~ How do you say Merry Christmas in Germany ? "Frohe Weihnachten" ~

According to legend, on Christmas Eve in Germany rivers turn to wine, animals speak to each other, tree blossoms bear fruit, mountains open up to reveal precious gems, and church bells can be heard ringing from the bottom of the sea. Of course, only the pure in heart can witness this Christmas magic. All others must content themselves with traditional German celebrating, of which there is plenty. As a matter of fact, there is so much celebrating that is has to begin on December 6th, St. Nicholas Day.



As in many other European countries, on the eve of Dec. 6th children place a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the children are written. If they have been good, he fills the shoe or boot with delicious holiday edibles. If they have not been good, their shoe is filled with twigs.

December 21st, supposedly the shortest day (longest night) of the year, is dubbed St. Thomas Day. In parts of the Sauerland, whoever wakes up late or arrives late to work on that day is issued the title "Thomas Donkey." They are given a cardboard donkey and are the subject of numerous jokes throughout the day. But this gentle abuse ends deliciously with round, iced currant buns called "Thomasplitzchen."


miam !


This is all preliminary to the excitement of Christmas Eve. Prior to the evening feast, is the presentation of the tree. The Christmas tree, as we know it, originated in Germany. It has a mysterious magic for the young because they are not allowed to see it until Christmas Eve. While the children are occupied with another room (usually by Father) Mother brings out the Christmas tree and decorates it with apples, candy, nuts, cookies, cars, trains, angels, tinsel, family treasures and candles or lights. The presents are placed under the tree. Somewhere, close to the bright display are laid brilliantly decorated plates for each family member, loaded with fruits, nuts, marzipan, chocolate and biscuits. When all is ready a bell is rung as a signal for the children to enter this Christmas fantasy room. Carols are sung, sometimes sparklers are lit, the Christmas story is read and gifts are opened.




As you wander through the many traditional Christmas markets, discover a piece of German hospilitality. Sniff the aroma of freshly roasted almonds and gingerbread spices. Warm your hands and your heart with a hearty swig of mulled wine and let yourself be enchanted by the sound of christmas trumpets and choirs.

In Germany, Christmas is symbolized by the famous stollen, a traditional holiday bread that derives from a tradition more than 500 years old. Stollen are traditionally made from the end of September until the end of December. They are a breakfast fruit bread, filled with marzipan, served either hot or cold. The pleasure of stollen is even greater the second day at breakfast explains Bernd Kütscher, when you bite into a toasted slice, slathered with butter! There are numerous varieties of stollen, including one that looks like a large filled crêpe. In fact, it's a cake studded with rum-soaked candied fruits, filled with almond cream and folded over to enclose the filling. This particular variety symbolizes the baby Jesus wrapped in his swaddling clothes. If you ask bakers in Dresden for their recipe, they won't tell you. What they will say is that you'll need the finest candied fruits and nuts, the freshest eggs and butter for this holiday sweet bread.


une petite part s'il vous plait !


At Christmas many German town centers have street markets with stalls selling cookies, arts and crafts, wooden toys and other festive items. Almost every street corner seems to boast Bratwurst and Glühwein stalls. It's amazing how revived one can feel after a small glass of warm, spicy red wine. This is a basic recipe, but in Germany, stalls will offer you additional flavorings such as elderberry cordial or a shot of dark rum. Heat your Glühwein in a large saucepan on the stove or in a large jug in the microwave, but don't let it boil or the alcohol will evaporate.