Christmas Confusion

A Christmas with a difference

I am sure you are aware that we English celebrate Christmas in a different way to people in Germany. The most obvious difference is that presents are not opened until Christmas Day, 25th December. This can prove a bit of a challenge when you have children and live as an expat in Germany.

When we first moved here, the easiest option was to flea to England to stay with family over Christmas. Later, however, Father Christmas had to make a special stopover in Witten – to a house without a chimney.


Here in Germany tradition is that the Christkind comes on 24th December and the sounding of a bell and a sprinkle of angel dust is proof of his/her visit. This tradition is charming and I am always astounded how animated the kids are when they tell of the mystery of the Christkind. All I can think is that it’s a logistic nightmare for the parents keeping the kids busy whilst the tree is decorated etc.

Try explaining to your 2 sons why all their friends have already opened their presents which miraculously appeared under the tree in daylight! In our house they had to wait til the next morning to empty their Christmas stocking which lay at the end of their bed.

I have a question: who is the Weihnachtsmann? He isn’t St. Nicholas (Sankt Nikolaus) because he fills our boots with goodies on 6th December. Has he been adopted from America?  I would love to hear from you because I am a little confused. Is it possible for both the Christkind and the Weihnachtsmann to bring presents to the same house?

It is not easy living in another society with different traditions or beliefs. Sometimes you have to compromise but, ultimately, you do what you feel is right for you and your family, so long as you show respect towards others.

The main thing is that you and your family enjoy the time together. Merry Christmas!! Ho, ho, ho!

One thought on “Christmas Confusion

  1. As far as I know is St. Nichalos the guy who originally brang the presents. The “Christkind” was the protestant answer of St. Nicholas. The Christkind is mostly present in catholic areas.

    The “Weihnachtsman” (Santa Claus) is a european and fictional figure that was exported to the United States through Dutchman. Santa Claus was created by using poems within the 18th centuary. Over time Santa Claus supplanted the Christkind and is bringing presents on 24th December or in the night to 25th December.

    Apart from that is Santa Claus a mixture of at least two figures: St. Nichalos and Farmhand Rupert (Knecht Ruprecht).

    Though the most important thing for me isn’t who brings the presents but to have some happy time with family. Sadly this is one of the few days family can come together and I wished it was more often the case.

    Merry Christmas!

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