Saying Merry Christmas in German is easy. You simply say Frohe Weihnachten
First, as with most traditional Christian countries, the holiday season starts with Advent. During this time, many Germans put up advent wreaths in their homes and light candles each Sunday leading up to Christmas.
Another popular tradition during Advent is the Adventskranz, or advent wreath made of evergreen branches, with four candles symbolizing the four weeks of Advent.
Germans also have their version of an advent calendar, where each day leading up to Christmas, a door or little drawer is opened to reveal a small gift or chocolate.
On December 24th, or Heiliger Abend (Holy Evening), families gather for a feast, which often includes roasted duck or goose, as well as traditional holiday sweets like Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and Stollen (a fruit bread with marzipan).
Many families attend church services on Christmas morning before opening presents delivered by the Weihnachtsmann, or Santa Claus.
And, of course, no Christmas celebration would be complete without a Christmas tree. Germans have been decorating and bringing trees into their homes since the 16th century. Nowadays, they are often adorned with homemade ornaments and real candles (although electric lights are also popular).
So while some German Culture may vary from region to region, one thing remains the same: Christmas is a time for family, food, and festivities in Germany.
And hey, who can argue with that? Frohe Weihnachten! (Merry Christmas!)
How To Say Merry Christmas in German?
It’s “Frohe Weihnachten!”
But why stop there? How about adding some holiday cheer with “Frohes Fest!” or “Fröhliche Weihnachten!”
You can also go further to say “Ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest!” which translates to “A blessed Christmas celebration!”
Christmas Practices Exclusive to German
- The Christmas Markets. These markets pop up in cities and towns all over Germany during December, offering traditional food, sweets, and trinkets.
- The Advent Calendar. Each day leading up to Christmas, a small gift or chocolate is taken from one of the 24 windows on the advent calendar.
- The Christmas Tree. Germans believe the Christmas tree brings good luck and should be decorated on Christmas Eve.
- St. Nicholas Day. This day is dedicated to giving gifts, celebrated on the evening of December 6th.
- The Weihnachtsmann. On Christmas Eve, children leave out a boot for the Weihnachtsmann (Santa Claus) to fill with candy and small gifts.
- The Christmas Goose. This is the traditional main dish served on Christmas Eve, though many families enjoy fondue or raclette.
- The Christkind. This angel-like figure brings presents on Christmas Eve, rather than Santa Claus.
- Carolling. German families often go caroling door to door on Christmas Eve, singing traditional holiday songs.
- The Brandenburger Tor Pyramid. This pyramid-shaped decoration is famous in Berlin, featuring moving figures and lights.
- The Christmas Pickle. This unique tradition involves hiding a pickle-shaped ornament on the Christmas tree, with the first child to find it receiving an extra present.
Celebrating the holidays in Germany is filled with fun and unique traditions that bring cheer to the chilly winter season. So grab a steaming mug of glühwein and join in the festivities!
15 other ways to say merry Christmas in German and their English Translation
- Frohe Weihnachten – Merry Christmas
- Fröhliche Weihnachten – Happy Christmas
- Gesegnete Weihnachten – Blessed Christmas
- Ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest – A blessed Christmas festival
- Frohe Feiertage – Happy holidays
- Fröhliche Festtage – Happy holiday season
- Friedliche Weihnachten – Peaceful Christmas
- Wundervolle Weihnachten – Wonderful Christmas
- Ein frohes Weihnachtsfest wünschen – Wishing a happy Christmas festival
- Ein frohes neues Jahr – A Happy New Year
- Fröhliche Weihnachtszeit – Merry Christmas time
- Schöne Feiertage – Beautiful holidays
- Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr – Happy New Year’s Eve
- Eine besinnliche Weihnachtszeit – A contemplative Christmas time
- Ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr – A blessed Christmas festival and a Happy New Year’s Eve.
5 Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers on Celebrating Christmas in German
Is “Merry Christmas” Still the Norm, or Is It “Frohe Weihnachten”?
“Merry Christmas” and “Frohe Weihnachten” are commonly used in Germany during the holiday season. However, “Frohe Weihnachten” is more common among native German speakers.
Do Germans Exchange Gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Traditionally, Germans exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, known as “Weihnachtsabend” or “Heiliger Abend.” This is when the celebrations and festivities begin, and the family gathers together.
Is It Common for Germans to Have a Christmas Tree?
Yes, it is common for German families to have a Christmas tree. In fact, the tradition of bringing in and decorating evergreen trees during the winter dates back hundreds of years in Germany.
What Traditional Food Do Germans Eat on Christmas?
Germany’s most popular dishes served during the holiday season include roasted goose or duck, “speculaas” cookies, “stollen” fruit bread, and candy made of marzipan.
Is Santa Claus or “Christkind” More Prominent in Germany?
In German-speaking countries, the figure of “Christkind,” or the Christ child, is more prominent in holiday celebrations compared to Santa Claus. However, it is common for both figures to be present during the holidays.
Christmas in Germany is a time for family and traditions filled with festive food, decorations, and gift exchanges. And no matter how you say “Merry Christmas,” the spirit of the holiday.
Well, there you have it, “Frohe Weihnachten!” However, as mentioned before, many regions also use the more traditional greeting of “Frohes Weihnachtsfest.” Whichever one you choose to use, your holiday cheer will be well received.
Remember, when it comes to holiday greetings in Germany (and really, any language), it’s always a good idea to do a little research and find out the most common and accepted greetings for the region you may be visiting or communicating with.
Happy Holidays and Frohe Weihnachten!