I’m a day late, but Frohe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas)!
This Christmas I joined a German family for their celebrations. In doing so, I experienced some differences between how Germans (in the south at least) celebrate Christmas and how Americans celebrate Christmas. Here are the top three differences I’ve found:
No. 1: The Family Dinner
In the States, in my family at least, we have a Christmas dinner on December 25 with the whole family. From what I’ve heard in my German class and experienced, Germans have their dinners on December 24, Christmas Eve.
That’s not to say that there is no meal on Christmas. My host family also had a lunch with the other side of the family on Christmas Day, followed by dessert at the grandparents’ house.
No. 2: Christmas Songs
This past month I’ve heard the most annoying American Christmas songs in the stores. Despite what the mall, grocery store, and other shops play during the holiday season, Germans have their own traditional Christmas Carols. Some of them are the same that Americans sing (Stille Nacht is Silent Night).
The major difference here? In the States, the only time we ever sang Christmas songs was when we were forced to dress up and do those silly recitals in elementary school. Here, they actually sing them with their families. Sure, the young ones roll their eyes, but they do it all the same.
No. 3: Presents
The major difference between how I’ve always done Christmas in the States and how Germans do it is the giving of gifts. In the States, everyone wakes up on Christmas day to presents under the tree and proceeds to rip them open.
Not in Germany. Here, we exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve. It felt weird, because it was early to me. It almost seemed like we were mischievous kids opening our presents early.
That’s my take on Christmas here. My only complaint is that there still is no Schnee. At least the weather is fantastic to make up for it. I even went for a bike ride today.