Christmas in Germany

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I just got back from a week-long trip to Stuttgart to visit family (which is why it’s been so quiet ’round here lately, speaking of the gift of time!). Spending Christmas in Germany is one of my favorite things; I’m not particularly religious, but there are all sorts of local traditions that make it enjoyable. There are pastries like Stollen and Lebkuchen. There are ornate, hand-carved wooden pyramids, and live candles on the Christmas trees.

And there are open-air Christmas markets, where you can buy a lot of those things. The markets can get a little kitschy (many of them have become major tourist events), with vendors hawking trinkets and schmatta you could find pretty much anywhere. But there are usually at least a couple of stands that sell nice things like hand-made ornaments or the aforementioned pyramids. You can also get hot, spiced Glühwein if you get cold, and it’s not uncommon for friends to meet up for a glass or two at night — or during the day.

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What are your favorite holiday traditions?

4 thoughts on “Christmas in Germany

  1. How funny, Allen – I grew up 2 hours away from Chicago (in West Lafayette, Indiana), and I had no idea about the Chicago Christmas market!

    I’m impressed that they kept the same nomenclature; “Christkindlmarkt” would be the proper term in German (“Christkind” means “Christ child,” and the L at the end is a sort of fond diminutive, just like we might call someone “Petey” instead of “Pete”).

  2. Ah! That’s where the Chicago’s Christkindlmarket originates…

    http://www.christkindlmarket.com/

    It’s a nice smaller version of what you show above (minus the gorgeous background!!)- good wooden toys and glass ornaments along with great german candies etc. 🙂 [And wonderful German foods.]

    If you’re in or near Chicago, you can visit it near the huge Christmas tree and enjoy something akin to Leah’s post above. [I’m jealous Leah! Looks wonderful!]

  3. The Baha’i Faith doesn’t have any holy days during December, but that doesn’t stop me enjoying the lights and all the good food. It’s lovely to pile in the car and drive around looking at the lights while drinking hot chocolate and trying to decide which house is my favorite.

    By the time our gift-giving comes during Ayyám-i-Há February 26 – March 1st, I’m able to enjoy it without the rush and panic that’s developed around December.

  4. When I was little, my family would head into downtown Philadelphia (Center City) to see the light show at Wanamaker’s and visit Santa Claus. My own traditions include making up a new Christmas music playlist every December and watching A Muppet Christmas Carol while wrapping gifts.

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