Don’t you find that we’re approaching Christmas (almost too) fast now? We’re already dashing around getting Christmas presents sorted, placing our food orders, organising get-togethers and writing our Christmas cards (if you’re still doing them). And we still need to squeeze in a craft day with the children or an afternoon to bake some Christmas biscuits. On my list are vanilla crescent biscuits (Vanillekipferl), shortbread and butter biscuits (Butterplätzchen). Or maybe you would give it a go baking a Stollen? I never made one by myself, but Christie Dietz from ‘A sausage has two‘, who writes lovely blogs about German food has got a ‘failsafe’ recipe, which you can see here. Can you maybe share a nice vanilla crescent biscuit recipe with us (in English)? Thank you!
Despite the amount of preparation needed to have a perfect Christmas, it’s important that we remind ourselves to have a pause in between the madness!
How the British and Germans celebrate Christmas
Even though there seems to be a million things to do, there’s so much to enjoy about Christmas. What I particularly love about the British Christmas celebrations is the fun leading up to Christmas with all the Christmas parties and be able to let your hair down. Having a Christmas party with traditional Christmas songs, party nibbles and Christmas decorations isn’t something that is common in Germany but it’s certainly something that I’ve taken on in my family.
However, I do like the German tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve. In our family, as with many other German families, it’s customary to dress up in something festive and start the celebrations around 4pm – when many of British people are still rushing around Waitrose, Tesco’s or Sainsbury’s! The presents are delivered by Father Christmas just before this time and children will start the crazy unwrapping procedure at around 4 or 5pm. Afterwards, the whole family sits down to a festive dinner of Turkey, Carp, Goose, Duck or just Frankfurters with potato salad.
Time to get into the festive mood
In the lead-up to Christmas, I think it’s the perfect time to book a weekend away and to enjoy the festivities without all the rushing around. It’s important to relax and spend some quality time with friends and family.
In Germany, many people are already getting excited about going to a Christmas market. There’s nothing like the smell of Glühwein (mulled wine), roasted almonds and sampling the regional specialities to get you in the festive mood! Wandering around the stalls to find that just right gift and enjoying the magical atmosphere is what people love about the Christmas markets.
Of course, the UK has some good markets too but many of the Brits I’ve spoken to say that they enjoy going to the country where the Christmas market originated from. The German markets are often located in historical market squares or in the grounds of impressive castles. The further south you go, the colder it gets – making a hot Glühwein taste even better! The warm, twinkling lights and child-friendly activities like Santa’s grotto, the puppet theatres, carousels and ice-rinks all make these markets a truly magical experience.
I’m off to three Christmas markets this year
If you don’t know already, I’m a huge fan of Christmas markets. Whenever I go back to my home country, I always make sure and squeeze in a visit to a Christmas market while I’m there. This year, I’m going to introduce you to quite an unusual and very pretty Christmas market. If you’d like to see it, tune in when I do my live events from there. You’ll get a notification once I’m live if you like and follow my Facebook page @nadjasgermany.
Experience a Christmas market in a castle
As well as the larger markets, there are many smaller, more intimate markets worth discovering. Satzvey, Hohenzollern, Benrath, Thurn und Taxis and Dyck castles are just some of the very special markets that have an enchanting atmosphere. Trier and Bernkastel-Kues also have lovely markets surrounded by the romantic scenery of the Rhineland-Palatinate region.
It’s not too late to book your Christmas market trip
As you may have already noticed, I have created some great itineraries for Bremen, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Trier and Bernkastel-Kues that I’d be happy to share with you. They include flight suggestions with direct links to the airline to make it easy for you to book your flights. I also offer ten tailor-made itineraries each month where I’ll put together an itinerary to suit your personal requirements. I can make transport suggestions and give tips on how to get from A to B once you’ve arrived in Germany.
My tips come from either personal experience or from friends who are local to help you avoid those tourist traps. So please don’t hesitate to contact me if you fancy doing a last-minute trip, or if you’d like to surprise your partner but don’t have the time to organise it.
If you’re off to one of the markets starting next week (23rd November), I wish you a wonderful start to the Christmas season. I’d really appreciate it if you could share your experiences here. Watch out for my photo and video contest, which I’ll be announcing on my Facebook page very soon.
NOTE: Bear in mind that most Christmas markets are closed on Sunday 25th November (Rememberance Day)! Some markets open at 6pm for two to three hours, but I advise you to check before you go!
Romantic Christmas markets in Germany History of Christmas markets in Germany