Christmas Holiday Essay

1578 Words 7 Pages
I am usually very hesitant when trying new things especially when I am in a foreign place. I tend to seek what is familiar and comfortable. Two years ago, I had the good fortune to travel to Heidelberg, Germany for a work function for a week during November. It was the start of the Christmas season and the town and market areas were beautiful. As it turned out, my trip that year was a wonderful experience because of the food, culture as well as the shopping experience. As I walked around the beautiful Christmas market area or the Christkindlmarkt, I realized that despite cultural differences, there were also many similarities in the way we celebrate Christmas in the US vs Germany. Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea to choose …show more content…
Germany also celebrates several days during the month of December with gift giving split between these days. A tradition which Germany observes is the Advent which means “coming” in Latin and is the celebration of the coming of Jesus into the world. Germans use calendars to mark the days of Advent which can be made of paper or a wreath of fir with 24 boxes hanging with a little present for each day. There are also Advent candles that are arranged in groups of 5 with one being lit each Sunday and the last middle or separate candle, which is called Heiligand, being lit on Christmas Eve in Germany (1,2). This is a religious observation and not one that is well known in the US other than the paper calendar filled with chocolate given to children. In Germany, children also receive small gifts like candy and chocolate on the 6th of December (St Nicholas Day). Children write letters to “Sankt Nikolaus” to explain their good behavior and leave it for St Nicholas. In turn, like Santa Claus, they are left with a gift. This is a religious observation in Germany and one that is not observed in the United States either. Boxing day is also observed in Germany the day after Christmas, December 26th. This originated in the UK but is observed in Germany and is …show more content…
Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition during the 16th century starting as wood pyramids decorated with evergreens and candles. According to records, the first one on display in the US was in Pennsylvania by German settlers during the 1830’s but it wasn’t until the 1890’s that the tree started to rise in popularity. (10) In Germany, the trees are usually bought in and decorated on Christmas Eve by the mother of the family as children are discouraged from decorating. In the US, Christmas trees can be displayed as early as the first day after Thanksgiving and can be decorated by anyone in the household. Also, the tradition of getting a real tree versus a fake tree in the US is still very popular. Real trees outsell fake ones with 25.9 million real trees sold versus 12.5 million fake trees, per the National Christmas Tree Association.

Related Documents