Wednesday, December 22, 2010


    Christmas begins early in Germany with the season of advent.  Starting 4 weeks before the big day, a wreath made of fir tree branches, or holly or other greens, is laid on a table.  There are 4 candles placed around the wreath and one is lit each Sunday of Advent.  A little bit about Advent, since it is an important part of the season.  It begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas Day, the Sunday nearest November 30th, and ends on Christmas Eve.  If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the 4th Sunday of Advent.  Advent is a time of fasting and prayer, leading up to the Christmas Eve feast.  There is a special tradition for children during Advent, too.  It is the Advent calender.  It is made up of 24 windows, one to be opened each day of Advent.  In most of the Advent calendars, there is a picture to be revealed each day, but the more elaborate ones can hide little presents or candy treats.
    The market places throughout Germany turn into Wonderlands.  The entire area is decorated with lights and trees, the stalls sell all kinds of merchandise and there is the smell of fresh baked gingerbread mixed with the smells of the delicious sausage and other treats.  It really gets you in the Christmas mood and the children are excited at the thought of the events to come.

   The Christmas tree, although it goes back many centuries, was transformed in Germany to what we have today.  In Germany, it is the centerpiece of the Christmas celebrations.  Germany is famous for the beautiful glass ornaments that are made by many different artisans.  The tree is also decorated with cookies, candies and other treats and of course,  the Christmas lights.  It is tradition not to get the tree before December 23rd.  On Christmas Eve, the tree is put up, usually by the mother of the family, and the children cannot see the tree until it is ready and the presents are there.  The very young children are put to bed, and then woken up at midnight and allowed to see the tree and open their presents.  The presents on Christmas Eve are brought by Christkindl, an angel sent by God to deliver the presents.  This is the second day children get presents, they also receive small gifts on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day, when they leave shoes or boots by the fireplace or at the foot of their beds for St. Nicholas to fill with small toys and treats.  The tree is left up until January 6th.  On Three Kings Day,  the children get another treat.  After all,  the cookies and other treats that were on the tree cannot be saved until next year and nothing should be wasted, so they might as well eat them.


   The big meal is eaten on Christmas Eve and the main course includes goose.  A typical meal will consist of  roast goose, potatoes, cabbage, red or white carrots, parsnip and pickles.  And of course there are the home baked treats for dessert.
   Christmas day is spent visiting, maybe with another dinner at the grandparents or some other relatives house.  Of course there are more presents.  Both December 25th and December 26th are holidays in Germany.  Alot of time for visiting with friends and family.


  1. Sinan (altinok@ada.net.tr)November 14, 2012 at 6:48 AM

    We are really looking for a perfect town to spend a few nights in Christmas time in Germany. I found your blog and loved to read. Especially, second and third pictures from above cought my eyes and would love to learn where they are. Would you like to advise a few places like these? Thanks a lot! Sinan

  2. That's in Frankfurt, in the Old Town part.

  3. Nuremberg is famous for its Christmas Market, and Rothenburg is always a wonderful medieval town to visit year-round. Check out this site about Nuremberg's famous Christmas Market: