by: Lydia Fulson / Writer, Artist, Traveler, Granddaughter & Ever-Learning German Cook
Looking for the perfect dessert to serve the family for holidays? Perhaps those scrumptious Weihnachten cookies that your Mutti used to make, remember?
Those ones that were so mouth-watering that you just HAD to sneak some off the tray before they were even finished baking.
Below are German Christmas recipes and other holiday recipes to make celebrating "Christmas in Germany" a possibility, no matter where you are in the world.
Celebrating Christmas in Germany is such a feast for your senses. Every part of your being is affected - from the sights to behold, the scents to savour, and the tastes to enjoy. Your spirit is renewed in the reason for the season, and your body is enveloped by the pleasures that only Christmas can fulfill.
What a spectacular time of the year it is! Breathtaking, yummy, and full of festive fun!
The streets in Germany are full of these gorgeously structured homes, showing jagged angles and authentic architecture. Now just imagine seeing these exquisite, and opulent homes with a glistening blanket of snow overtop.
Walking through a German village decorated for Weihnachten (Christmas) is amazing. The houses look like traditional gingerbread houses. So very picturesque and pristine, almost looking as if they were molded by cookie cutters themselves.
The Christmas Markets in Germany are very traditional, and are well-stocked with all kinds of German Christmas foods as well as wood carvings and decorations for the Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas tree).
The market is a wondrous place to bring your family, your tiny tots, for an evening of holiday joy and excitement. Packed full to the brim of German Christmas Traditions, including the eminent Nuremberg bratwurst sausage! The perfect place to purchase your ornamental pyramids, and Weihnachtsbaum decorations.
The Weihnachten market in Nuremberg, is seen as the most famous city market in all of Germany. It takes place every single year during advent, in the old town square. It truly is a sight to see.
Everyone has their own traditions leading up to Christmas Day, whether it's opening gifts on Christmas Eve, singing carols by the warm glow of the fireplace, or simply stringing colorful lights on a beautiful gleaming tree.
But did you know that many of the traditions celebrated all around the world to this day originated from Germany?
Here are some of the most popular German Advent Traditions and decorations!
The Advent calendar is a real treat for kids. With 24 numbers on little doors that get opened according to the date, it’s an easy way for children to count down the days until Christmas Eve.
Behind each little door is usually a picture of a toy. The newer Advent calendars are much more enjoyable - chocolates are behind each door! So much fun for the little ones!
It's also time to either make or buy an Advent wreath, aka Adventskranz. This is made of evergreen twigs and decorated with pine cones, little red mushrooms, and ribbons.
There are four candles: the first one is lit on the last Sunday in November, and then another candle on each successive Sunday before Christmas.
In the photo below, Oma's Mutti (second on the left) and her Mutti and sisters are sitting around an Adventskranz, the centerpiece for their Christmas coffee. (Wish I knew what delicious German Christmas recipes are displayed on the table.) The purpose for Advent? To prepare for the coming of Jesus.
Here are some of the most popular Christmas Tree decorations that are very well known in Germany and all around the world. Maybe you recognize some of these decorations from your childhood and use them still today!
Perhaps you have heard of this weird German tradition of hiding a pickle ornament in the Christmas tree, and you wonder, is this REALLY German?
No, it is NOT a German tradition. Though, it is a fun activity that many families enjoy.
The parent hides a pickle-shaped ornament in the Christmas tree and calls the children into the room to search for it. The first child to find the pickle, gets one extra gift.
This may sound a bit peculiar, but it really does excite the little ones, filling their faces with glowing delight as they race to earn that extra present.
Get ready for Christmas! Grab your copy of Oma's collection of her favorites in Christmas Cookies e-Cookbook.
Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!
Did you know that wrapping your Christmas tree with shining tinsel is a tradition that originally came from Germany in the 1600's?
It is certainly a beautiful tradition that has carried on for hundreds of years. Adding a lovely glow, and bright fun to your tree.
Here's a fun fact you may not have known about tinsel:
Though nowadays tinsel is made from foil pieces strung together, back in the 1600-1700's it was always made from real silver.
These beautiful handcrafted gingerbread looking ornaments are a great gift for the holidays.
With hundreds of different quotes and special sayings written on them, you can make it a very personalized and meaningful gift.
You can find hundreds upon hundreds of these lovely decorations at the German Christmas Markets, which were mentioned above.
Perhaps you've heard of these decorations or even collect a few.
The Nutcracker is incredibly well known today and is often used simply as a cute table decoration for Christmas.
In 1872, the first commercial Nutcracker was created in Germany. To this day, many are still produced in Germany and can be found in just about every home for the holidays.
