Home German Holidays and Festivals Advent Season in Germany German Christmas Traditions- Celebrate a German Christmas Anywhere
German Christmas Traditions- Celebrate a German Christmas Anywhere

German Christmas Traditions- Celebrate a German Christmas Anywhere


German Christmas Customs TraditionsGerman 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 das Cristkind (der Weinachtsman in other houses) 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.

Goebel Annual Edition Christmas 2016 - New items are available!

German Christmas Traditions

In my memory, the feeling of a German Christmas is more of stillness… of enjoying the time. There is less of a frantic feeling that things must happen, that presents must be bought, that decorations need to rival the neighbor’s. It’s a less-is-more feeling. Less glitz, less running around, less STUFF… more enjoying the time with family.

It’s lighting the candles on the Advent Wreath, and spending an hour or so together with cake and a coffee.
It’s enjoying an evening playing a Game or putting together a Puzzle.
It’s making your home Gemütlich and light for family and friends.

I don’t remember many of the gifts I got as a child. I do remember candles on the Sunday Breakfast table, playing a dice game with my Opa while eating cookies I baked with my mother, and friends coming to visit during Advent for cake and singing.

That’s what Christmas in Germany is about… Light in the Darkness.

I guess what I’m saying is… take a look at the list, and maybe adopt the parts you want. Do not feel like I just made your to-do list LONGER. 


Click any Image to learn more.

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

german christmas traditions

Celebrating Advent-

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.

Advent Wreaths count the four Sundays before Christmas…. Learn more about Traditional German Advent Wreaths here

traditional german advent wreath

Read more about Traditional German Advent Calendars HERE
german christmas traditions

There are a lot of different types of Advent Calendars… find your favorite!

german chocolate advent calendars

homemade advent calendar

german wooden advent calendars

playmobil advent calendar

My Kindle roundup of Advent Posts

German Advent traditions

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

german christmas traditions

St Nicholas doesn’t travel alone! But who he travels with depends on where in Germany you are from… learn more here..

st nicholass companions

Krampus lore has taken hold in America, find out more about Krampus HERE

what is krampus

Throughout Germany, Knecht Ruprecht is better known as a St Nicholas Companion than Krampus. Learn more about Knecht Ruprecht HERE

who is knecht ruprecht

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets have been a fixture in Germany for hundreds of years! Learn more about them here..

german christmas traditions

Heading to a German Christmas Market? Are you wondering what to expect? What are the best things to buy? Check out our list…

german christmas traditions


Christmas Markets in Germany have a special magic… and visiting them on a Rhine Cruise makes them even better! Learn more HERE

german christmas traditions

 christmas markets along the rhine

German Christmas Church Services

german christmas traditions

German Christmas Foods and Recipes

With a Bunte Teller, you can fill up these Plates with Cookies and Treats! Order them here

german christmas traditions

Looking for Cookies, chocolates, and all sorts of other German goodies? Check these out!

german christmas traditions

Because… a German Christmas requires German Chocolate…. it just does. Find your favorites HERE

german christmas chocolates

what is lebkuchen

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

schmidt lebkuchen tins

This Christmas Baking book is LOADED with great German Recipes .. order it here

german christmas traditions

Vanillekipferl, one of my FAVORITE Christmas Cookies is actually yummy any time of year 

vanillekipferl recipe in englishcinnamon star cookie recipe

 Don’t forget the Glühwein!german christmas traditions

Feuerzangenbowle…..Glühwein on FIRE!



 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 traditions

German Holiday Decorations

Pyramids, Nutcrackers, Smokers, Ornaments of all types!

The Authentic German decorations are made to be heirlooms… not just something you toss in a box, or replace next year. They cost more, but the quality is worth it. (Again… less is more)

German Wooden Christmas Pyramids! Light and motion! And some interesting History. Find them HERE

german christmas traditions

Straw Ornaments are beautiful decorations made of Humble ingredients. Learn more about them here

german straw christmas ornaments

Nutcrackers have been guarding German Households for years. Learn more about these nut-loving soldiers HERE

german nutcrackers

German Hand Blown Glass Ornaments are a delicate and beautiful decoration for the Christmas Tree. Learn more about their history, and find them HERE

german hand blown glass ornaments

The Steinbach company is BACK from bankruptcy!! Learn more, and find a sweet ornament here

steinbach ornaments

More than just an amusement… these smokers keep the house smelling nice, and ward off evil spirits. Learn more here

german christmas traditions

Moravian Stars are a beautiful decoration… that started as a math lesson! Learn more here

what is a moravian star

Who remembers Lametta?

german lametta

Love these German Wooden Santas… A line of them stands on my Living Room cabinet. Find some for yourself here

german christmas traditions

This little Angel Orchestra has been part of my world for years… learn more about the Wendt and Kuhn Angels here

wendt and kuhn angels

Sigh…. the Pickle… It’s not really a thing, but if it is for you, why not?

christmas pickle ornament tradition



 Christmas Memories- A German Girl in America

german christmas


german christmas in america

german and american christmas traditions


What is the Epiphany – January 6

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german christmas customs traditions