This year, we decided to decorate in the spirit of the season around the world, highlighting a few different countries and taking our inspiration from them.
Christmas in Germany
Traditionally, the day of gift giving in Germany is the 6th of December - St Nikolaus day. The night before, children leave their slippers or shoes out by their door or window and in the morning they are full of candy, fruit and small gifts. St. Nikolaus, who wears a bishop’s hat and red velvet robe is followed around by a dark sidekick. In some areas of Germany it is "Knecht Ruprecht", a man dressed in dark robes and a dark beard who carries around braches to beat children who have been bad! An even scarier version is "Krampus" a devil like character who fills the same role.
illustration by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
Advent is a very big part of the Christmas celebration. Advent wreathes (Adventskranz) are very common- made out of pine branches, berries and ribbon with four candles, one candle gets lit each Sunday up until Christmas to mark the waiting for Christ's birth. Advent celebrations are also common in villages - at night booths are set up in the main square, and logs are stood around and lit on fire. Everyone drinks warm spiced wine, eats bratwurst and the children stick dough on the end of long sticks to cook over the firelogs.
In general, the aesthetic of the holiday is a very natural and nostalgic one- famous German ornaments are made out of shiny glass or carved wood, and houses and towns are decorated with fresh trees and berries and branches.
The Christmas tree itself is of German origin (called Tannenbaum). They are typically set up on Christmas Eve and decorated with lighted candles, tinsel, and candy etc. The song "Oh Christmas Tree" is of German origin as is the popular Silent Night.
Enjoy the Season!