In the same week that Angus T. Jones spewed hate at his own television show, "Two and a Half Men," Hostess execs asked for bonuses (despite the company being in liquidation), and an NYPD cop bought a homeless man winter boots, Christmas markets opened throughout Europe to truly remind us of the season.
Christmas markets are practically a European birthright. The markets, some of which go back to the 14th century, generally open towards the end of November, at the beginning of the four weeks of Advent.
This year, as always, markets opened their doors in cities like Strasbourg, Erfurt, Berlin and Dresden, among others. Dresden, it should be noted, has Germany's oldest Christmas market, dating back to 1434.
Millions of tourists and locals descend on the markets across Europe every year, the AP reported in 2011. As is often the case with tourist attractions, don't expect bargains at the markets -- many of the goods are handmade and can be pricey (and vendors often don't accept credit cards, according to the AP, so be prepared to bring cash.)