first date

In the age of dating by personal convenience, it’s easy to forget that love needs the right atmosphere to grow. Because we’re so busy cramming first date into coffee shops and lunch hours, it’s too easy to blame our lack of dating success on not finding the right person, instead of not being in the right space to allow the lightning bolts of mutual attraction to strike.

Rather than being stuck sat opposite one other for a coffee or meal, I always suggest going for a walk, doing an activity or seeing something together, makes for a far better first date. It takes the pressure and awkwardness out of the situation and makes it easier to keep the conversation flowing naturally, thanks to all of the cool things happening around you. A stroll through a Christmas Market combines all of the elements that make for an easygoing first date, and adds a little festive fun into the mix too.

Quite by accident, a date and I once stumbled into Edinburgh’s European Christmas Market during a walk through the downtown several years back. It didn’t take long for the lights, sounds and mulled wine to kick in and for a giddy sense of Christmas spirit to take over. It was the perfect start to our relationship and as far as first dates go, it was an instant classic.

From that day forth, I began blending my dating agenda with these festive pop-ups at every opportunity, and I’ve never looked back. Having now had many seasons of markets to reflect upon (because I’m really nerdy that way) I’ve often wondered exactly what it is about Christmas Markets that make them so damn good for dates.

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In keeping with the seasonal spirit of giving, I’m delighted to share my analysis with you. Here’s a breakdown of the 7 reasons why Christmas Markets make such awesome first dates.

1. It’s original

Suggesting a Christmas Market for your first date, instead of the typical coffee shop or wine bar option, shows your imagination and creativity. It’s not an obvious first date choice, so you’ll stand out for being different, in a good way. Sharing a memorable experience like this is always helpful and it will give you both a great first date story to share with your dinner guests for years to come.

2. It’s fun thing to do

You can have a really good laugh at a Christmas market; trying on stupid-looking hats, garish sweaters and reindeer horn headgear. There are priceless couple selfie opportunities everywhere. This is your moment to get caught up in the Christmas spirit and let your hair down.

3. Your surroundings stimulate conversation

Even for the meanest and greenest of Grinches, it’s hard not to get excited by the atmosphere of a good old Christmas Market. The lights, colors, sounds and delicious roasted chestnut and hot chocolate aromas are spell-binding. There’s so much to see and do, you’ll never be short of a conversation topic to jump to. As a bonus, the setting naturally leads to one of my favourite first date questions of all time, “What’s the best gift you’ve ever given someone?” Followed by “And the best gift you’ve ever received?”

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4. You can be yourselves, naturally

As you get into the festive spirit, you’ll see yourselves having fun, relaxing and enjoying your surroundings. You’ll get a better look into how you might naturally interact as a couple. This is vastly different from the typical first date format, where you’re sat opposite one another, in a forced conversation for 45 minutes, grasping at straws for what to say next. This will help you both feel more relaxed and comfortable around each other too.

5. You can be productive

If you haven’t already completed your Christmas shopping (who really has?), you can use this precious time to multi-task and pick up a few perfect stocking fillers for your loved ones. Just be careful to not let your Christmas shopping become the sole focus of your date.

6. You can show off your most attractive qualities

Instead of telling your date how kind and generous you are (not that you ever would) you can actually SHOW them your kindness and generosity firsthand. Be sure to pick up the tab, tip well and treat everyone around you with warmth and courtesy.  You can also demonstrate your genuine thoughtfulness by splurging on some perfectly personalized gifts for your nearest and dearest.

7. There’s lots to eat and drink

If you’re hungry or thirsty, you can sustain yourselves on the go, without spending the time, effort or coin on a sit down meal. Hot chocolate, hot snacks and mulled wine will keep you both, and your conversation, nicely energised.

Unless you’re born to the house of Grinch or Scrooge, what’s not to love about a Christmas Market first date? It’s a far better date experience than hoping that love at first sight will somehow strike you over a soy latte at Starbucks.

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You’ll no doubt find a decent Christmas Market in your nearest metropolis. Be warned though that these places get extremely busy at peak times, so plan your visit for later in the evenings or on weeknights, after the shrieking children and their frenetic parents have been tucked in for the night.

Don’t let the moment for a perfect first date pass you by. Christmas Markets aren’t around for long, so get cracking!

Got any other festive or personal favourite date ideas? Share them in the comments below!

Rick is a new-school romantic and dating strategist. For over a decade he’s trained nice guys in the art and science of attracting awesome women. His approach helps men uncover their most attractive qualities, and to build their confidence and dating skills with women.

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