Did you know that Christmas trees originated in Germany? They have been a part of Christmas there since the late Middle Ages. Traditionally, they were set up on Christmas Eve and, if there were children in the house, they would be secretly decorated by the mother in the night.
The most important part of the Christmas season in Germany is Advent and Advent calendars. There is a huge variety of these calendars and it’s a rare thing in Germany not to have some type of Advent calendar in your house. It contains 24 windows for each day of the month leading up to Christmas, starting December 1st.
There is some confusion over who brings Christmas gifts to children. They have the Christkind(the Christ child) and Weihnachtsmann(Father Christmas), and children write to both of them, hoping that at least one will respond positively, I guess. To further confuse the matter, the Christkindis a girl, not a baby Jesus. In Nurnberg, a young girl with blonde hair, wearing a crown, is chosen as the Christkindto ride in a parade, dressed in gold and white.
If those two are not enough, some children also hope to receive gifts from der Nikolaus(Saint Nicholas) on the night between Dec. 5thand 6th. He might even knock on the door and ask for a song or a story before giving them presents, usually sweets and chocolate.
In addition, in some regions, der Nikolaus is accompanied by Knect Ruprecht or Krampus, a big horned monster dressed in rags and carrying chains. He’s there to punish the bad children.
Whew! Scary! Magical! Over-populated! Christmas is a busy time in Germany!
Written by: Brent Adams