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10 Traditional Christmas Customs in Freiburg

They’re everywhere in Germany: the popular customs and traditions that shorten the waiting time until Christmas and make it even more tranquil. Even in the Black Forest metropolis of Freiburg, there are typical Christmas customs.

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Lebkuchen auf Weihnachtsmarkt
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Lebkuchen auf Weihnachtsmarkt - © FWTM

#1 Decorating the Christmas tree

A decorated Christmas tree is the center of the Christmas celebration. Every year on Christmas Eve, it’s tradition to set up a fir tree and decorate it with candles, ornaments, angels, tinsel, and a star to make it a Christmas tree. On Christmas Eve, families gather around the Christmas tree, sing together, and unwrap Christmas presents.

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Christbaum schmücken
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Christbaum schmücken - © FWTM

#2 Baking Christmas cookies

In the Advent season, young and old come together to bake cookies: kneading, cutting out, and snacking – what young bakers especially love. A tip for non-Freiburgers: We in Southern Germany call Christmas cookies “Breddle” or “Gutsele”!

Plätzchen backen mit Kindern auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt Freiburg
Plätzchen backen mit Kindern auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt Freiburg - © Irishasel-Shutterstock.com

#3 Praising the Christmas tree

Anyone who praises a Christmas tree in Freiburg will get something high-proof to drink, as called for by an old custom. The Christmas tree praise or Christmas tree show is especially popular with young people. In the post-Christmas period, they visit friends and acquaintances and praise their Christmas trees. As thanks, they receive a shot of schnapps.

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Christbaum loben
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Christbaum loben - © FWTM

#4 Hanging the Advent wreath

For many people, the Advent wreath is part of the pre-Christmas season. Anything goes: whether the four candles in the traditional Christmas colors of red, gold, and white, or brightly shining – combined with the rich green of the fir branches, the homemade Advent wreath quickly becomes a festive eye-catcher.

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Adventskranz stecken
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Adventskranz stecken - © FWTM

#5 Traditional Christmas dinner

The Christmas dinner is one of the most elaborately prepared Christmas customs in Germany. Each family determines what counts as a traditional Christmas dinner themselves. For many families, the classic has always been sausage with potato salad. The purpose of this simple meal is to remember the poverty of Mary and Joseph in the aftermath of Christ’s birth.

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg  Kartoffelsalat-mit-Wienerle
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg Kartoffelsalat-mit-Wienerle - © Bernd-Juergens-Shutterstock

#6 Traditional figure of the Christ Child

In many regions of Germany, especially Southern Germany, the Christ Child is the traditional figure of Christmas. According to tradition, he brings gifts to children without being seen. He’s often depicted as a blond-haired child with wings and a halo.

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Christuskind in Krippe
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Christuskind in Krippe - © FWTM

#7 Kissing under the mistletoe

You can see it hanging over some doors during the Christmas season: the mistletoe. Couples stand below it to exchange a kiss. According to popular legend, they’ll then stay together for the rest of their lives. Beautiful sprigs of mistletoe can be bought at the Freiburg Cathedral Market – do you hang one over your door, too?

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Mistelzweig auf dem Münstermarkt
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Mistelzweig auf dem Münstermarkt - © FWTM

#8 Crafting Advent calendars

Making an Advent calendar yourself means giving a very personal gift. For generations, children especially (but not exclusively) have enjoyed the sweet treats and gifts. Homemade Advent calendars are a very special thoughtfulness happily given to family members and friends before the Advent season.

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Adventskalender basteln
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Adventskalender basteln - © FWTM

#9 Receiving carolers

In the period between Christmas and the Epiphany on January 6, they go from house to house bringing blessings. These small groups, mostly children, dress as the Three Wise Men according to customs. They attach the carolers’ blessing to houses and apartments, stage incense, and collect money or donations in kind for charitable purposes.

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Sternsinger empfangen
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Sternsinger empfangen - © FWTM

#10 Drinking mulled wine at the Christmas Market

It's just part of the Christmas traditions, including in Freiburg: drinking mulled wine, called “Glühwein.” The Christmas Market in Freiburg has a wide variety of products on offer: from vintners’ mulled wine to white and red Glühwein, to children's punch, there is something for every taste. Countless Glühwein stands are just waiting for you to discover them!

Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Glühwein trinken
Weihnachtsbräuche in Freiburg - Glühwein trinken - © FWTM