“Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann”

A German Christmas Carol in German and English
caption

Santa Claus, der Weihnachtsmann, portrayed by Jonathan G. Meath.
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Hoffmann von Fallersleben (1798-1874) is best known for writing the lyrics to the German national anthem (“Das Lied der Deutschen”), but he was a noted poet who in 1835 also authored this popular German Christmas carol about the imminent arrival of Father Christmas (der Weihnachtsmann, aka Santa Claus). First published in 1837, the original title was simply “Der Weihnachtsmann.”

Some lines of the original lyrics in the first two verses reflect the more militaristic 19th century Prussian era when Fallersleben wrote them. In modern versions of this carol, terms referring to war toys (army, rifle, saber, grenadier) have been exchanged for more peaceful, child-friendly terms (colorful lights, farm, train set) in new lines written by Hilger Schallehn (1936-2000). You’ll find both versions below. The third verse remains unchanged.

This carol’s melody will sound familiar. It’s the same traditional tune (Volksweise) used for “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” See more below.

Also see the three video versions of this carol below.

DEUTSCH
Text: Hoffmann von Fallersleben
Volksweise
ENGLISH
Literal English translation – HF
Traditional melody
Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann,
Kommt mit seinen Gaben.
Trommel, Pfeifen und Gewehr,
Fahn und Säbel und noch mehr,
Ja, ein ganzes Kriegesheer
Möcht’ ich gerne haben.
Tomorrow Santa’s coming,
Coming with his gifts.
Drum, pipes and rifle,
Flag and saber and even more.
Yes, an entire army
I’d like to have.
Bring’ uns, lieber Weihnachtsmann,
Bring’ auch morgen, bringe
Musketier und Grenadier,
Zottelbär und Panthertier,
Roß und Esel, Schaf und Stier,
Lauter schöne Dinge!
Bring us, dear Santa
Bring also tomorrow, bring
Musketeer and grenadier,
Shaggy bear and panther,
Steed and donkey, sheep and bull
Nothing but nice things!
Doch du weißt ja unsern Wunsch,
Kennst ja unsre Herzen.
Kinder, Vater und Mama
Auch sogar der Großpapa,
Alle, alle sind wir da,
Warten dein mit Schmerzen.
But you know our every wish,
You know our hearts.
Children, father and mama
Even grandpa
We’ll all, all be there
Painfully awaiting your arrival.
NOTE: The two verses below (by Hilger Schallehn) often replace verses 1 and 2 of the original. The third verse remains unchanged.
Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann,
Kommt mit seinen Gaben.
Bunte Lichter, Silberzier,
Kind und Krippe, Schaf und Stier,
Zottelbär und Pantertier
Möcht’ ich gerne haben.
Tomorrow Santa’s coming,
Coming with his gifts.
Colorful lights, tinsel,
Child and manger, sheep and bull,
Shaggy bear and panther,
I’d like to have.
Bring’ uns, lieber Weihnachtsmann,
Bring’ auch morgen, bringe
eine schöne Eisenbahn,
Bauernhof mit Huhn und Hahn,
einen Pfefferkuchenmann,
Lauter schöne Dinge!
Bring us, dear Santa
Bring also tomorrow, bring
A nice train set [railroad],
Farm with hen and rooster,
A gingerbread man,
Nothing but nice things!
BACK > German Christmas Carol Lyrics

About This Carol

The poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben (b. April 2, 1798; d. January 19, 1874) used the pen name “Hoffmann von Fallersleben.” Hoffmann was born in the town of Fallersleben (present-day Wolfsburg, Germany, the home of Volkswagen). He was a Prussian patriotic poet, philologist, and literary historian who studied at the universities in Bonn and Göttingen. Among his best-known works is the patriotic “Das Lied der Deutschen” which starts with the words “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles” (“Germany, Germany above all”) and is set to a 1797 tune by Joseph Haydn. As is the case with “Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann,” only the third verse of “Das Lied der Deutschen” is considered suitable for the German national anthem today. But in fact Hoffmann, although highly patriotic, actually held progressive views that got him into trouble with the Prussian authorities, and he was a supporter of the 1848 revolution that sent some Prussians to America and elsewhere after its failure.

Far less known are his “Texanische Lieder” (“Texas Songs,” 1846) and the fact that Hoffmann was granted 300 acres of land in Texas by the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas. Although the poet never claimed his land, he continued to write about Texas, authoring the three-act opera libretto “In beiden Welten” (“In Both Worlds”) in 1852.

The tune for “Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann” dates back to at least 1761 and the French melody “Ah! vous dirai-je, maman.” Several composers, including Mozart (Twelve Variations on “Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman”), have composed arrangements that use the melody. The tune is also used in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”


VIDEO 1: “Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann” (original lyrics)

VIDEO 2: “Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann” – Roger Whittaker

VIEDO 3: “Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann” (alternative, non-military lyrics)

Next | German Christmas Carol Lyrics in German and English