#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.
#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”!
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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?
#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.
#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.
#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!