It’s an early Wednesday afternoon in George Square, and someone is shouting at their friend to convince them that they do want a mulled wine, that it’s not “too spicy” and just “tastes like ginger wine".

It can only mean one thing - it’s the week before Christmas and the centre of town has been taken over by the festive markets.

They have become a symbol of Christmas in Glasgow over years, with an annual trip for a German sausage and a shot on the big wheel now part of many people’s festive calendars. 

Dani Garavelli’s column in the Herald on Sunday arguing the markets had stolen the magic of Christmas in the city in the pursuit of profit sparked debate among readers. 

Most of the people I find browsing the various stalls selling ‘pick n mix’ sweets and Christmas tree baubles are not actually from Glasgow.

The lack of Glaswegians may be to do with the time of day, but most of those I speak to come from smaller places in Scotland where the town centres are not taken over by similar odes to Christmas. Noel Gallagher was also the reason behind a few groups’ visits, who were enjoying a dander round the market before his Hydro gig. 

Read more: Magic has been lost in the pursuit of profit at George Square

Thomas, Conor and James, a group of 19-year-olds from Dundee were impressed with what Glasgow’s market had to offer. The trio were down to visit their friend Ryan who is studying Mechanical Engineering at Glasgow University, and the Christmas market was near the top of their Glasgow itinerary. 

“There’s nothing in Dundee for Christmas really, it’s poor compared to this. I think it brings people to Glasgow. It’s something nice and seasonal to do. Where Christmas becomes commercialised is when you see things for it in Tesco in September,” said James. 

Mark and Elaine Wheeler from Buckie, near Aberdeen, were some of the crowd whose visit to the market was thanks to the former Oasis frontman. They usually enjoy a festive day out with the family in Aberdeen every December, but Mark tells me he read that the Granite City’s market was voted amongst the worst in the UK this year. 

They are enjoying the Glasgow market, but it’s not long before the price of the day out comes up. Pointing at the ride known as the Blizzard, an attraction so tall its tip is visible some distance from the square, which lifts its victims up 180 degrees for a view over Glasgow and spinning them upside down. 

A ride on the blizzard will set you back £9, which Elaine feels is a bit much considering “it takes more time to load the ride up than it does to go round”. 

“It’s a once a year thing though, so I don’t begrudge it. This is what Christmas is now. There are no traditional values in it anymore. But we enjoy a Christmas market so it is what it is,” says Elaine.

Christmas markets are an over commercialisation, say Ian and Elizabeth Morrison, a retired couple from Haddington in East Lothian. Although they are much closer to Scotland’s biggest winter wonderland in Edinburgh, they have come west for the day to see Glasgow’s Christmas lights and are “quite impressed”. 

“Maybe we are a bit old fashioned, but in our time it was different, the emphasis was on what Christmas was about. The emphasis here is on people trying to sell you stuff,” says Ian.

Selling stuff is one of the universal features of Christmas markets. But Ralph Johnson, who lives in the south of France, this is more apparent at the Glasgow market than others he has visited abroad. 

Originally from Sunderland, Ralph, who lived in Glasgow for 12 years and now lives near Carcassonne in France, observed that the big Christmas markets in France like the one in Toulouse are more authentic and use the occasion as a chance to put a greater emphasis on promoting local products.

This is where he thinks Glasgow is missing a trick. “You could put this market anywhere and you wouldn’t know the difference. There’s nothing especially Scottish about it or unique to Glasgow,” he says looking around.

For most people I spoke to though, the market had become part of Christmas, a festive activity that just had to be done. 

“Commercialisation at Christmas is elsewhere, not here. This is just a nice time,” said Christine Hoffin from Ayrshire.