Christmas in Germany is a special time of year filled with traditions, decorations, and festive cheer. If you’re new in Germany at Christmas time, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure you fully experience the magic of the season.
The Christmas tree is one of the most iconic traditions of Christmas in Germany. It is customary to set up a tree in the home and decorate it with ornaments, lights, and tinsel. The tree is usually put up on the first Advent Sunday, which marks the beginning of the Christmas season. In many cities and towns, public Christmas trees are lit up and decorated for everyone to enjoy.
Another tradition of Christmas in Germany is the Christmas market. These markets, also known as Christkindlmarkt, can be found in towns and cities throughout the country and are a staple of the holiday season. They usually open in the four weeks leading up to Christmas and offer a variety of festive activities and treats, such as mulled wine, gingerbread, and handmade crafts.
Gifting is also an essential part of Christmas in Germany. It is customary to exchange gifts with family and friends on Christmas Eve, known as Heiligabend. In addition, many people exchange gifts with their coworkers or give gifts to their neighbours and acquaintances. When giving gifts, it is important to remember that it is the thought that counts and that spending a lot of money is not necessary.
Another tradition that is unique to Christmas in Germany is the Christmas pickle. According to legend, a low-income family who could not afford decorations for their tree was given a pickle by a kind traveller. The pickle was hidden among the tree branches, and the children who found it on Christmas morning were rewarded with an extra present. Today, hanging a small glass pickle ornament on the tree is common, and the child who finds it on Christmas morning gets to open the first present.
If you’re new in Germany at Christmas time, it’s also important to be mindful of the customs and traditions of the country. For example, Christmas Eve is a time for family gatherings and religious observances, so it is not uncommon for stores and businesses to close early. Additionally, many Germans observe the traditional “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve, with no loud music or TV after 10 pm.
Overall, Christmas in Germany is a time of joy and celebration, filled with traditions and customs that make it a unique and memorable holiday. Whether you’re joining in on the Christmas markets, decorating your tree, or spending time with loved ones, there is something for everyone to enjoy this time of year. So, if you are new in Germany at Christmas time, embrace the country’s customs and traditions and have a memorable holiday season.