The Christmas holiday in Germany is one of the most revered holidays in the country as a majority of the population usually celebrate the tradition. Germans usually characterize the holiday by singing, dancing, drinking, feasting, and all kinds of celebrations. In this guide, we will detail all the diverse Christmas time events in Germany to prepare you for an unforgettable trip!

Some Facts About Germany 

Christmas market in Hamburg.

The weather in Germany usually ranges from 28 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. While snow is not very common during this period, you will find that some of the towns at higher elevations usually experience snow.

Germans maintain unique customs and traditions that are going to provide you with an awesome experience. The charming and friendly people in the region will ensure that you get the best experience possible. In Germany, you are going to find some of the most exceptional Christmas markets on the planet.

Whether you are visiting Germany for the first time or you are a returning visitor, you will have an impeccable time there. Germans are known for their rich culture and traditions, which are usually proclaimed across the country. 

German people celebrate Christmas in the western way and you will find a mixture of the western culture and the traditional Christmas traditions and customs. 

They believe in Santa Claus and St. Nicholas, therefore you are going to see some of the most common Western traditions in the region. German Santa is a big bearded man dressed in red and reindeer usually pulls him. The children are excited because they widely believe that Santa will bring them presents. So, they are going to have an exceptional time during Christmas. 

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It is therefore essential that you know what to expect during your trip to Germany during the festive season. Well, our guide will help you out with that!

Advent calendar

Perhaps this is one of the most fundamental traditions in the German Christmas calendar. The advent calendar is usually an important part of the tradition because it indicates the beginning of Christmas in the country.

Four weeks before Christmas, Germans usually enjoy counting the days to Christmas. During this time, they usually make the advent calendar on different days, and there are calendars for children and adults as well. In most parts of the country, families usually decorate the advent wreath with four red candles.

The color of the candles usually varies depending on the country that you visit. In some European countries, they are usually pink and some are red.

However, in Germany, you can see they are red. When you visit Germany, you will see that one candle is lit every week throughout the period until the last one is lit on the Sunday before Christmas day.

Further reading: Christmas in Lithuania

They usually fill the advent calendars with chocolates and sweets. Germans are going to enjoy the treats, and that is the fun associated with the advent tradition in Germany. The first door is open on 1st December and the biggest door is open on the 24th of December.

St. Nicholas

One of the most important traditions in Germany is St. Nicholas Day. It is an exceptional day that you should participate in. This day is commonly called Nikolaustag, and it is common in different parts of the country. 

St. Nicholas wears a hat and a red coat as well as a white beard. He disguises as a family friend. People believe that he usually comes with his helper, Knecht Ruprecht. This is a helper to St. Nicholas and they come to different German homes to give gifts to young children who behaved well during the year.

However, the children who misbehaved in the previous year get twigs and sticks by St. Nicholas’s helper for their inappropriate behavior. 

Children often recite Christmas poems and other common traditions around the country during this period. In some places across the country, the children will put socks or stockings outside for St. Nicholas to put presents in them. 

Christmas Pyramids in Germany

This is a common tradition in Germany, where they display a traditional wooden Christmas pyramid in their living room. The pyramid is an important part of the Christmas tradition.

It has a little carousel with a nativity scene and little angles as it stands at several levels which can spin. When the carousel spins, it usually lights up the place because it has smaller candles. These candles bring the Christmas vibe and lighting to the house. 

The tradition of using the Christmas pyramids dates back to the era of the Germans in the Ore Mountains. It is something that has been in the region since the Middle Ages. Actually; it is an older tradition than the decoration of the Christmas trees.

Further reading: Christmas in Iceland

Nativity scenes

In Germany, during the festive season, you will find nativity scenes around the country. In many homes, this tradition is very common. Some of the other places where you can find the nativity scenes are the churches and cathedrals around the country. 

In addition, you will find them in the markets around the country during the Christmas period.

There are places as well where the nativity scene is displayed with a crib filled with straws. This tradition comes from Italy and now you can find it in different countries across the world.

