German Christmas Traditions - how do Germans celebrate Christmas?

Germans start Christmas - Weihnachten - with Heiligabend - Christmas Eve - the 24th of December. Typically the christmas tree is decorated in the morning, last Christmas shopping is done and gifts are wrapped. Besides, the meals for dinner a prepared. Nevertheless in a lot of families there is just a simple Holy Night dinner like Kartoffelsalat - potato salad - und Würstchen - sausages. At the 25th - 1. Weihnachtstag - there is a real feast like roast goose or roast duck.

If there are smaller children in the family they will start celebrating either with attending church - Familiengottesdienst often with nativity play - or with singing some Christmas carols and/or reading the Christmas story in the bible and then unwrapping the Christmas gifts - this will happen between 4 and 6pm. The others will unwrap their gifts after attending church.

Then the dinner will start and after it the familiy will sit together and talk or listen to Christmas music. Children will play with their new toys and are allowed to stay awake much longer than normally. If the children are older or there are none some people will attend Christmas Mass - Christmette - at night.

At the 25th - 1. Weihnachtstag - people will often visit other family members or friends. Some will attend church - Weihnachtshochamt - (again).

At the 26th - 2. Weihnachtstag - people will also visit other family members or friends. Others will go for a walk or just relax at home and read their new books or play new games.

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German Christmas