Reflecting on German Christmas Traditions


First of all, happy holidays and I hope everyone survived their finals! I wanted to take this opportunity to again write about the differences between Germany/Canada and the way I normally celebrate Christmas with my family.

Our Christmas preparations start in late November with buying an ‘adventskalender.’ To my surprise, you guys have these too and I have never been happier about something. Furthermore, we don’t just have ‘adventkalenders’ but also an ‘adventskranz,’ which is a wreath with four candles and at the four Sundays before Christmas you light one candle for the first advent, then 2 candles for the second advent, and so on. It’s a tradition I love because it means we get together with the family every Sunday, light the candle or candles and spent some quality time together. Another good thing about it is that at the first advent we meet to bake ‘Zimtwaffeln’ (cinnamon Christmas cookies/waffles) together with my aunt, uncle, and my grandparents.


Another tradition in Germany are the Christmas markets, you can basically find them in every city. I am from a small town with not even 10,000 people living there and we have one of the most beautiful ones in the state. It’s a small state but still, it’s really beautiful and not comparable to any Christmas markets I have seen in Toronto or New York.

Take a look:

One tradition that doesn’t seem to exist here is Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th, the night before it’s time to put out your boots in front of the door or the fireplace and wait for sweets. The next day you have a boot properly filled with chocolate and other sweets, especially chocolate figures of Saint Nicholas.

And just to clear things up, Santa Claus is not the one bringing us the gifts on Christmas Eve – Santa and Saint Nicholas are not the same. On Christmas evening the Christkind (Christ child) is the one bringing us our gifts before we can open them on Christmas day. So, after having dinner with the whole family on the 24th we head home to go to bed and wait for the next day to find our presents under the Christmas tree. And now the normal Christmas is over for me because it is my mum’s birthday on the 25th so I can’t tell you anything about a traditional December 25th

In any case, I hope you have a wonderful time with your families and that you enjoy the rest of the holidays.

Header Photo: Winter Wonderland


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