Further reading: Christmas in Liechtenstein

Christmas tree in Germany

Perhaps one of the fundamental things that you will find in Germany during your visit is the Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree is often brought on the 24th of December and the younger children in the house participate in the decoration of the Christmas tree. 

In most parts of the country, the Germans will use real, fresh-cut pine or fir trees. This can be common in different regions where they can get it from the bush or purchase from the local vendors. 

Germans usually decorate the Christmas gardens and houses with Christmas lights throughout the festive period. You can feel the true Christmas spirit in Germany because of that.

On Christmas Eve, people usually eat little food because it is a fasting day. The festive celebrations usually start in the afternoon when the children are back from the local church masses. After the mass, family members usually gather and celebrate the Christmas tradition and feast.

Christmas Gifts in Germany

Christmas gifts are an important tradition in Germany.

According to the German tradition, Christkind places wrapped parcels and gifts under the Christmas tree. In most cases, the children cannot enter the living room during this period. Once the kids are called to the room, they will find their gifts under the Christmas tree, and it is one of the most fun occasions in the Christmas period. 

While opening their Christmas gifts in the evening, the children will sing Christmas carols and recite Christmas poems, which are far more common in the country. The family will often consume a traditional dish called Christmas stollen as well.

Further reading: Christmas in Austria

Christmas Day in Germany

On the 25th of December, many people across Germany will kick in their Christmas spirit. You will find people celebrating all over the country.

It is a perfect time to enjoy the food and drinks that are served during this period. Family members and friends usually converge for this occasion. During this time, Germans bond as they enjoy storytelling, singing, eating, drinking, and other festivities. 

During the festive season, many cities and villages around the country open their Christmas markets full of tasty products.

Further reading: Christmas in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Krampus Nacht

Krampus night is a practice in different parts of Germany, especially in southern Bavaria. Bavarian people usually celebrate St. Nicholas’ day in a different version.

Muscular men will dress in demonic costumes, furry coats, and devilish masks and they will then move from one house to another. They play an important role because they usually bang into the houses when they are invited by the hosts.

The primary aim of Krampus is to frighten the children into good behavior. Then, they will give presents to the children who behaved well during the previous year. 

Traditional Christmas Foods in Germany

In Germany, there are various Christmas dishes that people enjoy in the festive period.

Lebkuchen and Christmas stollen are some of the common dishes–they are more prevalent around the whole Germany. 

There are some other common traditional Christmas foods that you can enjoy during your travel to Germany, such as:

  • roast rabbit
  • goose
  • duck
  • turkey

Other German delicacies usually accompany these dishes, such as:

  • sausage stuffing
  • apples
  • potato dumplings
  • red cabbage
  • sauerkraut

Some of the common desserts in the country include different things such as stollen – one of the most enjoyable delicacies in the country. The Dresden stollen is a tasty version of the pastry with fruits and nuts and it bursts into amazing flavors when eaten. It has tapered ends and there is a ridge in the center which symbolizes baby Jesus’s swaddling clothes. 

There are German chocolates as well that you can find in different parts of the country–the recipes usually vary.

Glühwein 

Perhaps this is the most integral part of the Christmas tradition – the mulled wine; common in different parts of Germany.

There is nothing that will warm you more quickly than a mug of hot glühwein. This drink is commonly taken during Christmas and it is composed of red wine with a shot of brandy.

In most cities across Germany, it is served in ceramic mugs which are common as well as the Bavarian beer garden celebrations. While the traditions vary, the mugs usually represent the history of the German cities.

Weihnachtsmärkte

A Christmas market in Germany.

The Christmas markets are some of the most popular places that you will find people across Germany exploring during the Christmas period.

It is a perfect place where you can see the Christmas tradition firsthand. You will find nativity scenes, local pastries, and Christmas figurines among other decorative tools.

During your visit, you can purchase a souvenir that you can take it back to your home country. Besides, you can try out some of the mouthwatering dishes that you will find in the market such as grilled sausages, fried fish, and sauteed mushrooms.