Christmas in Germany is by far the best time of year for Germans. There are all the preparations for Christmas Day, the Christmas markets and, of course, German sweet treats such as German Christmas punch and German Christmas biscuits to get everyone into the festive mood. The Christmas countdown begins in December and children will open a door on their Christmas calendar or a little bag every day, hiding chocolate or other small items, until the big day arrives.
The German typically decorate their homes with all kinds of Christmas decorations including the nativity scene with the individual figures, Christmas pyramids, lots of tinsel, Christmas lights and nutcrackers.
Advent celebrations in Germany
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on the fourth Sunday of the month. During this time everyone is slowly preparing for Christmas. Families and friends get together to bake a variety of delicious German Christmas biscuits and gingerbread. Some people even go that extra mile for the festive season and bake a delicious gingerbread house decorated with frosting.
It is very typical in Germany to light a candle on the Advent Wreath (evergreen wreath with 4 candles) every Sunday leading up to Christmas. The whole family will get together during this celebration and drink German Christmas punch accompanied by delicious biscuits, gingerbread and stollen (German Christmas fruitcake). They also take the opportunity to read Christmas stories to children. Finally, during Advent in Germany, families will buy a Christmas tree and leave it outside until Christmas Day in Germany. Then they traditionally decorate it and put the Christmas tree up for Christmas Day only.
German Christmas Markets
German Christmas markets come in all shapes and sizes. They can be your traditional Christmas market, a medieval Christmas market or a castle Christmas market. Either way, all the German Christmas markets put visitors into the festive spirit with their festively decorated stalls with pine boughs, Christmas trees and sparkling Christmas lights. These small stands, mostly in the form of a log cabin, sell Christmas decorations, jewellery, nativity figures and German sweet treats such as delicious chocolate covered with fruit!
Also very popular in German Christmas Markets are roasted chestnuts, German sausage in a bread roll, potato dumplings with sauerkraut, and more sweet treats such as toffee apples or roasted almonds. To warm up Christmas market-goers there are also hot drinks such as mulled wine, hot chocolate with rum, hot Christmas Caipirinhas and German Christmas punch, amongst others.
Wonderful music is played throughout German Christmas Markets and sometimes there is an ice rink or Christmas carousel, depending on the size of the market.
Santa Nicholas in Germany
In Germany, Saint Nicholas comes every 6th of December (Saint Nicholas Day). The night before, children traditionally leave their clean boots outside the door.
Santa Nicholas (not to be confused with Santa Claus) then passes by and leaves them a little present inside such as sweets, tangerines and nuts. Saint Nicholas is often accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht (Farmhand Rupert) who punishes naughty children with his staff.
In Germany, similarly to everywhere across the world, the Christmas season is a very special time of year. Only at Christmas can people enjoy such extraordinary things which make it a uniquely beautiful and magical time. Fröhliche Weihnachten!