American Christmas Traditions from Germany

Several of the following are traditional German Christmas celebration items or events some which have become population in America, brought by the millions of German immigrants.

A favorite, especially for children is St. Nicholas day, where German children leave their shoes out overnight in hopes that St. Nick will stop by and fill them with treats (if they’ve been good, of course). The American version has become Santa Claus who comes down the chimney to leave gifts under the Christmas tree. Of course the having of a green pine tree and decorating it came from Germany also.

To decorate the Christmas tree has been the proud German tradition of creating glass-blown ornaments to adorn their trees. The town in Germany, Lauscha, has a long century-long history of making glass-blown ornaments.

A popular treat for people of all ages is the gingerbread made with honey and a variety of spices which includes ginger. The traditional gingerbread house also began in Germany in the 1500s. These cookie-houses are always popular, making one or eating it.

Another popular Christmas treat is the German Stollen, a sweet bread made with fruits, nuts, and spices. It is similar to the English fruitcake.

A German tradition for good luck is the ‘Christmas Pickle’. It is a pickle-shaped ornament hidden somewhere on a Christmas tree. Whoever finds it first is said to have good lick in the new year.

Then the Christmas tradition of seeing the production of the ‘Nutcracker’ by a German author and composer, E. T. A. Hoffman published in 1816. It wasn’t until 1892 that the Nutcracker ballet started in Russia.

Photos: Gingerbread House; the Christmas Pickle on a tree; and German Stollen.

Related Blogs:

Ethnic Christmas Traditions

Hometown Traditions

Christmas Lights in the late 1880s

< Return To Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.