Christmas Traditions




depict wreath light/lit/lit
eve Advent Christmas Eve
fir grace (2) decoration
mood wooden ornamental
afford bauble handmade
roast goodies when it comes to
prove used to bear in mind
dye feature permanent
set (2) gather set the mood
task figurine go all out
touch order (3) touch the heart
set up tender my goodness
scene nativity household
faith candle expression (2)
holy Savior stable (2)
trend manger focal point
reach play (2) celebrate
carol attend compose
lyrics long for translate
priest turmoil embrace
verse invent no matter
gift custom exchange
region replace it depends
carp trim (2) wee hours
avoid festivity goose/geese
crispy gourmet heart (2)
taste deliver impression
triple imagine sufficient






The fourth candle on many a German Advent wreath has been lit. Now there’s just time to get a tree; but a few wait as late as Christmas Eve to buy one.

Generally, around twenty-five (25) million Nordmann firs grace German homes during the holidays. Germans prefer traditional decorations for the tree, like wooden figurines from Erzgebirge Mountains and ornamental stars from the Herbucher Company, and handmade glass ornaments from Lauschter from eastern Germany.

The middle-classes started the tradition of hanging decorative balls in the mid-nineteenth (19th) century. The baubles were too expensive for poor families to afford.

Thomas Macho, Cultural Scientist: “When it comes to modern ways of trimming a tree, it naturally depends on what materials and colors can be produced in sufficient quality and quantity.

We should bear in mind that the permanent chemical dyes used to color various materials weren’t invented until 1859, only after that the world became as colorful as we’re used to seeing it now.”

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Usually in Germany, families gather to trim the tree on the morning of December the twenty-fourth. It sets the mood for the festivities. Scandinavians finish the task at least a day earlier.

Frank Hesselmann, Royal Tannenbaum Senior Designer: “A well-trimmed tree has to touch your heart. You’ve got to look at it, and your first impression should be, ‘my goodness, what a beautiful tree’.”

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One in two German households sets up a nativity scene, usually on Christmas Eve as well. Others set theirs up for Advent.

The nativity scene is an expression of the Christian faith, depicting the holy night their Savior was born. Mary and Joseph stand in the stable with the baby Jesus in the manger. It is said that the nativity scene may have been set up in Prague around four centuries ago.

Gustel Hertling is one of Germany’s best-known nativity scene makers.

Gustel Hertling, Nativity Scene Collector: “I couldn’t image Christmas without them. Nativity is the focal point of Christmas, the event we all celebrate.”

Afternoon church services featuring Nativity plays are family favorites, and almost half of all Germans go to church on Christmas Eve. There’s no other day of the year when more people in Germany attend the service.

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One of the world’s best-known carols is Silent Night. It was composed in 1818 by village school teacher, Franz Gruber, to lyrics by a Salzburg priest Joseph Mohr. It’s been translated into three-hundred languages.

Brigitte Gstattner, Local History Expert: “This song sends a message of peace. People longed for peace after the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars. One verse mentions Jesus as embracing all the world’s peoples as brothers. People want peace, and this message reaches them, no matter what their nationality or religion might be.

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Gifts are exchanged on the evening of the twenty-fourth (24th). Custom has it that Santa Claus brings them, at least in Protestant regions. In predominantly Catholic parts of the country, the Christmas Angel comes secretly to hand out goodies.

In Britain, kids have to wait until Christmas day to open presents brought by Father Christmas during the wee hours of December the twenty-fifth (25th).

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In Germany, after gift-giving, it’s time to eat. Popular meals include potato salad and carp. They’re easy to prepare. But some people go all out and roast a goose.

To avoid stress on Christmas Eve, some people have a prepared goose delivered: a Berlin company, Goose to Go, will deliver a gourmet meal to your door for a hundred-twenty-five euros (€125).

Michaela Mehls, Orders a Goose: “It’s really very relaxing to order them — and they taste just the way they should: crispy outside, tender inside.”

Almost seventy percent (70%) of Germans spend Christmas Eve at home with the family. The other thirty percent (30%) go on holiday, a number that has tripled in recent years, proving that sometimes trends can even replace traditions.

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Christmas. People buy trees to keep in their houses for seventy years. True or false?

New Year’s.
Have Christmas tree decorations remained the same, unchanged throughout the centuries?

Lunar New Year.
What is the Nativity Scene? Describe the Nativity. Did it originate in Italy?

Valentine’s Day.
Church attendances remains constant (the same) throughout the year. Yes or no?

What is “Silent Night”? Was it composed by an American? What was its historical message or meaning?

Easter. In every nation, it is Santa Claus who brings presents to good children. Is this right or wrong?

Arbor Day.
Does everyone prepare and have turkey as a Christmas feast?
Mother’s Day.
Christmas is a very important holiday in my country. Yes or no? Is it similar to the German Christmas celebration?

Independence Day.
Do people decorate their homes with trees, ornaments and decorations?

What sort of Christmas gifts have you received? What would you and your friends like from Santa Claus?

End of Harvest Festival.
What will happen in the future?

People have forgotten the true spirit of Christmas, and Christmas has become too commercialized. What do you think?

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