Last night many children in Germany placed a boot outside in front of the door. It’ll be filled with small gifts, sweets, mandarins and nuts because it’s Saint Nicholas Day! Additionally widespread is the visit of a grocery store or shopping mall, where a Nikolaus gives sweets to children, who were polite and helpful during the last year, in exchange for them reciting a (line of a) poem.
The degree of outside decoration varies from little illumination, with for example a typical enlightened star, to US-American style. We set a high value on indoor decoration with an often self-made Advent wreath and wooden decorations, originating from the Ore Mountain folk art, like nutcracker, smoker, candle pyramid, candle arch, …
A few days before a real Christmas tree will be put inside and artful decorated. In earlier days “Lametta”, in English Tinsel, was really popular. Presents are getting opened after dinner on the 24th after the Christkind‘s bell ringing. We might still get more presents when celebrating on the two following days with our extended family. It’s still popular to go to the church on either of those days.
On the 24th we usually have an easy dish, like potato salad and sausages, because there is not too much time with all the preparations going on. Having a big goose lunch with red cabbage and Knödel is common for the 25th and 26th.
The pre-Christmas time is not only fun because of the Christmas market happening in all towns and cities with the typical mulled wine, but especially because we bake diversity of Christmas biscuits (f.e. Lebkuchen, Spritzgebäck, Springerle, Spekulatius, …) and Stollen.