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Christmas in Germany
Christmastime is a peaceful time in Germany. Since it’s only light for a few hours every day in December, people decorate their windows, gardens, or even their entire houses with holiday lights.
The four weeks before Christmas are called Advent. During this time, the house or apartment is decorated for Christmas – for example with a carved nutcracker, Christmas cards that have already arrived, or Christmas wreaths. These wreaths, made of fir branches, are either hung on the wall or placed on the table. As a table decoration, the wreath has four candles. The first one is lit on the first of Advent (the Sunday four weeks before Christmas), and on each following Advent Sunday, one more candle is lit.
Because children can hardly wait for Christmas, there is a special invention just for them: the Advent calendar. This is a calendar with 24 little doors. Every day from December 1 to December 24, the children can open a little door and find a small surprise behind it, usually a piece of chocolate.
And then it’s finally time! On the morning of December 24, the Christmas tree is put up. It’s decorated with ornaments, tinsel and holiday lights, and on the very top either a star or an angel is placed.
Santa Claus comes on the evening of December 24, which is called the Holy Evening. But in Germany Santa Claus doesn’t come down the chimney – he rings at the door instead. Then everyone has to recite a Christmas poem or sing a Christmas song before receiving their gifts. In some families, though, no one is at home when Santa Claus comes. In that case, however he gets into the house, he places the presents under the Christmas tree.