What it's Like Living in the Epicenter of German Christmas Season
Living in Germany for over five years now, I should be used to the inexplicable fervor that comes with the holiday season.
The entirety of downtown Nürnberg strung with lights, the purposeful unveiling of 19th century wooden booths, promptly festooned with hand-crafted Nutcrackers and other medieval wooden trinkets, Glühwein at 10 AM, don’t mind if I do. It’s positively festive, and even a Scrooge like me can’t help but marvel each year in all of its Old-world delightfulness.
I say it often as a marketing ploy to get my friends to visit, but it's true, Nuremberg is possibly the oldest and most famous of the German Christkindlmärkte and consistently on the lists of European Christmas Market musts.
It’s been around since 1628, with holiday staples like Lebkuchen (gingerbread) the Christmas tree and the concept of Weihnachtsgeschenke (Christmas presents) originating right here in upper-Franconia.
What I love about German Christmas is that it’s so embedded into the culture it has become part of the daily zeitgeist. It's not as much about material gifts as it is five-hour meals, spontaneous group walks through the forest and unannounced visits with copious Kuchen. House gifts or Mitbringsel are brought for even quick visits throughout the year. The tenets of giving, receiving and social benefits of spending time with friends and family are deeply rooted in German culture.
They have a word for this coziness of home and hearth: Gemütlichkeit. Because in Germany, it's Christmas every day of the year.