as chocolate truffles and hot mulled wine. The food court serves a German-style lunch of pumpkin soup, roast sauerbraten, spaetzle, red cabbage and apple strudel Vendors and guests come from all over for the market and other holiday festivities. I had the pleasure of attending.
Buche de Noel is made and served at the Osthoff Cooking school.
The Osthoff Resort has played host to this old world-style Christmas market event for about 15 years and hosts many other holiday events as well. The resort is dressed to the hilt with beautifully decorated Christmas trees at every turn in the hall, a 19-foot tree in the Elk Room overlooking Elkhart Lake, pine branches wrapped around stair rails, poinsettias and Christmas wreaths.
For families, there’s a chance to visit with Santa and then have breakfast at a child-sized buffet line. The next day a Christmas brunch with St. Nicholas is followed by a chance to see a reindeer with a big rack and even a camel up close. Then there are Christmas cookie decorating and ornament making workshops and a ride on old-fashioned horse-drawn hay wagon with people sitting on hay bales. Percherons named Bud and Ace pull the wagon and are gentle enough for children to pet. Two singers lead the Christmas caroling for all
Tatiana Alkata shows off one of her holiday gifts.

to join in. Hot chocolate Christmas cookies are served afterwards. Ice skating takes place in the outdoor courtyard.

The cooking school offers a class on preparing a traditional French Christmas meal with French onion soup, scallops, various breads, hash-brown-style potatoes embedded with onions and bacon pieces, beef tenderloin and a dessert of buche de noel, a rolled chocolate cake filled with chocolate frosting, surprisingly light and delicious. Additional classes are offered on bread and cookie baking for the holidays.
Mrs. Claus offers advice on decorating cookies.
With light snow falling, holiday lights all over the grounds and inside the resort, and people feeling the holiday spirit, I found the Osthoff a magical place to be just before Christmas.
Magical Christmas at the Osthoff Resort

These girls are decorating Christmas cookies.
Vildan and Nuri Kilinc from Turkey display one of their many fine scarves.
Children may see these reindeer after breakfast with Saint Nick.
This Camel stands proudly outside the St. Nicholas brunch.
A young child pets one of the horses after a hayride.
Guests climb onto a wagon for a hayride.
St. Nicholas greats guests at the Old World Christmas market.
A young girl sits with Santa.
A handmade Santa is one of the gifts at the Old World Christmas market.
Blown Glass Christmas ornaments.


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About Pam O'Meara 47 Articles
About Me Staff writer, Lillie Suburban newspapers Free-lance writer Member, Midwest Travel Writers Association I’ve been a writer for over 20 years at Lillie Suburban Newspapers in St. Paul. I’ve also done free-lance writing – for 3M business and health publications and for a running club and a speech therapy group. My special interest and focus for over a decade has been travel writing – about my trips and those of others in the United States and abroad, and I am a 10-year member of Midwest Travel Writers Association. I have a bachelor’s degree in English from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Michigan. I was an English teacher for almost three years before having kids. Life is good! Writing awards for Pam O’Meara 2015 Minnesota Newspaper Association -- Second place for columns on Selfridge’s in London, Missouri prison, mother’s death 2014 Midwest Travel writers Mark Twain – honorable mention for story on Hemingway in Pamplona, Spain 2013 MTWA – first place – recent travel sites – Fort Bragg and father 2008 MTWA – third place – newspaper story on Hawaii: the Big Island 2006—MTWA – second place – recent sites – South Korea – DMZ