Kim B. from Cindy Garruba’s NY cluster shares her experience celebrating Christmas in the United States:

That whole last month was so exiting for me. First it was my first Christmas in the United States, second I didn’t celebrate it with my family and friends in Germany, but third I had the opportunity to celebrate it with my lovely host family, who made this time unforgettable and wonderful for me.

Kim B

German Christkind. Kim’s family in Germany.

Christmas in Germany begins for the most of the families on the 24th of December, Christmas Eve. In the afternoon we are going in a church. After the service we have a nice dinner where we take our time, talk and relax. Accordingly the „Christkind“ (Christmas-Angel) is coming and brings presents for the children. The children open the presents right after the „Christkind“ left.

In traditional families, the Christmas tree is lit with real candles, but only under strict conditions. As a precaution some families use white fairy lights instead of candles.

Here, the American children prepare milk and cookies for Santa Clause in the night of the 24th of December. (I baked cookies with my host kid for Santa Clause).

Santa has a sleigh and “eight tiny reindeer” who take him around the world to bring presents to children in the night. The children open their presents on Christmas Day, 25th of December in the morning. The Christmas tree is lit with strings of colorful electric lights.  I figured out, that the children in America get so much more presents than in Germany.

In Germany we have the Advent season before Christmas. It starts four weeks before Christmas Day. Every Sunday we light up one more candle. So in the end, it burns four candles.

To make the pre- Christmas time more exciting, especially for the children, we have the chocolate-filled Advent calendar. It is a calendar with 24 chocolate pieces in it. The children open one door on each day and get one chocolate piece. It starts at the first of December. So this year my host kid got his first Advent calendar like the German tradition. He was so excited to open one further door every morning.

There are so many things in America which are different to Germany, but it was a perfect way to make the American style of Christmas unforgettable. I am glad that I could enjoy it and I`ll keep some kinds of the tradition in my mind for the next years back in Germany.