In Germany, the Christmas season begins with Advent. A wreath of evergreens with four red candles is hung in the home. One candle is lit on each Sunday before Christmas.
Decorating the tree is an important part of the Christmas celebration. Besides using ornaments, lights, and tinsel, the German people also hang cookies (shaped like people, animals, hearts, or stars ) on the branches.
St. Nicholas visits the children on Dec.6th and leaves candy and other sweets. Children leave notes with St. Nicholas, telling him what they want. Children believe gifts are brought by the Christ Child (called Christkindl). The gifts are opened on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Eve families go to church, then feast on a large dinner of roast goose or duck (stuffed with apples), "stollen" (Christmas bread) and marzipan candy. After dinner, the children are allowed to eat the candies and the cookies that are hung on the tree. Some families also have a gingerbread house covered with candies, cookies and tiny decorations.
A hat, scarf, gloves, knife and fork are needed to play this game. You also need a dice and a wrapped chocolate bar.
A Christmas game, from Germany
Players take turns throwing the dice. When one gets a double, he quickly puts on the hat, scarf and gloves and tries to open the bar, using only the knife and fork. He eats as much as he can, still using only the knife and the fork.
Meanwhile, the other players, keep throwing the dice.If another player throws a double, then it is their turn to take the hat, scarf, mittens and put them on to take his turn at the bar. This game goes on until the bar has been eaten.
Christmas activities for home or classroom
- 1. Each child draws a pair of shoes .Then find or draw pictures of cookies,candies, and small toys to glue onto the shoes.
- 2. Each child makes an Advent calendar by cutting 25 paper strips out of construction paper. Make a paper chain, and on the 25th loop draw a big gold star to represent Christmas day. Hang up the paper chains (at home or at school) and remove one loop each day. When the last loop (with the star) is left, it is Christmas. (extra -you can hang up the chain from a big bow )
- 3. Make a fake gingerbread house from a small box or a small milk/cream carton Cover the carton with graham wafers, and use candies and pretzels to decorate your house. Make white icing to use as snow on the roof and around the windows and doors of the house.
- 4. Learn the German song - O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree)
- 5. German words - Guten Tag (hello), Auf Wiedersehen(good-bye), Danke (thank you)
- 6. German food - Pretzels , frankfurters, gingerbread cookies, stollen (a Christmas bread with fruits and nuts)