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Christmas Day in Germany

Christmas Day is a public holiday in Germany on December 25. Many people spend the day with their family. Large meals with traditional foods are served and Christmas decorations are displayed. German Christmas decorations include nutcrackers, Christmas pyramids, and cribs.

Is Christmas Day a Public Holiday?

Christmas Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Special sweet snacks are popular during the Christmas season.

©iStockphoto.com/ollo

What Do People Do?

People generally spend Christmas Day with family members or close friends. Some attend church services and many sing traditional Christmas carols. A large meal is traditionally eaten in the afternoon or early evening. Typical dishes include:

  • Roast goose or duck stuffed with apples, chestnuts, onions or prunes.
  • Red cabbage with onions and apple.
  • Boiled potatoes.
  • Dumplings.

People also eat turkey, beef, venison or wild boar in some parts of Germany.

Public Life

Christmas Day is a public holiday in Germany. Post offices, banks, stores and businesses are closed. However, stores in some tourist areas may be open and stores at railway stations, airports and along highways are usually open.

There are some restrictions on selling alcohol, public performances and dancing. Public transport services may run as usual, at a reduced service or no service depending on where one lives or intends to travel.

Symbols

Traditional Christmas decorations include:

  • Christmas trees.
  • Small candles or electric lights.
  • Wooden nutcrackers.
  • Incense burners in various shapes.
  • Cribs with figures representing Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the shepherds and the three wise men.
  • Gingerbread houses decorated with sweets.
  • Christmas pyramids (three-dimensional scenes that are turned by a fan driven by candle heat).

Schwibbogen (decorative arc-shaped candle holders) are displayed in the Ore Mountains in Saxony. Each candle holder is made of a single piece of wood or metal and holds more candles on top of an arc. The arc is filled with figures to create a scene. Some scenes represent aspects of the Christmas story, while others display local traditions or events.

Sweet snacks are popular at Christmas. Traditional treats include: Plätzchen (flat biscuits covered in sugar frosting); Lebkuchen (gingerbread); Pfeffernüsse (gingerbread covered in sugar frosting and small candies); Stollen (a rich bread filled with dried fruit and a marzipan roll); and Spekulatius (small cookies flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices).

About Christmas Day in other countries

Read more about Christmas Day.

Christmas Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015FriDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2016SunDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2017MonDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2018TueDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2019WedDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2020FriDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2021SatDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2022SunDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2023MonDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2024WedDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian
2025ThuDec 25Christmas DayNational holiday, Christian

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