Our ADVENT CALENDAR begins on December 1!
Learn about German Christmas customs with our special online German Way Advent Calendar. By clicking on a calendar-date window (1-24), you’ll see a different Christmas fact each day from December 1 until Christmas Eve, when German and many European families celebrate Christmas by opening presents under the Tannenbaum.
You’ll learn about the many Christmas customs observed in Germany and the other German-speaking lands, many of which have crossed the Atlantic. The Christmas tree, the Advent wreath, Christmas markets, and singing “Silent Night” are just four of them. And there are other Christmas customs still found only in Germany and Europe. Our interactive Advent calendar is a fun way to learn all about them. Also see the “Related Links” below for more information about Christmas in German-speaking Europe, plus our Advent and Christmas Quiz.
German Christmas Facts
To view any of the topics below, go to the corresponding date on our German Way Advent Calendar and click on that date. Topics are only available between 1 December and 24 December, and for a short time following Christmas. You can only select a topic on or following the Advent Calendar date. For example, the topic for December 4th (Barbarazweig) is clickable only on or after that date.
1. Der Adventskalender – The story of this German custom and the Advent tradition
2. German Christmas Markets – This German tradition has spread around the globe
3. Stollen und Striezel – Two of Dresden’s contributions to Christmas
4. Barbaratag und Barbarazweig – A blossoming tradition!
5. Der Adventskranz – The Advent wreath is a key element of the Advent custom.
6. December 6th and St. Nicholas – No, not Santa. Saint Nicholas comes early in December.
7. Böllerschießen – Have a merry, noisy, bang-up Christmas!
MORE CHRISTMAS FACTS on the Advent Calendar
QUIZ > Advent and Christmas Quiz 1 – Try this fun self-scoring quiz! But not before you’ve read our Christmas Facts.
AT THE GERMAN WAY
- Christmas from A to Z – German Christmas traditions and terms
- Advent – The Latin word means “arrival.” This custom begins on the first Advent Sunday around December 1.
- Photo Gallery: Christmas in Germany – Berlin – A visual tour of Christmas markets and other December sights in Berlin
- Christmas in the USA and Germany– A comparison chart
- German Christmas Carols – Popular carols with lyrics in German and English
- Barbarazweig – The legend and the Christmas custom
- Epiphany and the Sternsinger – January 6 in the Germanic Christmas tradition
- Erntedank (“harvest thanksgiving”) or Erntedankfest in Germany and Austria is different from the American Thanksgiving tradition.
- St. Nicholas – The many German St. Nicks
- Thomas Nast created the modern Santa image.
- The Christmas Pickle Ornament – Fact or fiction?
- Silent Night (Stille Nacht) – Our “Silent Night” page has the true story and related links.
- Holidays and Celebrations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland
- Glass Ornaments – a history