What would Christmas be without customs and traditions?? They have always made children’s eyes light up. But also adults are looking forward to the Advent calendar, the Christmas market or the Christmas tree every year. In our Christmas special it is therefore once not (only) about garden and garden houses. Instead, we would like to take a look at the most beautiful German Christmas customs and traditions. Of course, a few curious customs are also included, as well as tips on how to bring a breath of fresh air into time-honored traditions.
Advent, Advent, a little light burns
Advent is often considered part of the Christmas season, but strictly speaking, it is a phase of getting in the mood for the Christmas holiday. Customs and traditions are an integral part of this pre-Christmas period.
The Advent wreath – a custom from the 19. Century
The Advent wreath belongs for many simply to it: No matter whether traditionally from fir branches bound or on a plate arranged. But where does the custom of the Advent wreath actually come from and what does it mean?? The first Advent wreath was created by a Protestant pastor in 1839: Johann Heinrich Wichern was the founder of an orphanage in Hamburg. So that his charges would know exactly when Christmas was, Wichern invented a kind of Christmas calendar: for each day of the Advent season, he attached a candle to a wooden wagon wheel. About twenty years later, people began to use wreaths made of fir greenery. Instead of the 24 candles only four were put up. While the Advent wreath was initially a Protestant Christmas custom, it quickly spread throughout Germany and soon became an integral part of the domestic decorations in the run-up to Christmas in Catholic households as well.
Today, there are no limits to the imagination when it comes to Advent wreaths. By tinkering woman.We have discovered a variety of creative ideas for the Advent wreath: Whether knitted, made of stones or arranged in cups – they all look chic.
By the way: The largest Advent wreath in the world can be admired in Kaufbeuren. It weighs no less than two tons.
The Advent calendar
An Advent calendar is an essential part of the Advent season. The first Advent calendar to appear on the market came from the publisher Gerhard Lang. Beginning of the 20. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he designed a paper calendar for children. This consisted of a sheet of paper with colorful pictures to cut out and another sheet with 24 squares on which the children could glue the cut-out pictures. The doors were still missing in this original version.
24 fancy Advent calendars makes tinkering woman.de before: For chocolate fans, the version of 24 chocolate lollipops is a dream, but great we also find the creative crafts from jam jars, paper or coffee mugs.
Christmas and Advent markets
Right on time for the first Advent, sometimes even a little earlier, the Christkindl and Advent markets open their doors all over Germany. Some of the most beautiful we have already presented to you in our article about the TOP 10 Christmas markets. Mulled wine and culinary delicacies such as bratwurst or gingerbread are an absolute must and sweeten the pre-Christmas period for us.
Festively decorated: home and garden
To get us in the mood for Christmas, of course, the appropriate decorations must not be missing. The options are many – either go with the current trend or stick to your personal favorite decorations. Instead of simply buying Advent and Christmas decorations, you can of course make them yourself: For example, some great DIY decoration ideas have been presented by blogger Mila on "Mila Liebe".
Candlelight and fir greenery
Candles and evergreen branches are elementary symbols of the Christmas season. To this day, they are an important part of the (pre)Christmas decoration. According to Christian belief, the birth of Christ brought light to the people. The Advent wreath, for example, picks up on this symbolism: The more lights are lit, the closer Christmas is and with it the arrival of the Christ child on earth. The evergreen fir branches symbolize life, but also hope.
By the way: the natural look is trendy in 2014 – besides fir branches, nuts, spruce cones and red-cheeked apples embellish every Christmas table.
Christmas folk art
For all those who like it traditional, Christmas folk art from the Erzgebirge is just right: Smoking men spread Christmas scents in the home and the nutcrackers are not only beautiful to look at, but also practical. The candles on the wooden Christmas pyramids enchant with their warm light glow. Since the Middle Ages, the inhabitants of the Ore Mountains made figurines, utensils and toys from wood – at first it was an after-work occupation of miners, later it developed into a real branch of industry.
Christmas decorations for garden and outdoor
Not only in the house many people attach importance to Christmas decorations. Also gardens and balconies shine in the pre-Christmas period in the light shine. Which possibilities there are for Christmas decoration in the garden, we have presented in this article. As window decorations, for example, illuminated stars or Christmas mobiles do well. The balcony lattice can be easily decorated with fairy lights. In flower boxes and planters evergreen plants look great; red balls, stars and other figures from wire provide for the correct Pepp.
