Germans love traditions. Obviously, they make no exception when it comes to the festive period in December. An abundance of Christmas traditions exist, which still get passed down from generation to generation. We wanted to find out more about the respective traditions.

While children from the UK get their presents on the morning of 25 December, Germans just do not want to wait that long. Therefore, Christmas Eve is the time when German youngsters get to unwrap their presents.

Photo: © Essen, Marketing GmbH, Peter Wieler

Festive treats

Turkey is actually quite uncommonly served as the main Christmas meal. Instead, goose, duck and even carp find their way onto German dinner tables. For dinner, ‘Stollen’ is rather famous – a cake-like fruit bread with candied orange and citrus peel amongst other ingredients. Gingerbread, chocolate Santas and many ‘Plätzchen’, Christmas cookies, fill the homes throughout Germany. Another season highlight for many Germans is, of course, mulled wine and the so-called ‘Feuerzangenbowle’ – a spectacular German drink. For it, mulled wine is heated in a bowl, while a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire before dripping into the mulled wine.

Decoration highlights

During Advent, many German families decorate their homes with the ‘Advent wreath’. It usually consists of pinecones, berries and four large candles. On the fourth Sunday before Christmas, the first candle is lit and then, each following Sunday, the next candle gets lit until it is finally Christmas. Other common Christmas decoration are little wooden Christmas angels. Wonderfully carved, these cute figurines usually play various musical instruments.

Photo: © Rothenburg Tourismus Service, Willi Pfitzinger

St. Nicholas Day

5 December is a special evening for children all over Germany. They polish their boots and put it in front of their house or bedroom doors and hope that St. Nicholas and his assistant ‘Knecht Ruprecht’ will visit their home at night as he usually leaves a little present, nuts, chocolate or some other sweets in the boot. On the morning of 6 December, parents usually have no problem to get their children out of bed.

Frohe Weihnachten!

To get you into the festive spirit, we handpicked Germany’s top Christmas markets and festive design items at


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