So cold you can see yourself breathing. Dark at 4:30. Yup, winter’s a bastard. But here’s a few ideas on how to make the most out of the cold and the Christmas magic that is December in Vienna …
Check out our 13 tips on how to make the most out of December in Vienna:
A film festival with a unique focus: Human Rights
When: November 30 – December 10
Where: various locations, check the program, here.
This is Vienna’s 2nd largest film festival and one that comes with a plenty of powerful messages in powerful films that will have you thinking about the big wide world. This Human World presents more than 100 documentary and fictional feature films, short films, animations and experimental films dealing with human rights issues, in 11 days. Films that aim to encourage people to scrutinise and re-examine their views and raise awareness about human rights and our responsibilities as fellow humans. Don’t keep going on about how the world’s turning to shit on your Facebook feed – get educated at this fascinating festival.
Recommended if you like: trying to understand issues bigger than you, being an active and responsible world citizen, being a film fanatic, watching documentaries
Defrost your nipples with a mug of Glühwein at a Christmas market
Imagine this: you’re so cold your nipples (that have formed icicles on their tips) could poke out the eye of the person across from you, then you wrap your frozen hands around a cup of Glühwein while standing amidst the lights and smells of one of Viennese kick-ass Christmas markets (See our list for our favourite Vienna Christmas markets). Whether Punsch or Glühwein is your choice of poison, this is a must for December in Vienna.
Get your Christmas presents and guzzle some Glühwein at a pop-up store
When: Check out where the various markets will be happening, here.
Where: Various locations
From traditional, to medieval, to young and hip markets, as well as charming Christmas pop-up stores –check out our guide to help you find the fleeting shopping or Christmas market experiences happening in Vienna throughout December. There’s no way you’ll get away with just getting everybody Happy Socka again this year with this list.
Recommended if you like: draping yourself in Christmas lights, shopping for a Christmas tree, being a big kid, snorting the Christmas spirit up like it’s a white powdery substance, the smell of cinnamon and homemade chicken soup
Avoid shopping and the U-Bahn at all costs!
This one is pretty simple – Avoid the shops and the U-Bahn in December as much as you can if you want to keep your faith in the good of humanity intact. People (and tourists) in their big jackets squeezing in on the U-Bahn, waiting an hour in line in shops. Just give up already. We’re sure that’s not what the big man upstairs had in mind when he thought up Christmas.
Get Christmas-sy with Dicken’s Christmas Carol
When: Various dates between December 2–22. See details, here.
Where: Kunst im Cafe Prückel
A small English theater company will be performing the Charles Dickens classic, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ throughout December (3–22) at the Theater im Cafè Prückel. We particularly recommend going to see this play if you’ve been a selfish asshole this year like Scrooge …
Be sure to reserve your seat!
Recommended if you like: singing Christmas carols in the shower, getting in the Christmas spirit, reminding yourself what Christmas is all about, going to the theatre in your best dress
A laugh with that loveable Englishman we all know from the radio, and co
When: FRI, December 8, 7:30pm; SUN, December 17, 7:30pm; MON, December 18, 7:30pm
Where: Rabenhof Theater
You know his voice from the radio (that is if you’re one of the cool kids listening to FM4 radio station) and you might even know his cheeky smile if you’ve seen him at one of the many events he gets mixed up with – we’re talking about Sir Stuart Freeman, ladies and Gents (he’s actually not knighted or anything…we just like calling him ‘Sir’ because of that bedtime story voice of his). Mr Freeman has been known many a time to crack a funny, and he certainly knows how to work a crowd. A little standup, plenty of interaction with the audience, and some brilliant musicians ( one of them being Clara Luzia) will all be coming together at the 3 Christmas shows happening throughout the month. From those that have been to the show, the feedback is always glowing, so get on it – go see Stuey live!
Recommended if you like: being read bedtime stories, English accents, having your toes sucked during sexual intercourse, listening to Stuart Freeman on the radio, all things English, Frank Spencer in Some Mothers do ave em, Mr Bean, singer/ songwriter music, laughing so hard a little pee comes out
A winter festival in the cafe on top of the hill
When: THU, December 7, 4pm–11pm; FRI–SUN, December 8–10, 11am–11pm
Where: Cafe Cobenzl
There will be a crazy cool winter festival going on one December weekend at the cafe on the hill, Cafe & Schloss Cobenzl. Expect all the Christmas-sy vibes you can handle, music, dancing, stuff for sale, and workshops to be happening. They claim that it will be minus the kitsch, which is a good thing. And we have no doubt there will be Punsch…which will be another good thing. Anyway, there’s a creative crowd behind this cafe, so we expect good things.
