Guide to your first expat Christmas in Germany

Published:  12 Dec at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Tagged: USA, UK, Germany, England
Expats living and working in Germany find themselves at the heart of traditional Christmas with glittering pine trees, endless fun things to do, and lots of delicious mulled wine.

It could well be said that Germany invented the traditional Christmas enjoyed by the entire Western world. Christmas trees, now considered the icon of the festive season, were first introduced in the 16th century, only becoming popular in the UK after their introduction by Queen Victoria’s beloved Prince Albert. Although glitzy artificial trees are more usual nowadays, in Germany most families still stick with real fir trees for the emotive scent of fresh pine. They can be bought almost anywhere, including the local hardware store.

Germany’s Christmas Street Market tradition began in the 15th century and is still a favourite with everyone in every town and city. Locals go for the atmosphere, the bratwurst and the mulled wine, all served under sparklingly decorated trees amid the sounds of Christmas music. Avoiding those in touristy areas is best, as they can be very commercialised. In traditional markets you’ll find local gifts and handmade treasures as well as tasty gingerbread in Christmassy tins.

Christmas Eve, rather than Christmas Day itself, sees the major celebrations including huge family meals and the giving of gifts. Traditional feasts include roast goose and game meats as well as turkey, all served with potato dumplings and red cabbage. On the day itself, German sausages and potato salad are favourites, and the delicious, traditional ‘stollen’ bread with its spices, candied fruits and chopped nuts is enjoyed anytime over the festive season.

As to practicalities, Christmas shopping is best done several days before Christmas Eve, as many shops shut early or, as with this year, simply don’t open as it’s a Sunday. Grocery stores are packed with customers before Christmas Eve, making it essential to allow enough time to get everything you need. Organisation is an ideal in Germany, mostly for good reasons!

Public transport runs throughout Christmas, but uses a holiday timetable, and road traffic is very heavy due to people leaving the city or visiting families and friends. If you’re planning a festive meal in a restaurant, you’ll first need to find one that’s open during the three-day break. If you do, booking well in advance is essential. Whatever your plans, Germany’s Christmas traditions will give a new slant on this much-loved ancient festival.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive