Christmas in Germany doesn’t only revolve around Christmas trees. The home of the original Christmas tree is rich in various Christmas traditions that spice up the merrymaking during the Yuletide season.
As soon as Advent starts, Christmas celebrations and preparations kick off around the country. Advent calendars with Christmas scenes are hung by the children’s bedside. These Christmas scenes each have numbers and small paper windows, which are opened as each day goes by. Little pictures of candles, Christmas balls, snowmen, and other holiday trappings are revealed as each window is opened each morning. The calendars help children keep track of the remaining days left before Christmas.
Letters are left on the windowsills for Christkind, the German Christmas angel who distributes gifts in white robes and a golden crown. Sugar is glued to the letters to make them sparkle.
Early Christmas presentations in Germany don’t involve Christmas trees, because they are to be put up only on the 23rd of December. The ultimate Christmas symbol for Germans, Christmas trees are found all over the country—in churches, public squares, shops, and of course, homes. The Christmas tree is kept as a secret to the kids, revealed only on Christmas Eve.
Festive music sets the mood for the joyous Christmas celebrations. The popular song Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht! (Silent Night) is a Christmas classic, and sounds of bells and other musical instruments can be heard from each household.
The traditional German Christmas meal used to involve a boar’s head, the symbol for the German god Frey. But as years passed, it was replaced by pork, roast beef, turkey, or goose. Christbaumgeback, dough moulded into shapes and baked as tree decorations, is a traditional German Christmas pastry. Gingerbread houses and cookies are served, too.