Some people find them to be a little creepy, while others find them quite functional and collectible. What do you think of the Nutcracker?
In many homes across Germany, you would find a small twirling carousel standing near the tree. This magnificent decoration is known as the Christmas Pyramid.
The Pyramid is a tall standing ornament with many angels among it, as well as a nativity scene (Weihnachtskrippe) and candles surrounding the base. It would not be uncommon to see some of these pyramids with propellers on the very top, which would spin with the help of the rising heat from the candles.
It is tradition in quite a few cities in Germany to place a giant pyramid in the center of town, as seen below.
On the days leading up to Christmas Eve in Germany, there are many traditions and special events that occur.
Events that bring joy and excitement to the tiny tots. Lighting up that eagerness in their eyes for Christmas Day to come sooner!
Here are some of the popular traditions leading up to Christmas Eve.
Another way of celebrating Christmas in Germany happens on December 6th. The night before, children put their shoes (the largest they can find) at their bedside.
The next morning, thanks to Saint Nicholas (St. Nick), the shoes are filled with all kinds of delicious treats, usually edible, but sometimes little toys as well. (Is this where the idea of the American Christmas stocking comes from?)
last preparation for Christmas is the Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas tree).
Put up the morning of the 24th, it's decorated with nuts, cookies,
apples, tinsel, and real candles. The room with the tree was kept out of
sight from the children.
the Christmas Eve Church service, the candles (lights) are lit. A bell is
The children are finally allowed to enter into the room to behold the tree ... and the presents hidden underneath!
The room is filled with all kinds of fragrances. Plates of Christmas cookies, marzipan, chocolates, and Christmas stollen are accompanied with bowls of fruits.
Let's take a glimpse at the delicious German Christmas foods, including meals, and popular desserts for the holiday season.
Just looking at these eye-catching dishes and delicacies makes my tummy rumble!
There are many traditional German foods that are enjoyed around the holidays, all extraordinarily yummy! Perhaps you remember these tasteful treats.
The traditional German dinner often consists of duck, roast, bread dumplings, potato dumplings and red cabbage.
I'm sure you have all had that stuffing made from bread crumbs and vegetable cubes. Well in Germany, the stuffing is made from apple and sausage. Boy is it ever yummy!
You know how we Germans are, making dishes so unique, original and different. We sure know how to get adventurous in the kitchen, and the results are always outstanding!
When it's time for Christmas, baking is at the forefront of preparations. Get Oma's collection of her favorites in Christmas Baking eCookbook.
Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!
This delicious main course would be accompanied by the famous German Stollen, a sweet delicacy all over the country around Christmas time.
Stollen is a type of cake stuffed full with candied fruits and nuts, similar to the well-known fruitcake. This famous dessert is traditionally dusted with a thick layer of powdered sugar to create a “blanket of snow” effect.
Some like to give the shape of the cake tapered, rough edges to symbolize Baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling cloth.
There's always a Gingerbread House to nibble on, a traditional treat that is reminiscent of the Hansel and Gretel Fairy Tale.
Oma's came in many shapes and themes. Unlike the modern gingerbread houses, hers were always solid cake. Not just a shell held together with icing.
Oma made forts. She made winter scenes. She made zoos. I wish she had made photos of them all. Above is the only photo she had of one of the first gingerbread houses she made. Now, the rest are just memories! What she does recall is that they were fun to make and fun to eat!
In fact, there are so many memories of the flavors of Christmas, whenever she starts to bake, she's transported back into the kitchen with her Mutti! What fun they all had making all the Christmas goodies.
There are so many favourites when it comes to Christmas carols, they can be heard everywhere around this time. From the busiest of supermarkets, to the smallest of living rooms.
Children absolutely love singing carols! In the towns of Germany, it is tradition to have a night where families would gather and enjoy each others company as they pour their hearts out in celebration holiday song.
Here are some of the most popular and traditional Weihnachten songs sung in Germany. See if you recognize these, and share the songs with your friends and family to reminisce about the good old days! You might even learn a new one!
Enjoy the above German Christmas Baking recipes for your dessert table as you are celebrating Christmas in Germany wherever you are in the world.
Do you have memories of celebrating Christmas in Germany?
Or perhaps you or your parents brought their German traditions with them, and you celebrated a German Christmas in other parts of the world.
Share your memories including the FOOD!
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
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Pop right over to my private Facebook group, the Kaffeeklatschers. You'll find thousands of German foodies, all eager to help and to talk about all things German, especially these yummy foods.
Meet with us around Oma's table, pull up a chair, grab a coffee and a piece of Apfelstrudel, and enjoy the visit.
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The GOOD News
"For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost."
Luke 19:10 (NLT)