Recommended if you like: being a lone ranger, sporting a moustache, tote bags, t-shirts with quirky sayings printed on them, Christmas markets without the kitsch, wearing 10 pairs of socks to keep yourself warm
A little bit of soul for Christmas
When: FRI, December 8, 10pm
Where: Rote Bar
Soul Sugar is a unique gem of a party, featuring only the best 60ies and 70ies Soul, Funk, Latin and Afro Jazz. Spread over the funky setting of the Rote bar, this hot night will feature all kinds of DJs spinning the funky beats, meanwhile, you’ll get in for cheap if you turn up in a funky outfit, fitting to the music and dance moves you’re going to be grooving too all night long (cue creepy 80s porn music).
Recommended if you like: Funk, Soul, Latin and Afro Jazz music, shirts with big collars, sporting a ‘fro, big lips, bouncing booties, being all about the love, Otis Redding, Taj Mahal
Give a child a Christmas to remember…in a shoebox!
When: SAT, December 9, 5pm
Where: Cafe Mendez
Every year around Christmas, many of us consider how we can be a little bit better at being a human being. You know… how we can help others more and be a little more compassionate. Christmas in a Shoebox is probably the simplest and most fun way to make someone happy this season. Meanwhile, you will be giving a gift to a child who grows up on much less than you probably did.
Christmas in a Shoebox is a project that sees ready made presents (packed in a shoebox) collected and sent to orphanages and under-privileged villages in Romania. This initiative is all about making sure that as many children as possible can experience the joy of unwrapping a present on Christmas Eve.
Year after year, at the initiative of the organiser, Iulia Muntean, and her friends, more and more people get involved and help with everything from preparing gifts to mobilising others to joining in on this unique project. They organise all the logistics and transport involved in getting those precious little presents to the kids in Romania. Can you imagine the smiles your personal little gift will give that little guy, or girl?!
The drill is simple: take an empty shoebox (or any box) and fill it with goodies you think would make a little guy or girl happy eg. crayons, pens or notebooks, little toys, warm clothing, or sweets. There are no rules, here! Then write on the box who it’s best suited for (boy or girl, and the approximate age). Then turn up at Cafe Mendez in the afternoon on the 9th of December, and drop off your shoe box gift.
Also good to know: there will be an after party! Make an evening of it by staying after you drop off your shoebox gift for some of the tasty drinks that are served up by the handsome crowd at Cafe Mendez. The place will be palpable with good vibes and good music.
Recommended if you like: giving, creating new Christmas traditions, making others happy without asking for anything in return, putting a smile on a stranger’s face, making the world a better place, meeting like-minded people, towers of colourful boxes, kids
Take a nap … (wait for it) … IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY!
Fuck it! Why should daytime naps be the luxury of the unemployed, the students, those wearing dark sunglasses in front of their computer at work. On one of those dark, depressing afternoons, take a daytime nap in December. You’re worth it! Even get into your pyjamas if you feel like it. There’s nothing to feel guilty about.
Why live in Vienna if you’re not going to an occasional choir concert in a famous church?
When: SAT, December 9, 6pm
Where: Otto Wagner Church in Steinhof
If you want to get extremely Christmas-sy on a particular Saturday night in December, we suggest you try something different and head to Steinhof (by car, or by taking the 48A bus) for an evening of music, peace and heavenly tunes. Even if you’re not the religious type and gave up on going to heaven a while back like us, this is a special experience. In the Steinhof park lies the famous architectural monument that is the Otto Wagner Church, set in front of a large park that in inviting for long evening walks. And what better way to end a walk, than to rest the body and the soul inside a church, while listening to the Persephone Choir sing famous Christmas carols dating back to the 16th century.
Recommended if you like: peaceful evenings, church music, Silent Night, special architecture, Christmas, Jingle Bells, choirs, leaving your district, winter evenings. visiting all kinds of religious places for the solace, singing Christmas carols
A night of world music and disco partisans
When: THU, December 14
Shantel has been around for 30 years it seems, yet he still fills up the discos in Germany, Austria and beyond! Why you ask? He has a very eclectic style of world music, strong balkan beats and always puts on a happy vibe filled show. His passion for music, inspired by everything from Reggae to Arab-Pop seems to result in timeless hits that the fans jump and sing to year after year. Good rhythm, good vibes and fun guaranteed at this show!
Recommended if you like: World music, saxophones, disco partisans, Arab-Pop, Balkan music, jumping around with a bunch of sweaty strangers, the industrial setting at WUK, dancing
Join hundreds of running Santas and Christkinds
Where: Prater Hauptallee
When: SUN, December 17, 3:30pm–11pm
The Christkind and Santa will be putting aside their differences for this charity run event happening in the Prater park in the second half of the month. Actually, there will be hundreds of them, running 5km all in the name of charity. Not only will this be a fun sight to see, but if you get involved, you can wear those skin tight red leather pants you’ve been waiting for the right occasion for, so everybody can admire you impeccable butt…oh, and you will be raising money for charity. You’ve got to register though. Do that here.
Recommended if you like: dressing up, how good you look in red…or with a beard, running, doing things for a good cause, trying something different