Christkind Brings the Presents to German Children on Christmas Eve

The Christkind is a figure in Germany that brings presents to the children on Christmas Eve, especially in the southern parts of the country.

Until the reformation in the 16th century, people in Germany did not give each other presents at Christmas, instead the children received their presents from St.Nicholas (Nikolaus) on 6th December.

Martin Luther, however, opposing the catholic saints, apparently introduced the idea of giving presents on 24th December. These were brought by the Christkind, who is often depicted in white and similar to an angel.

It is said that it comes in through the window and leaves presents around the Christmas tree, while the children are out of the room.

Even though the Weihnachtsmann (Santa) is ever more present, especially in the media, people still ask children “What did the Christkind bring you?”

Sitting on Christkind's lap

Sitting on Christkind’s lap

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast: http://bit.ly/gYfHSN
Source: Quoted from Graham Tappenden’s newsletter

Bookmark and Share

Quote of the Day

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

– Charles William Eliot –

books

Bookmark and Share

Christmas Cards from Germany

Sending Christmas cards is not a common German tradition. As a matter of fact, the only cards I get from Germans are sent by the ones who had lived overseas and are familiar with this tradition. In most German homes, they are neither hung up on the door, nor strung over the fireplace, with the latter being a rare commodity in this country anyway.

When I was a child, the only cards we ever sent were to aunts, uncles, and cousins who lived out of town. Calling each one would have been too expensive then, so a Christmas postcard was sent.

The tradition of sending Christmas greetings originated in Great Britain in the early 19th century. It was common practice to write seasonal messages on calling cards and then deliver them on the next call. Then there came the postal system and that was the beginning of sending one’s festive greetings by regular mail.

Over the years, the then rather plain German Christmas postcard has evolved into some finer Christmas cards sent in envelopes. Some of the most beautiful ones are done by the artist Allmuth Gutberlet, who paints seasonal images of the towns such as Kronberg, Bad Homburg und Oberursel.

We do appreciate her cards as they depict wintery scenes of places we know so well. This one shows St. Ursula Church.

A. Gutberlet

 Seen from the corner of the Oberursel Market Square (Marktplatz)

A. Gutberlet

Oberursel’s Historic Town Hall (Historisches Rathaus) dating from 1479

A.Gutberlet

Again, this is the Oberursel Market Square with its fountain and the street leading up to the Historic Town Hall.

A.Gutberlet

These cards can be purchased at various Christmas Markets around the region. Some of the local stationary shops sell them as well.

Is sending Christmas cards by mail bad on the environment? Should we only send digital seasonal greetings?

I do care about my personal carbon foot print in most respects, but when it comes to cards, I will stick to the non-green tradition. Call me a romantic, if you like.

Bookmark and Share

Zitat des Tages

Sobald jemand in einer Sache Meister geworden ist, sollte er in einer neuen Sache, Schüler werden.

-Gerhart Hauptmann
(deutscher Schriftsteller des Naturalismus. 1912 erhielt er den Literaturnobelpreis)

Once someone has mastered something, he should learn something new.

Birgu, Malta

Bookmark and Share

German Lesson: die Wickelkommode

My niece is about to have her first child and so my sister informed me that she could use a money present to buy the baby’s furniture. Among the needed items listed is a Wickelkommode (baby dressing table or diaper changing table). This triggered some memories for an item I never had, a Wickelkommode.

I have raised two children and didn’t need one. I guess the reason being was that our first child was born in Japan and we occupied a tiny teachers housing flat, with tatami mat rooms. First of all, these apartments are not equipped to room a baby changing table. Also, the traditional Japanese mom changes her baby’s diaper on the tatami floor, which I did too.

And one thing I never had to worry about was the baby rolling off the dresser.

A few years later, when we came to Germany and we had our second child, I continued changing the baby’s diaper on the floor, just the way I had learned it in Japan and I had gotten very used to it as well.

A Wickelkommode, in my viewpoint, is a very commercial item. It is much more comfortable being on the floor with the baby, there is plenty of room to put items aside, it is more relaxing, and does not cost a cent.

 

Bookmark and Share