Write a Letter to Christkind in Germany

If you believe in the Christkind, then send your letter to Himmelpforten, a small town west of Hamburg in the district of Stade in Lower Saxony.

You may start  your letter with ‘Dear Christkind’ or ‘Dear Santa’ (much less common). Here in Germany (mostly the central and southern part) as well as Austria, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Slovakia and Switzerland, children get their presents from the Christkind on Christmas Eve. The word Christkind translates to Christ Child. If you write from northern Germany, you might address your letter to the Weihnachtsmann (Santa).
 

Frohe Weihnachten!

The post office in Himmelpforten, which translates to Heaven’s Gates, will process your wish list. I don’t know if you get anything from your list, this depends on whether you’ve been good or bad. 🙂
The post office lets you address your letter to either one of them, both the Christkind and the Weihnachtsmann (Santa).
An das Christkind
21709 Himmelpforten
But the address in itself, says: To the Christkind
No worries, if you don’t know German. Most Germans, placed in a professional setting, can handle letters written in English too.
In German, children write a Wunschzettel (wish list) to the Christkind (or Weihnachtsmann), which is a much more direct statement than just ‘writing a letter’ to Santa.

Nikolaus or Santa for Deutsche Bahn

Even the Deutsche Bahn confuses Nikolaus (St. Nicholas, a religious figure, prominent on 6 Dec) with the American Santa.

They called this a Nikolaus Überraschungsaktion 2012 (St. Nicholas surprise event), and yes, I was surprised to see 400 Santas singing instead of 400 Saint Nicholas.

What both Nikolaus and Santa have in common is their probable age, beard, and red outfit. That’s where it ends.

St. Nicholas brings small presents on 6 Dec and Santa may bring bigger ones on 25 Dec.

To add a bit more to this confusion, most Germans have the Christkind deliver the presents on Christmas Eve, 24 December.

Nice try, Deutsche Bahn.

[youtube LJyda7XKNZQ&sns=fb]

More about St. Nicholas on wikipedia.

Christmas Pack 1

“Christmas Pack 1” is a collection of 13 transcripts, each in their own PDF file. The pack is a ZIP file containing the 13 PDFs and is available from the AllThingsGerman Download Store.

The transcripts in this pack are:

To find out more, visit the AllThingsGerman Download Store.

Der Weihnachtsmann

The Weihnachtsmann has an unusual roll to play in German Christmas celebrations. In some parts of Germany, mainly in the North, he is said to bring the presents to the children on Christmas Eve. In much of Germany and especially in the South this is the job of the Christkind.

The confusion seems to have come about because of the different way that the protestant and catholic religions celebrated Christmas in the past.

The Weihnachtsmann is generally portrayed in a way that Father Christmas or Santa Claus is in other countries with a red and white gown and riding behind reindeer. Except that children do not leave out stockings for their presents – they do that with their boots for Nikolaus.

And whilst most films and even locally made television programmes will talk about the Weihnachtsmann, children are more usually asked “what did the Christkind bring you for Christmas”.

With the North/South divide making it easily possible for families to mix both traditions, adding a foreign element when other nationalities are involved just adds to the chaos!

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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