German Christmas: Important Holiday Terms To Learn

23 November 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House

Unsplash: Alexander Schimmeck

The start of the yuletide season in Germany creeps in as soon as German sweets like Lebkuchen, Spekulatius, and Pfeffernüsse hit the supermarket shelves. But the real countdown begins on the first day of Advent.

"Adventszeit" is the name for the season of Advent, which lasts from December 1 through December 24. During this time, people use an advent calendar to mark the days leading up to Christmas Eve. On the days before Christmas Eve, children and adults open the windows of the advent calendar and find little knick-knacks that are sometimes in the shape of a star or a tree. You could say that these treats help make the wait more fun and interesting. As the saying goes, patience is a virtue.

Jimmy Fallon

Giphy / The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Like in other cultures, Christmas is a special time spent with family and friends in Germany. It is a holiday celebrated with beautiful traditions and perhaps with a glass of Glühwein or mulled wine and other tasty treats. Hmm, doesn’t it sound cozy and warm and oh-so-yummy?

So what better way to kick off the holiday season than by enhancing your German vocabulary, with a Santa’s list of essential, seasonal vocabulary that are proven useful and beneficial according to Knecht Ruprecht (companion of St. Nicholas, according to German folklore).

  • der Adventszeit — Advent Season
  • Basler Brunsli — Basel chocolate balls (Chrtismas sweets made of chocolate, almonds, and hazelnut)
  • der Chor — choir
  • de Christbaum — Christmas tree
  • der Christkindlesmarkt — Christmas market
  • der Engel — angel
  • das Geschenk — gift, present
  • das Hanukka — Chanukkah/Hanukkah
  • der Heiligabend — Christmas Eve
  • der Kamin — fireplace
  • die Kerze — candle
  • das Kipferl — An Austrian Christmas cookie
  • das Krippenbild — the nativity scene
  • der Lebkuchen — gingerbread
  • das Licht — light
  • die Menora — menorah
  • die Mistel — mistletoe
  • das/Der Silvester — New Year’s Eve
  • der Nikolaus — St. Nicholas
  • der Nussknacker — nutcracker
  • das Plätzchen — cookie
  • das Rentier — reindeer
  • das Schlittschuhlaufen — ice skating
  • der Schnee — snow
  • die Schneeflocke — snowflake
  • der Schneemann — snowman
  • der Schornstein — chimney
  • die Süßigkeiten — candies, sweets
  • der Tannenbaum — fir tree
  • der Schmuck — decorations, ornaments
  • die Verzierung — decorations, ornaments, ornamentation
  • das Weihnachten — Christmas
  • der Weihnachtsbaum — Christmas tree
  • das Weihnachtsfest — Christmas festival, Christmas
  • die Weihnachtskarte — Christmas card
  • das Weihnachtslied — Christmas carol
  • der Weihnachtsmarkt — Christmas market
  • der Weihnachtsschmuck — Christmas decoration
  • der Winter — winter
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