Counting Down The Days to Christmas- A German Tradition

I would like to share something very special with you in this post. As most of you know I was born and raised in Germany. For people like you living in Ireland or the UK or anywhere else in the world you might not know how we are preparing in the run up to Christmas and what we do before Christmas even arrives. I managed to put a little collection of traditions together. Christmas is always a special time of the year in my opinion. There is Halloween and Easter during the year too of course but Christmas makes it always that extra special to me. It is where all the family gathers together. I might live in Ireland for ten years now but I love taking my home country traditions with me.

Come December 1st the Advent time starts. Every Sunday of December is an Advent. So there is 4 Advents until Christmas. In this time we create a wreath with 4 candles around it. Each candle represents an Advent and will be lit on the Sunday. My mum used to make these from scratch. We would go out in the garden or the graveyard (out garden had door onto the local graveyard, I know spooky but I grew up with it) and pick up some branches to make it. She did some gorgeous pieces. I have been continuing making these myself. The first is actually the coming Sunday this year. I really need to start on the Christmas stuff very soon.


I love this time of the year because it’s so cosy having candles in the house and it makes it even more special and exciting to look forward to the Christmas period.

The next tradition is particularly for all kids out there. I used to love this day as a child.

On December 6th it’s “Nikolaus Day“. The night before the 6th every child cleans their shoes and puts them out hoping that Nikolaus will call during the night and fill them with sweets and fruit. I had 3 pairs out or even more but they were always filled with lovely things (thanks mum, you were too good πŸ™‚ ) But beware, the bold kids get a rod from Nikolaus (That actually never happens- even though I remember getting one for fun)

Nikolaustag Karte Hintergrund

Next up is a tradition that would be popular all over the world at this stage. The advent calendar.


24 Windows filled with chocolate that represents each day in December. Doesn’t have to be just chocolate though. There are so many cute advent calendars out there now that can be filled with anything. Last year we actually had a toy advent calendar from WOW toys. Matthew loved it. I think this year it may be just a chocolate one for the kids and one that we have to fill ourselves.

If you happen to be in Germany the middle of December you definitely have to go to the Christmas Market. It’s a market normally in the centre of town or in the market square of town.


A must is to drink a hot mulled wine. Yum, even the thought of it I would love one right now.Β  Wrapped up warm and the wine standing in the middle of the market is the best thing ever. There is something I love eating at a Christmas market too and I actually made it last year for Christmas. They were going down a treat. They are called “Mutzen”. I published the recipe last year so you can find it again here. I made a whole batch. It’s basically dough which you fry in the deep fryer. DELICIOUS.

Because I live in Ireland now for the past ten years, I am trying to keep both traditions, Irish and German which is only fair I think.
This means come Christmas Eve December 24th we unwrap some presents after having coffee/tea and cake around 5pm. Half of the other presents will be kept for the morning that the Irish Santa left.

In Germany we normally put up the Christmas tree December 23rd. I like the Irish tradition better as the tree goes up December 6th. I love my decorations so I am always getting so excited being able to put up the tree so early. It will be interesting this year because Chloe is on the move.

What’s the tradition in your country? Would you do any of the ones listed or maybe plan to add on, now that you read about it?


23 thoughts on “Counting Down The Days to Christmas- A German Tradition

  1. It’s so interesting reading about Christmas traditions from other countries, I’ve always thought Germany seems to do the occasion very well! I’d love to go to a proper German Christmas Market one day, can’t see it happening for a while though as it’d be too hard to fit a trip abroad around the school holidays.

  2. The pictures here are just gorgeous. My Mum always used to go to the German Christmas markets and the things she brought home were gorgeous..

  3. Hi Sarah, we can connect no problem. My fiance is Irish and I am German but because all we speak at home is English and I don’t have any other German connections, my kids don’t know any German but I am trying my best.

  4. We will be putting up the tree in 2 weekends time. We start off the Xmas period by going to see the Coca Cola truck on Sunday. x

  5. I love this! We are a German/ English family and celebrate the German and English traditions, My children love Nicolaustag as they get something their friends do not! I’d love to connect with you about your multilingual and multicultural family.

  6. I love reading about different traditions. We try and put our tree up the first weekend of December. I like how u get so many different ideas for advent these days and don’t do just chocolate.

  7. Yeah, I think it is only the UK and Ireland where you open up the presents on the 25th. Eastern European countries seem to be the 24th. x

  8. I lived under the same roof as my grandparents. So I got the same experience as you did. It was lovely. x

  9. This post has bought back wonderful memories of sitting down on a December sunday at my grandma’s for dinner and lighting the advent candle. Us children got to take it in turns and it was always so exciting and made December go so quickly πŸ™‚
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  10. You just need to have it timed right. πŸ™‚ in Germany we normally have tea and cake around 3.30pm. So 5pm the opening presents starts.

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