culture

Christmas Greetings in German for a Jolly, Sparkly, Gingerbready Christmas

M.CDecember 10, 20203-min read

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Germans take most things pretty seriously, and Christmas is no exception. They’re the reason we have Christmas trees, Kris Kringle, and Christmas markets, among countless other traditions. Whether you're celebrating Christmas in a German-speaking country, writing a German Christmas card, or have German-speaking family, these Christmas greetings in German will make your Christmas time truly magical and authentic.

German Christmas Traditions

One of the most important Christmas traditions in Germany is the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market). These Weihnachtsmärkte take place all over Germany with the famous ones found in Aachen, Stuttgart, Munich, Nuremberg, Hamburg, and Leipzig. They typically start in mid-November and carry on until 24th December.

christmas market

The Weihnachtsmarkt is a place to socialize and meet with friends over some warm Glühwein (mulled wine) and to stroll through the many stalls of Kunsthandwerke (artisan crafts), ranging from jewelry to intricate wood carvings. If all that Glühwein has you feeling peckish, you can munch on some delicious Lebkuchen (gingerbread) or devour a Bratwurst, an authentic German sausage in a bread roll, served with your choice of ketchup or Senf (mustard).

Many families in Germany have an Adventskranz (Advent wreath), typically placed on the living room table the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The wreaths have four large candles and is traditionally decorated with pinecones and berries. The first candle is lit on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, followed by the second candle on the second Sunday before Christmas, and so on. When lighting a candle, the family typically spends a quiet, reflective hour together or sings Weihnachtslieder (Christmas carols).

advent christmas tradition

Saint Nicholas is the Patron Saint of Children, and his Feast day is celebrated on 6th December. On the eve of Sankt Nikolaus Tag, children leave their shoes outside their door, where they’ll receive treats if they’ve been good and a twig or coal if they haven’t. This is also where the legend of the Krampus comes from. According to folklore, Krampus is a horned creature (half-goat, half-demon) who kidnaps naughty children by stuffing them into his sack and taking them to his lair.

Germans typically celebrate Christmas on der Heiligabend (Christmas Eve), rather than on Christmas Day like in most English-speaking countries. On this day, German families exchange presents, have Christmas dinner, decorate the Christmas tree, and attend Christmas Mass.

Before we get into some Christmas greetings in German, one important thing to note with the German language is that nouns always get a capital letter, unlike in English. Furthermore, German nouns are generally preceded by an article, such as der, die, or das, which means "the" in English.

Merry Christmas in German

Frohe/fröhliche Weihnachten!

Happy Christmas!

Frohes Weihnachtsfest!

(A) joyous Christmas celebration!

Frohe Festtage!

Happy holidays!

Ein frohes Fest!

A joyous holiday!

Ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest!

A blessed Christmas!

Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße!

Best Christmas greetings!

Mögen sich all deine Wünsche erfüllen

May all your wishes come true

lebkuchen gingerbread

Greetings for the new year

Frohes neues Jahr!

Happy New Year!

Prosit Neujahr!

Happy New Year!

Ein glückliches neues jahr

Happy new year!

Guten Rutsch!

This is our favorite German new year greeting. Literally translating to “a good slide,” this is how to wish someone a happy new year.

Alles Gute zum neuen Jahr!

Best wishes for the new year!

Frohes Neues!

Literally translating to “happy new one,” this is another way to say “happy new year!”

Glück und Erfolg im neuen Jahr!

Good luck and success in the new year!

Some vocabulary stocking fillers

Here are some extra German Christmas vocabulary that you’re likely to encounter in a German-speaking country:

der Weihnachtsmann — Santa Claus

das Christkindl — the Christ child

der Christbaum/Tannenbaum/Weihnachtsbaum — Christmas tree

die Stechpalme — holly

die drei Weisen — three wise men

die Mistel — mistletoe

die Krippe/Krippenbild — nativity

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