Christmas in Germany
Already the first signs of Christmas can be seen early in the stores. Usually around the end of September, goodies such as “Lebkuchen” and “Stollen” can be bought. The first pre-advent exibitions at the florist in November enable you to buy floral arrangements and advent wreaths to decorate the tables and the first large Christmas markets are also setting up before the first advent Sunday.
Though different regions of Germany have established their own customs throughout the centuries, most still celebrate Christmas generally the same way. On Christmas Eve in Germany, the stores generally close at 2 p.m. to give families a chance to spend more time together and to make it possible to go to afternoon church service. There are two Christmas days in Germany, meaning that the 25th and the 26th of December are both holidays and all of the stores are closed.
Here you can read about some traditions and see images of Christmas markets.
German Christmas Markets
One must see the variety of Christmas markets in Germany. Each major city has its own and they usually run for four weeks. These are quite commercialized but also have stalls with handmade items as well. Glühwein or Mulled Wine is a traditional drink offered at all of the markets. This delicious spiced wine punch drink gets served hot. Perfect for a cold winter’s day when you are out doing holiday shopping and need to warm up.
Small Town Christmas Markets in North Germany
Small towns and villages normally have weekend markets which are quite charming. Our area of Germany is in the north in Schleswig-Holstein, which is the northernmost state of Germany and on the Danish border. A few large farms decorate their barns inside and out with their own Christmas markets. These last from 2 days up until 2 weeks. They are small yet charming and have a vintage feeling to them. Most charge a small entrance fee to cover the costs.At the small village markets and the farm markets, you will find lots of self made goodies, hand crafted items, and well selected country gifts.
The best time to go to any of these markets is at dusk. Most stay open until 6 or 7 p.m. and at that time in winter, it is already dark. The lit candles and the bonfires give the markets an added touch of warmth and comfort.