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Memories of Christmas in Germany, A Trip to the City

Memories of Christmas in Germany, A Trip to the City




(Occasionally, we are blessed here at German Girl to have a guest post tell a story of life in Germany… either from the past, or current. Gisela Mangus has shared a lovely story about what Christmas was like right after the War. If you have a story to share… please email me at [email protected])

Kaufhaus Schaufenster

Memories of Christmas in Germany by Gisele Mangus

Right at the end of the war and there after, mom would take me on the streetcar in to town, Darmstadt. A few of the big stores, Henschel Ropertz, Kaufhof, Kaufhalle started to get back in to the spirit of Christmas bringing some light back into our grey daily existence. How wonderful it was to walk and marvel at the decorated Christmas window displays. They were made for a child’s heart and eyes, filling the soul with the memories which are alive today.

Schaufenster in Heidenheim

Each window was themed differently, for girls or boys. The electric train set ups, with cars and trucks and houses that had little boys nose prints all over the glass. Other windows for us girls with dolls and doll houses, carriages, kitchens and whatever a little girl could dream of. I remember one especially, it had clouds hanging covered with cotton and each cloud had a different doll sitting on it, oh that picture is very well preserved in my heart. And yet strangely enough, I would never ever ask or wish for any of those things , the gift of going and seeing was all that mattered.

Christmas Eve would come and the Christmas Child would bring my doll rooms from the years before, for me to play with as my mother had when she was little. My doll would have a new outfit made with love by my mom.  I still have that doll today wearing a dress mom made for her. I was allowed to use cookies to “cook” for my doll on the wood burning stove in the living room and then have dinner with my doll. Those were simple days, where mom would protect me from all the evil that went on in the world and for me, it was my world in which I grew up happy with the few things I had never wishing for anything else.

Gisela MangusThis being said as I can walk around my house and gaze on many of the things from that time and have the warmth of Christmas fill me, I wish all of you a merry Christmas have love and joy be your companion in the new year, and never forget, but share and tell your children. I am sharing now with my great grand children.


Thank you again, wiedermal Vielen, vielen Dank Gisela! Und Frohe Weinachten.



  1. Your story is ironic as my mom was from Darmstadt. Many little things I remember her telling me. The war years were bleak, but she did get to play with a doll house for 2 days. At Christmas time, hard as the time was, they had each other and love.

      1. Yes, there is NOTHING in the world like Christmas in Germany. I grew up in Heilbronn in the early fifties and sixties. I was raised by my Oma and Opa. My favorite time of the year was of course Christmas time. Christmas season would start with Advent and lighting the candles every Sunday. We would sit around the table and sing carols and drink hot chocolate and eat some of the cookies Oma was in the process of baking for Christmas. St. Nicholaus would stop by on the night of Dec. 6th and fill our shoes with goodies. Usually it was candy, oranges and nuts etc. Sometimes it would also include a ”rute” a tree switch, because nobody is good ALL the time. Usually we would have our first snow around Christmas . You could tell it had snowed in the night before you even got out of bed because everything sounded muffled outside. Our tree was always put up by Oma on Heiligabend, while Opa took us downtown to look at all the decorated windows. After we got home a bell would ring to let us know that the Christkind had been there. We would open the door to see the tree all decorated and lit by real candles. I always asked for books on Christmas even as a young child. I would receive those along with getting my doll back with brand new clothes made by my Oma. I have so many memories of Christmas back home and it seems like the older I get the more I miss it. I’ve been in northern Ca. since 1973 and it’s just never felt like Christmas to me


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