Reindeer on the Reeperbahn Hamburg XXX-Mas Market Jingles Your Bells

Everyone loves the Christmas markets in Germany. But this year, Hamburg's mile of sin at the Reeperbahn has created a slightly more salacious version. Tangas, glass dildos, and blow-up dolls are all on offer. The creatures are stirring.

By in Hamburg


It's all there. The brightly lit Christmas tree. The little booths where you can buy gifts for your loved ones. A sausage stand. A mulled wine stand. Everything you need in a Christmas market.

It doesn't take long for visitors to realize, though, that this is no ordinary Christmas market. For the first time ever, Hamburg's mile of sin, the Reeperbahn, has decided to get into the spirit of Christmas by taking part in one of the most charming of German traditions -- the Christkindlmarkt. But as one might expect from a quarter which has become the sine qua non of sin, the market is more of an XXX-mas market than a slice of German holiday magic.

After all, what other Christmas market in Germany entertains its guests with two scantily-clad angels, complete with wings, dancing on a table to techno beats served up by DJ Excel Voyage? And if you're looking for Christmas tree ornaments, you will likely be disappointed. Instead, among the couple dozen stands, there is one where you can rent water pipes. Another from a tattoo parlor. Then there's the stand with sexy tangas across from another with elegant glass dildos on display.

"The market has been a huge success," says Anja Bayer, 40, who was helping customers choose from the various sex toys on display at her booth on Wednesday evening. "It was totally full on the first weekend. And people bought all kinds of stuff for Nikolaus (Dec. 6) and now for Christmas. Not so much the dildos, but the massage oils and the vibrating cock rings have been very popular."

The market, located on Spielbudenplatz just across the street from the Condomeria on the Reeperbahn and near the Operettenhaus -- now playing the Abba Musical "Mamma Mia" -- is open until midnight during the week and 1 a.m. on the weekends. The mini-sled track opened on Thursday and the large stage at one end of the market will host music and cabaret acts all the way up to the 23rd, including "Southern Comfort X-mas Karaoke" on Friday evening.

But it's the other stage which has proven to be most popular. Behind a curtain of Christmas trees, past Santa Claus -- hired by the market organizers to help keep the young and innocent away from the adult section of the market -- is the over 18 section. The world's first high-resolution, XXX, 3-D porn flick premiered here earlier in the week. More eroticism is to come, in a small tent erected next to a stand selling blow-up dolls, penis pasta and other thoughtful gift ideas.

"We wanted to create a market which reflects the neighborhood of St. Pauli -- to make it a typical St. Pauli experience," says Jochen Bohnsack, event manager for the square where the market is taking place. "We wanted to be completely different from other Christmas markets."

Bohnsack says he has been pleasantly surprised by the success of the market so far. They only had just over six weeks to organize it and are hoping for a much bigger one next year. There has, though, been some criticism. Some find it in poor taste. Some feel it is too commercial.

But by far the most common criticism, says Bohnsack, has been that there isn't enough sex at the market. The media, he said, focused almost entirely on the erotic element and visitors had expected more.

That seems borne out by the popularity of the adult corner. An early-evening rain storm kept many away on Wednesday evening. But behind the pine-tree curtain, business was booming. "I don't really know how things are going outside," said the friendly, young woman at the counter. "But back here, it is going really well."

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