Christmas in Germany Ideas for the Classroom

Frohe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas)!

Free Christmas in Germany Poster 

Advent preschool and kindergarten activities and crafts

The German Christmas season officially starts with the first Sunday of Advent (the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas). An Advent wreath (Adventskranz) is adorned with four candles, one of which is lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. Many years ago families would mark the 24 days of December preceding Christmas with a chalk line on the wall. Now people use an Advent calendar (Adventskalender) to count the days. Advent calendars are often made of cardboard with 24 flaps or windows, one of which is opened each day leading up to Christmas. Behind each window is a Christmas scene or motif, and sometimes even a chocolate candy or small toy.

Advent Calendar Ideas

Advent Calendar Boxes Printables and Craft (KidsSoup members)

The Weihnachtsmann's Beard Advent Calendar (KidsSoup members)

St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6 in Germany as well as in other European countries. On the eve of December 6, children place their newly cleaned shoes in front of the door in hopes that St. Nicholas will fill them with nuts, sweets, chocolates, and fruits. Of course, that all depends on whether the children have been good or bad.

Santa Claus, known as Weihnachtsmann, is depicted as a jolly old man with a white beard who is wearing a red fur-trimmed suit and carrying a sack of presents and a switch. On Christmas Eve he or the Christkind gives presents to children. Weihnachtsmann doesn't arrive through the chimney, but rather slips in and out just long enough to leave the gifts, usually before the children can get a glimpse of him.

Oh Tannenbaum

Free Oh Christmas Tree Song Printable
Listen to the song

The Tannenbaum (Christmas tree) is usually put up and decorated with tinsel, glass or straw ornaments, and candy on Christmas Eve. The tree is topped with a star or angel and beneath the tree a nativity scene might be set up with the presents next to it. Many Germans today still use candles instead of electric lights on the tree. The Tannenbaum is taken down on New Year's Day or on January 6--Three King's Day--and children ransack the tree for any leftover candy or sweet decorations.

Gingerbread Preschool and Kindergarten Craft and Activities

Gingerbread, another symbol of Christmas, is particularly popular in Germany. Nuremburg is the gingerbread capital of the world.  

Gingerbread houses first began here, inspired by the withch's edible house in the story "Hansel and Gretel." The houses became known as lebkuchenhaeusle (houses to nibble at).

Gingerbread House Craft (KidsSoup members)

The Gingerbread Man Preschool and Kindergarten crafts and activities

Book: The Gingerbread Man

The Gingerbread Man Story Book Printables (KidsSoup Resource Library)

Gingerbread Man Craft (KidsSoup Resource Library)

Build a Gingerbread Man Game (KidsSoup Resource Library)

Gingerbread Men and Girls Matching (KidsSoup Resource Library)

The Gingerbread Man In the Classroom preschool and kindergarten activities

Candy canes originated in Germany. At first, they were straight, white sugar sticks. Later, red stripes, a crook at the top, and peppermint flavor were added.

On Christmas Eve, a traditional meal of carp or ham and potato salad is eaten, families sing Christmas carols, and gifts are exchanged. On Christmas Day a ham, a goose, or perhaps a rabbit or a roast, are served along with other traditional German foods such as apple and sausage dressing, red cabbage, potato dumplings, stollen (a loaf shaped fruit cake), and platzchen (Christmas cookies).

View the instructions on how to make a Gingerbread House from graham crackers.


View more preschool and kindergarten Christmas activities and crafts


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