Although Christmas has been more commercial lately around the world, Germans still honor their family and country’s culture and traditions. America has gotten many of its traditional Christmas customs and practices from our German ancestors. One might say that Germans know how to throw a great holiday party!  Here are some of the holiday traditions that have come to us from Deutschland.

The Advent Calendar

The Advent Calendar is one of the awesome traditions that offer you a piece of chocolate candy for each day from December 1st until Christmas Eve on the 24th. What a great countdown to the holiday!  This is one the children look forward to every year. There are twenty-four windows that open up to treat you with a tasty chocolate treat that covers a cute little Christmas scene. You can get these with a religious motif, or for adults, you can find some with a naughty theme.  But nevertheless, it is a fun way to countdown the days until Christmas.

Advent Wreath (Adventskranz)

On the fourth Sunday before Christmas, an advent wreath is placed on a living room table.  Four large candles, pine cones, and berries are the traditional parts of this wreath. On the fourth Sunday, the lights are dimmed; and one candle is lighted, and the family sits around the table and spend an hour together singing Christmas songs, or sharing a quiet hour reflecting on the past year, or just talking quietly. If someone in the family is musical, they can play an instrument or sing to the other family member.

Some people watch a movie together and enjoy some tea, hot cocoa, or glühwein; and snack on Stollen, cookies, marzipan, fruit, chocolate or roasted chestnuts.  Then the next week they light the first and second candle; then the third Sunday; light the third candle, until they are all lighted on the fourth week.  This tradition was observed many years ago when the tree was not bought and decorated. The candles and the pine scent adds spice to the holiday wait.