In Germany, you can experience different Christmas traditions which can slightly vary depending on the region. In contrast to many other western countries, presents are unrapped on December 24th. On the so-called "Christmas Eve", Santa Claus or the Christ Child comes and places the presents under the Christmas tree. The following days, December 25th and 26th are the official Christmas holidays, so shops and department stores are closed on these days with a few exceptions including pubs, restaurants and Christmas markets. In case you and your family plan to dine out in Berlin during the holidays, you should reserve a table as early as possible since many of the most popular places will be fully booked.
One of the best widespread German traditions is the Christmas tree, and you can find them in thousands of apartments. Year after year, you can purchase your own fresh tree at any of the several shops in the City. Right in front of our Stop 1, Alexanderplatz, you are able to purchase fresh trees of any size and their prices range between 20 - 60 Euro depending on the size and the spruces you choose.
There are festively decorated Christmas trees under which the presents lie on Christmas Eve and are almost without exception conifers. As a rule, first, spruces and pines are honored to be part of the scene for the festival.
It is an old German custom to have children recite christmas poems and songs they have learned by heart as accurately as possible before being allowed to open their presents. You can even try this out with your family members. Especially with the youngest since this activity increases the tension almost to the point of becoming unbearable.
From the last weekend in November you can admire Christmas trees in many public places, in front of shopping centers, in train stations or in front of hotels. In 2019 the largest Christmas tree in the city was in Berlin's Hauptbahnhof, the central rail station. Almost 40,000 sparkling crystals adorned the approximately twenty meter high colossus
You can take part in the most popular Berlin Advent activity and visit the Christmas markets that are scattered all over the city. In 2019, 83 official Christmas markets were registered in the capital. Some of them like e.g. the one at Charlottenburg Palace is traditional and is largely limited to the sale of gingerbread, Glühwein (mulled wine) and other Christmas treats and accessories. In others such as the market around Berlin's Alexanderplatz also has carousels, roller coasters and ice rinks. Here your visit will be extended to a kind of fairground visit.
It is a widespread custom in Berlin to serve potato salad with sausages for dinner on December 24th, Christmas Eve. This goes back to the post-war period, when there was little food available even at Christmas. In many Berlin households, the big meal does not start until December 25th as you probably do at home. The classic among the dishes here is the goose with red cabbage and dumplings. A poultry-free variant is the minced meat dish called "false rabbit" which is often served with kale and potatoes. Often this type of prodigious feast can be from Christmas to New Year, until a large part of the population starts making good resolutions for the new year and goes to the nearest gym with immense energy!