Christmas is the most beautiful time of the year. You want to spend all your time with your loved ones around the stove and in front of the Christmas tree. How is Christmas celebrated in Germany? What does a perfect Christmas in Germany look like? Dive in with us and learn German Christmas traditions and a wonderful Advent season.

Why do we celebrate Christmas?

Originally, Christmas comes from Christianity, because Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 24, more than 2,000 years ago. Today, many other communities, whether religious or not, also celebrate the great festivities and enjoy the beautiful Christmas season.

Advent traditions

Advent begins on the 4th weekend before Christmas Eve, officially ushering in the Christmas season. In Germany, Advent means tradition and families gather every Sunday before Christmas to light another candle on the Advent wreath. To shorten the wait for the special day on other days of the week as well, the custom of the Advent calendar has arisen.

Where does the Advent wreath candle holder originate from?

advent wreath with red candles
An Advent wreath is a wreath woven mostly from fir greenery, on which four candles are placed, one more of which is lit every Sunday before December 24. Its origins date back to the 19th century and its history is heartwarming. At the time, the Protestant pastor Johann Hinrich Wichern opened a home for children in need in Hamburg. To shorten the endless time before Christmas for the waiting children, he invented what we know today as an Advent wreath. At that time, the traditional advent wreath was still made of wood and hung from the ceiling, but the custom was born.
You can make your own Advent wreath or buy it ready-made from a florist.

Advent calendar tradition

advent calendar doors
Today, Advent calendars come in all sorts of formats, filled with everything you could possibly want. An Advent calendar has 24 doors, one for each day before Christmas Eve. Especially children enjoy it, because every year they eagerly wait for the big day. In the Advent calendar they open a door every day and find a surprise behind it, whether toys or chocolates, everyone finds something for their taste.

Christmas traditions in Germany

We already got to know two major German Christmas traditions, but the Germans love this time of year and do not miss it to live even further customs fully. We have summarized the 5 most important traditions for you.

Baking traditional German Christmas cookies

Christmas in germany: it's a German christmas tradition to bake cookies
Getting together with friends or family and baking cookies is definitely one of the most beautiful customs. You spend time with eachother and you can get creative with the motif selection of the cookies. The most popular cookies and pastries at Christmas time are vanilla crescents, speculoos, nut cookies and coconut macaroons.

Christmas markets in Germany

Germany is the home of Christmas markets and this is where many spend much of their pre-Christmas time. Most markets start as early as November, so you have plenty of time to get to know a wide range of different places. Discover the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany and go exploring.

Cleaning boots for St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas comes on December 6 and woe is not a cleaned boot for him at the front door. Especially children take this tradition very seriously, because they know that St. Nicholas will put a few little things in their boots overnight and if the boot was not cleaned, then they go empty-handed. So don't miss out on the tradition of cleaning your boot and be excited about what's waiting for you in it on St. Nicholas Day.

Christmas Eve service in church

For many Germans, Christmas is still a sacred and religious holiday, and that's why chapels and churches all over the country hold services on Christmas Eve. Even if you are not religious, it is worth visiting one of these services at least once, because they are beautiful to watch and give you a sense of the beautiful old traditional Christmas.

Christmas presents

christmas presents under the tree
Finally, the time has come - Bescherung! In many countries, the presents are only given on Christmas Day, i.e. on December 25. In Germany, however, on the evening of December 24, the whole family gathers around the Christmas tree and unwraps the presents underneath together. If you want to spend an evening full of old Christmas traditions, the children recite poems beforehand, play an instrument or sing a Christmas carol. The evening is then rounded off with a typical German Christmas dinner.
The 1st and 2nd Christmas Day are spent visiting the rest of the family and having a nice time together.

Traditional german Christmas dinner

dinner table decorated for christmas
Let's face it, apart from the presents, this is what we look forward to most during the Christmas season, the meal on Christmas Eve. In this tradition, everyone comes together and enjoys any amount of delicacies.
Depending on the region, German Christmas food traditions differ in some ways. However, the most typical dishes are:

  • Potato salad with sausages
  • Roast duck or goose with potato dumplings and red cabbage
  • Raclette or fondue

Christmas in Germany: Last thoughts

Are you curious and want to spend your next Christmas in Germany or visit your family there? Book your flight now through Flightgift and immerse yourself in German Christmas traditions.