Celebrating Christmas

in Germany




local version based on
fill legend character (2)
gift bishop generous
region century give/gave/given
feast fragrant associated with
fan (2) incense away from
wing goodies bring/brought/brought
focus imagine establish
saint manger heartland
jolly deliver when it comes to
theme savor (2) throughout
glitter festive heartwarming
carol wonder sound (2)
prune wooden make/made/made
swirl prevail ambiance
smell costume represent
nut shift (2) throughout
jaw strong Lutheran
waft though humanize
folk common feature (2)
toy enliven golden (2)
fig walnut conclude
limb spread blow/blew/blown
hover wind (2) square (2)
angel cap (2) gingerbread
icon munch love affair
sip skinny bratwurst
spice version impromptu
reign crack (3) give/gave/given
plumb authority child/children
joy enthrall come/came/come
touch legend tell/told/told
gentle bundle lead/led/led
sight hand out wonderland
cheer reform courtyard
venue kind (2)






When it comes to traditional holiday images, Germany’s Bavaria is the heartland. Here we’ll savor classic holiday themes: Glittering trees, old-time carols, and colorful Christmas markets.

These markets, called Christkindl markets, enliven squares throughout Germany. The most famous is here in Nuremberg. It’s a festive swirl of the heartwarming sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas.

Long a center of toy making in Germany, a woody and traditional ambiance prevails. Nutcrackers are characters of authority: Uniformed, strong-jawed, and able to crack the tough nuts.

Smokers, with their fragrant incense wafting, feature common folk, like this village toy maker. Prune people, with their fig body, walnut head, and prune limbs, are dolled up in Bavarian folk costumes.

And hovering above it all is the golden Rausch angel, an icon of Christmas in Nuremberg. “Rausch” is the sound of wind blowing through its wings. It’s a favorite for capping family Christmas trees.

Bakeries crank out old-fashioned gingerbread — the Lebkuchen Nuremberg — using the original 17th-century recipe. Back then, Nuremberg was the gingerbread capital of the world, and its love affair with gingerbread lives on.

Shoppers can also munch the famous Nuremberg bratwurst, skinny as your little finger. And sip hot spiced wine.

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As in so many cultures, kids love their local version of Santa Claus. While Santa is a legend, his character is based on St. Nicholas, a kind and generous bishop who actually lived in Turkey in the 4th century.

Holiday gift giving, especially in Catholic regions, is often associated with the feast day of St. Nicholas, December 6.

But Germany is Luther country. Back in the early 1500s, the great reformer, Martin Luther, wanted to humanize the Christmas story by shifting the focus away from the saints and back onto the birthday boy, Jesus.

Rather than jolly old St. Nick bringing the goodies on December 6th, Luther established the idea that gifts would be given on the 25th by the Christ Child or, in German, “Christkind.”

But for kids, it was hard to imagine the little baby in the manger delivering gifts.

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So an angel served as the gift-giving Christ child. And somehow the angel came to be represented by a young girl.

She spends her reign spreading the joy of the season. The Christkind concludes by telling the enthralled children, “If you’re very, very gentle, you can touch my wings.”

Nuremberg’s favorite angel then leads her fans into the children’s section of the market where expertly bundled kids enjoy a Christmas wonderland.

The Christkind isn’t the only one handing out good cheer. Carolers spread the joy of Christmas using the town’s historic courtyards as impromptu concert venues. And here in the land of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart, seasonal music fills the churches.

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Star of Bethlehem. The grandest traditional Christmas celebration takes place in Bethlehem in the Holy Land (Israel). True or false?

Manger. Christmas markets in Germany are in brick-and-mortar shops and only feature toys and gifts. Is this right or wrong?

Nativity Scene. Is Berlin the gift, arts and crafts center of Germany? What are some examples of traditional Christmas gifts?

Three Wise Men. The main symbol of Christmas in Germany is the star of Bethlehem. Is this correct or incorrect?

Winter Wonderland. Was the original or historic Santa Claus an American saint? Is the modern Santa Clause based on an American saint?

Wreaths. In Germany, does a little baby represent the Christkind or Christ Child? Does she mainly lecture to children to be good, study hard and obey their parents?

Mistletoe. Are German Christmases a quiet time?
Santa Claus. In my country, Christmas is the greatest event of the year. Yes or no? Does Christmas have long, colorful tradition?

Christmas Tree, Christmas Ornaments. How is Christmas celebrated in your town, city and country? Has it always been celebrated this way? How was it celebrated in the past?

Christmas Stocking. What is the main theme of Christmas? What is the central theme of Christmas? Has it changed over the years?

Christmas Markets. Christmas has become too commercialized. What do you think? Does everyone feel the same way about Christmas?

Gifts, Presents. What might happen in the future?

Christmas Lights, Candles. What could or should people, businesses and governments do?

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