I grew up in northern Germany. It wasn't usually very cold there, but sometimes we had a white Christmas.
The Christmas Tradition in out family was to get up late on Christmas
Eve (everybody usually was already off for the Holidays) and have
breakfast together. Most of the times we had something special we didn't
have every day, like fresh baked hard rolls and some cold cuts. A lot
of times it was accompanied by a soft boiled egg, eaten out of an egg
Then it was time to decide which color the decoration of our Christmas
tree is going to have, while my dad gave our neighbor a call.
We lived right next to the forest (no, not the black forest, that is in south Germany) at a hill side.
Our neighbor had a small tree farm. Every year we would go there and pick
our tree. On Christmas Eve. I know a lot of families, who got their
tree much earlier than we did ours, but this was our family tradition.
So once we found all the boxes of Christmas decor, we would get in our
Winter Coats and go to the Neighbor. Usually we would wander around for a
little while. Our Neighbor also had birds. Not of the small kind. He
had big outdoor cages with Owls and Ravens in which the birds could fly,
since they were that large. Us kids spend a lot of time watching them,
while our parents chatted. We then picked our tree, often a soft needle
kind of tree and cut it down. My dad would then go up front and me and
my sister in the back, my mom at our side and there we carried the tree
through the backyard to our patio.
My dad would then set up the home-made tree stand with water reservoir and set the tree in there.
Us kids would then start to decorate with the help of our mom. Dad would
help with the branches at the top of the tree. We always had real
candles at our tree. Beeswax ones, that smelled great when they burned.
We had to keep them off the bottom branches because of our dog. Then we
set up the rest of the decoration, which included a nativity set on a
carrousel, one of those that has candles on it and moves.
Then we would go into our rooms and wrap presents if we didn't do it earlier already.
In the evening we would dress up and wait for my mom to call us down
with a Christmas bell. She then would proclaim that the Christ Child
came and brought presents.
Then it was finally time to exchange presents.
We played for a while with new toys then sat down for dinner, which
always consisted of fondue. After dinner we played board games and
stayed up late.
That was our German Christmas Tradition.