German Christmas Traditions might be observed in your homes, whether or not your family is of German descent. Many families partake in at least one of these traditions, in the form of Advent Calendars…those numbered calendars hiding pieces of chocolate, or small toys.
What really struck me though, was that in addition to advent calendars, the Germans also have an Advent Wreath. This wreath is set out on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and is adorned with four candles, berries, and pinecones. Each night the family will gather around it, and spend an hour together as a family. Each Sunday another candle is lit until all candles are shining brightly. Some families will use this wreath as a sort of placeholder until the family tree is unveiled on Christmas Eve.
Speaking of the Christmas Tree, A traditional German Christmas tree requires traditional handmade German Christmas Decorations. These are ornaments that are handmade of wood, glass, or pewter, and they are beautiful! Now, some might be asking about the “German Christmas Pickle” this however has never been substantiated by those actually living in Germany, but it is still a fun tradition that my family partakes in.
Some of the decorations remind me of Hummels, a collection that my Grandmother took painstaking care of, and are also made in Germany.
One of the interesting German Christmas Traditions that I really love, is that of St. Nicholas Day. While here in the US, we celebrate with Santa coming on Christmas Eve and open gifts on Christmas morning, it is not this way in Germany. St. Nicholas Day happens on December 5th, with the children placing a pair of polished boots in front of their bedroom door, hoping St. Nicholas will deliver them a gift; and in Germany, he still delivers coal to those on his naughty list!
Another tradition that those of us in the US are coming to enjoy, is the yearly German Winter Market. In my area, it is the Texas Christkindl Market, and it is spectacular, though I am sure it doesn’t hold a candle to a Christmas Market in Germany. Still, there is fun, food, and shopping, and is a fun time for all.