A German Family Christmas

Figure 1.--Here we see our German contributor's Christmas tree in 2004. Click on the image for a closer look at the candeles.

want to tell you something about Christmas trees in a German family. We always have real trees, no plastic trees. We buy them in December at open places or may cut them down ourselves in a forest offered by a forest ranger. The ones which we buy in the village or town mostly come from Scandinavia. Most of them are fir trees or pine trees. You may get them of size 1 m (3 feet) up to whatever you can bring into a room in your home or (official) building.

In my youth we were living in an appartment with about 3.50 m rooms. The tree was placed on a small table, thus it was of about 2.80 m. Also even during World War II, I remember having a Christmas tree. About 7 years old I accompanied my grand father for buying the tree and, one or two days before Christmas, to help him in decorating it. There were glass balls and angels'hair put to the leaves. The illumination was done by 12 electric candles. When I was about 15 years old (1950) I had to decorate the tree as my grandfather was too old to do it on a ladder. Gifts were arranged under the tree in the living room.

In the family of my wife it was a tradition to have real wax candles. When we married in 1965 and moved to our home the duty to decorate the tree remained for me, with wax candles, even after our son was born, lighted at Christmas Eve, the next days in the evening (with a second set of candles) till New Years day, and again on 6th of January which is a legal festival day ("Dreikoenigstag", remembering the three kings visiting Jesus after his birth coming from the East, "Morgenland" ) in the parts of Germany where we were living. Our tree, this year, is 2.5 m high, an angle at the top. There is no restriction to have wax candles and to light them in Germany even if you have young children in your home (fire brigade usually has some work to do at these days; it is not so dangerous as we have homes build from stone and concrete).

I attach two photos of our tree of this year 2004. I don't have pictures from my youth. In my youth we didn't have a creche (nativity set) remembering the birth of Jesus. Again, in the family of my wife it is a tradition to have one. Thus we bought modern hand-cutted wooden crib figures (in Switzerland), Maria with the child, Josef, the crib, a little herdsman (boy) with a donkey, and three kings, one riding on a camel. The crib is placed beside the tree. I attach another picture how it looks like. I plan to have two more short descriptions about Christmas habits, one about gifts - you see our gifts of this year for adults below our tree in one of the photos - for children, and another one about Christmas bakery.


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Created: 4:27 PM 12/27/2004
Last updated: 4:27 PM 12/27/2004