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South Africans in Germany

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German Christmas Traditions

St Nickolas Day

Nikolaustag is celebrated on the 6th of December. Children leave a pair of cleaned boots outside their door on the evening of the 5th. The boots are then filled with sweets and small gifts

Days until Nikolastag


Advent is celebrated on the 4 Sundays before Christmas. It is a Christian tradition to prepare for the arrival or coming of Jesus Christ.
The first Advent is the first Sunday after 26 November. 

Advent wreaths have four large candles, which represent the four weeks of Advent and one candle is lit each Sunday. Families spend some quiet and reflective time together and sing Christmas carols. Drinking and eating typical Christmas food like Stollen, Glühwein (mulled wine), roasted almonds and chestnuts

The first candle represents Hope, the second Faith, the third Joy and the final candle Peace. 

Advent Calendar

The Advent calendar counts down the four weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. Every day a new door of the calendar is opened to reveal a small chocolate or a gift. Originally they concealed a picture or bible verse.

Christmas Tree (Tannenbaum)

The first known Christmas tree was set up in 1419 in Freiburg by the town bakers They decorated the tree with fruits, nuts, and baked goods, which the children were allowed to remove and eat on New Year’s Day.

In Germany, you set up and decorate the tree on Christmas Eve. It is traditional to use a real fir tree. The tree is taken down in January and there are specific days for disposal

Christmas markets

Most town squares transform into beautiful Christmas markets. Traditionally there will be a big Christmas tree and Nativity scene (Krippe). Additionally, there are where you can buy delicious food, warm drinks and handmade gifts. It is a wonderful place to meet up with friends for some Glühwein while listening to carol singers  


The nativity scene is called a Krippe. It is usually put up in homes, churches and Christmas markets. 
You can buy the individual pieces at Christmas markets. Look for wooden hand made pieces


A wooden carousel with angels and a nativity scene. It has several levels and spins with the help of heat from candles. The larger ones you see at Christmas markets work with electricity

Nutcracker dolls

The average handmade nutcracker doll is made from 60 separate pieces. They are made to resemble a toy soldier.


Also called a Lichterbogen. It is a decorative candle holder to light up your home with the warm glow of candles

Christmas Eve

Time to set up the tree, enjoy a simple meal with family and exchange gifts.
The traditional meal for the 24th consists of carp, boiled potatoes, cucumber salad and lemon slices. Another alternative is Sausages with potato salad 

Christmas Day

Many families attend church services and sing traditional Christmas carols
A large meal is traditionally eaten in the afternoon or early evening.
Typical dishes include Roast goose or duck stuffed with apples, chestnuts, onions or prunes. Dumplings and Red cabbage with onions and apples are served as side dishes.

Days until Christmas

German Christmas Recipes

Baking cookies for Christmas is what childhood memories are made of. We will list some websites here where you can find authentic Christmas recipes.  Typical Christmas food Zimtsterne Pfeffernüsse  Vanillekipferl

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Christmas Markets

Visiting Christmas markets in Germany is a delightful way of celebrating the festive season. The heavy scent of sweets, fried sausage and warm wine welcome you to a variety of

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