Updated: Jan 25, 2020
By Emma Harvey
When it comes to Christmas, no one does it better than Germany. Christmas time in Germany has a certain traditional and heart-warming feel – a sense of Gemütlichkeit. At the end of November, the German Christmas season begins.
Festive Christmas markets open in the heart of most German cities and villages, selling wonderful arrays of traditional culinary specialities and hand-crafted goods such as Glühwein, Lebkuchen, Weihnachtsstollen, Gebrannte Mandeln and Weihnachtspyramiden out of little, wooden huts. Farmers markets and shops begin selling Adventskranz, a traditional German advent wreath topped with four candles, used to count down the days until Christmas. Each Sunday one of the candles is lit until all four burn together on Christmas Eve.
Before going to bed on 5th December, children polish their boots and place them outside of their doors in anticipation of Sankt Nikolaus coming to fill their boots overnight with treats such as nuts, oranges and chocolates. On Christmas Eve (Heiliger Abend), families get together to celebrate Christmas, decorate the Christmas tree, eat traditional food and exchange presents.
Christkindlmärkte or Weihnachtsmärkte traditionally began in German-speaking parts of Europe in the Middle Ages but have spread throughout the world. The markets celebrate the Christmas season during Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas. Today, the festive markets are known for selling regional treats and crafts, as well as spreading Christmas cheer. The majority of German Christmas markets will open next week, so here is a rundown of some of the best ones to visit this holiday season!