St Nicholas’s Companions- Knecht Ruprecht, Krampus,

On the evening of December 5th, children all over Germany leave their cleaned shoes outside the door for St Nicholas to fill with treats. While St Nicholas may be the same,  Saint Nicholas’s companions change depending where you are in Germany. Krampus, Knecht Ruprecht, Schwarzer Peter… even Mutter Hulla! Here is a brief explanation of each of the companions as…

Story Book Advent Calendar – Count Down to Christmas with Stories

  While this idea is not “Typisch Deutsch” (typical German) it’s something I did for years while my kids were small, and I thought it might be nice to pass along my idea for a Story Book Christmas Advent Calendar. Years ago I got a great idea for all the Christmas Story Books in our house! I decided to box them all up…

German Christmas Traditions- Celebrate a German Christmas Anywhere

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. In my memory, the feeling of a German Christmas is more of stillness… of enjoying…

St Barbara’s Day Dec. 4th- Miner’s and Cherry Blossoms

  On December 4th, some Germans remember St. Barbara by placing a branch with buds in water. But what is St.Barbara’s Branch? And who is St Barbara? The Patron Saint of miners and explosives, she is still celebrated in Catholic areas, especially in the coal mining regions of Poland that were once Silesia. Who is St. Barbara? St Barbara was…

The German St Nicholas Tradition- What is St Nicholas Day?

My American friends will sometimes ask me What is St Nicholas Day? St. Nicholas (also spelled Nikolas and Nikolaus) is the Patron Saint of Children, and his Feast Day is celebrated on December 6th.  The German St Nicholas Tradition is still very strong. Children put out their shoes, hoping they will be filled with goodies and presents. Ach, du lieber…

Traditional German Advent Wreath – Count the Sundays before Christmas

The Advent Calendar isn’t the only way to mark the time before Christmas, in our home we always had a Traditional German Advent Wreath.  My mother would bring it out for the first Sunday of Advent, and the Holiday Season would officially begin in our home. I couldn’t understand why other (non-German) houses I visited didn’t have them… but then,…

Traditional German Advent Calendars- Count the Days to Christmas!

Having a Traditional German Advent Calendar to count down the days to Christmas was as normal to me as breathing or putting on House Shoes…. It is just something we had in our home. Some years they were quite simple… a double thick cardboard printed with Christmas scenes, and pictures behind each door. Other years they were more elaborate, and we…

Advent – Celebrate German Holiday Traditions in America

    Advent – Celebrating German Holiday Traditions in America: Celebrating German Holiday Traditions in America I grew up in a German household in Southern California celebrating German traditions like Advent. We spoke German in the home, my parents had German friends that were like family (we addressed them as Tante and Onkel), and they had kids who lived in…

Christmas Markets Along the Rhine- Cruise the Rhine in December

There is something magical about a German Christmas Market Holiday, especially along the Rhine River. The smell of Gingerbread, grilling Sausages and roasting Chestnuts fills the air…. you hear musicians playing Christmas Carols…. rows of booths sell hand made wooden toys, blown glass German Christmas Ornaments, candles, pewter mugs, and Advent Wreaths….. singers and performers take the stage with special Christmas…

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