German Christmas customs traditions and practices can be celebrated here in America. There really is something special about this time of year that makes me look back to my childhood. The candle light, the smell of chocolate and cookies, the wonder of the Christmas Tree.
German Christmas Eve Tradition
There was a special feeling on Christmas Eve. We would come in from Church Services, and we girls would have to wait outside while my parents went to see if der Weinachtsman (Santa) had arrived. Then we would be brought in to the living room, the only lights would come from the Christmas Tree and candles that were lit around the room. Under the tree were presents. The pyramids would be spinning. My father would have put German Christmas music on the record player, and we would all sing. My sister and I would be vibrating just a bit with anticipation.
Finally, we would sing “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht“, and as the song ended, there was a moment of calm. We would all kiss and wish each other a Frohe Weinachten… and then there were presents, warm drinks, treats and laughter.
I try to carry on this tradition for my kids. It’s not always easy, being so different from what their friends are doing. But, I want them to have that same feeling of wonder. Of being led into a candle-lit room… of singing… of being together.
German Holidays Traditions For Your Home
Traditional German Christmas Recipes for Cookies and Treats can be made and served. Homes are adorned with traditional Christmas Decorations like Wooden Angels, Hand Carved Santas, Pyramids that Spin with lit Candles, Glass Ornaments, Advent Wreaths, Nutcrackers and Smokers. Ornaments might be simple or elaborate… but often they are hand made, and are destined to become family heirlooms, passed from generation to generation.
Other decorations for a German Household might include embroidered Tablecloths, Table Toppers and special Holiday Dishes. Windows are hung with Fenster Bilder (window pictures), or glass balls. Electric Candles are placed on Windowsills to welcome people in from the Darkness.
Because that’s what Christmas in Germany is about… Light in the Darkness.
German Christmas Traditions
Advent is the time leading up to Christmas. An Advent Wreath counts the four Sundays before Christmas, while an Advent Calendar counts down the days in December …up to Christmas Eve. In Germany, Advent is a special time… a time to prepare for Christmas.
There are a lot of different types of Advent Calendars… find your favorite!
Beautiful Wooden Advent Calendars can Be Used Every Year
Advent Wreaths count the four Sundays before Christmas…. in 2017, the 4th Advent and Christmas Eve overlap.
Learn more about Traditional German Advent Wreaths here
St Nicholas Day
St Nicholas Day, on Dec 6th, is the day when St Nicholas brings good children treats in their shoes. Learn more about the tradition of St Nicholas… and how he became Santa Claus Here
St Nicholas doesn’t travel alone! But who he travels with depends on where in Germany you are from… learn more here..
Krampus lore has taken hold in America, find out more about Krampus HERE
Throughout Germany, Knecht Ruprecht is better known as a St Nicholas Companion than Krampus. Learn more about Knecht Ruprecht HERE
German Christmas Traditions for Children
Christmas is extra special for kids. This doesn’t mean it has to be about presents and money… it also means time spent together. Here are some Traditions for kids that you can work into your Christmas celebrations. Click through to learn more Here
Christmas Markets have been a fixture in Germany for hundreds of years! Learn more about them here..
Heading to a German Christmas Market? Are you wondering what to expect? What are the best things to buy? Check out our list…
Christmas Markets in Germany have a special magic… and visiting them on a Rhine Cruise makes them even better! Learn more HERE
Once you get to a Christmas Market, it can be overwhelming! Check this list of some of the special things to look for here.
German Christmas Foods and Recipes
Looking for Cookies, chocolates, and all sorts of other German goodies? Check these out!
Because… a German Christmas requires German Chocolate…. it just does. Find your favorites HERE
I love the Schmidt Tins… not only do you get delicious cookies, you get a collectible tin! They make great gifts for anyone on your list… find them here
This Christmas Baking book is LOADED with great German Recipes .. order it here
With a Bunte Teller, you can fill up these Plates with Cookies and Treats! Order them here
German Christmas Music
Looking for Cds? Maybe you want to download the words of your favorite songs? Or you need a songbook for the family… find them HERE
German Christmas Church Services
German Holiday Decorations
Pyramids, Nutcrackers, Smokers, Ornaments of all types!
German Wooden Christmas Pyramids! Light and motion! And some interesting History. Find them HERE
Straw Ornaments are beautiful decorations made of Humble ingredients. Learn more about them here
Nutcrackers have been guarding German Households for years. Learn more about these nut-loving soldiers HERE
German Hand Blown Glass Ornaments are a delicate and beautiful decoration for the Christmas Tree. Learn more about their history, and find them HERE
Steinbach sadly declared bankruptcy. Learn about the company, and find some ornaments here
More than just an amusement… these smokers keep the house smelling nice, and ward off evil spirits. Learn more here
Moravian Stars are a beautiful decoration… that started as a math lesson! Learn more here
Love these German Wooden Santas… A line of them stands on my Living Room cabinet. Find some for yourself here
This little Angel Orchestra has been part of my world for years… learn more about the Wendt and Kuhn Angels here
Christmas Memories- A German Girl in America
What is the Epiphany – January 6
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