Many of our Most Loved Christmas Traditions Originated in Germany.
With centuries of history behind them, there are many traditions when it comes to Christmas in Germany. The first major celebration when it comes to Christmas (when children open their stockings) happens on December 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra (Sankt Nikolaus Tag), an early Christian bishop who was known for his gift-giving. Then, Christmas Eve marks the major celebrations for many Germans, when they get together to exchange gifts, decorate the tree, go to church, and more. Looking to celebrate a German Christmas this year? Check out how you can below!
What is Santa called?
In Germany, Santa is Sankt Nikolaus or Saint Nicholas. He is also referred to as Weinachtsmann (“Christmas Man”).
What is eaten?
The German Christmas table is usually centered around rabbit, goose, or duck. These meats are served with a variety of sides, including apple stuffing and cabbage dishes. The most famous dish on a German Christmas table, however, is the dessert, stollen. A bread made with dried and/or candied fruit, nuts, and spices, stollen is also usually dusted in powdered sugar or coated in icing and hails from Saxony.
What is drunk?
One of the most popular Christmas beverages — especially at German Christmas markets — is Glühwein (“glow wine”), which is a hot, mulled wine beverage. Red wine is typically used, though you can also find white or rosé Glühweins. As with any German tradition, beer is also consumed around Christmas.
What is gifted?
Traditionally, nutcrackers are an incredibly popular Christmas gift. These can be found in many varieties at German Christmas markets across the country and are both useful and artistically beautiful. Another common, yet traditional, German Christmas gift is an incense smoker, which helps fill homes with amazing smells throughout the holidays.
Are there special decorations?
Many German families decorate their dining table with an Advent wreath (Adventskranz), replete with four candles (for the four weeks of Advent), flowers, berries, and pinecones.
What’s on the Christmas playlist?
There are many traditional German Christmas songs to choose from. “O Tannenbaum” (“O Christmas Tree), “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night”), and “Morgen Kommt der Weinachtsmann” (“Tomorrow Santa’s Coming”) are all popular Christmas tunes, though many popular Christmas songs also have German translations.