Even your own garden house can be wonderfully decorated for Christmas, for example with garlands or wreaths made of fir branches. Hanging lanterns or fairy lights provide festive lighting around the garden house. Who knows: instead of climbing up the house, Santa Claus might prefer to climb up the facade of the summer house or the gazebo?
Some Americans create true works of art with lights. Extreme examples of Christmas-lit houses and front yards can be found on YouTube:
In Bethlehem’s stable: the Christmas crib
One of the most famous Christmas traditions is the nativity scene. Figurative representations of the Christmas story already existed in the Middle Ages in many churches and monasteries. Today, nativity scenes are an integral part of the Christmas decorations in many households. At the paper portal Gws2.We have found a tutorial on how to make your own paper nativity scene.
Oh Tannenbaum: Old and new traditions around the Christmas tree
The Christmas symbol par excellence is the Christmas or Christmas tree: in Germany alone, 23 million Christmas trees are set up every year. The coniferous tree decorated with baubles, candles and pendants is said to go back to the medieval paradise and mystery plays and remind of the paradise tree. In the early 19th century. In the 19th century it found its way into the parlors of the upper middle class. From then on, the custom spread throughout the German-speaking world and soon throughout the world as well. By the way, the first public Christmas tree was erected in New York in 1912.
When decorating, all options are open: In the past, people hung apples and nuts on the tree, followed later by colorful baubles and tinsel. On the blog "Hello MiME" we have discovered great decoration ideas, such as the wooden Christmas tree cubes or Christmas tree balls glued with wool. Blogger Michaela also provides the instructions to do it yourself.
Christmas time, pickle time?
A few years ago, a custom was re-imported from the USA that supposedly originated in Germany: Pickle-shaped tags are hidden on the Christmas tree. Whoever is the first to discover the cucumber gets an additional gift. Meanwhile, there are also in Germany Christmas tree decorations in the form of cucumber – but that it should be an old German tradition is questionable. Maybe German emigrants brought the custom to America, maybe it’s just a successful marketing gag.
And cheers: Christmas tree praise in Upper Swabia
A curious Christmas custom that is widespread in Upper Swabia is the so-called "Christmas tree praise": on the holidays, small groups go from house to house and express praise for the Christmas trees set up there. For all the praise the host gives everyone a clear schnapps – and on to the next house.
Today, children, there will be something
What do children (and not only they) look forward to most in the run-up to Christmas?? On the gifts of course!
St. Nicholas, St. Nicholas, piggyback, give us something from your sack!
Already on 6. December, the day of St. Nicholas, there is for the little ones a taste of the gifts on Christmas Eve. A widespread custom is to fill the children’s boots with all kinds of goodies or gifts. In many families, St. Nicholas himself comes to visit in his episcopal robes. In his Golden Book you can read about the good and bad deeds of the children, for which they are praised or reprimanded. Afterwards, of course, the presents must not be missed. Nuts and apples are the classic St. Nicholas gifts, but nowadays there are also the occasional toys.
On Spaaz.de we have discovered a few great family rituals for St. Nicholas Day: In addition to baking cookies together, parents or grandparents can also make something nice with the kids. Santa Claus is certainly happy about a small gift!
A nice Bescherung: Gifts custom on Christmas Eve
On 24. December, Christmas Eve, is followed in Germany and some other countries by Christmas presents: they commemorate the gifts that the Magi brought to the newborn baby Jesus. But instead of frankincense, gold and myrrh, today there are beautifully wrapped packages under the Christmas tree.
Suggestions and ideas for special gift wrappings are shown by the blog Magnoliaelectric, for example here in green, brown and red.
Last but not least: Cookie delights and holiday feast
What would be celebrations without good food! Originally, Advent was a time of fasting: it was customary to prepare for the feast of Christ by abstaining and contemplating before Christmas.
Today, on the other hand, people are already snacking in the run-up to Christmas: cookies and gingerbread sweeten the gloomy winter days for us. Especially children love baking cookies. So that the whole thing doesn’t end in chaos, simpler cookie recipes are recommended for baking with children. On her blog "Glucksbackerei" the blogger Kathrin presents shortbread cookies for cutting out. Your recipe for a stirred shortbread is ideal for children. Sugar icing, chocolate coating and colorful sugar sprinkles make even these simple cookies real eye-catchers.
On Christmas Eve, tradition is important to many families: some eat sausages with potato salad every year, others prefer raclette. On the first or second day of Christmas the big feast follows: Goose or carp are the classics, but there are no limits to the imagination and the taste. Delicious ideas and menu suggestions you can discover, for example, at Living At Home to.
We from the Gartenhaus GmbH wish you Merry Christmas and blessed holidays!