Christmas has always been close to my heart (just like Diwali, Holi and the likes). The reason could be my school’s beautiful Christmas musicals and celebrations; the resounding notes that we used to sing every morning in school choirs… the dreamy, snowy Christmas trees… or the Santa Claus of course. No matter where you are, West or the East, the Christmas feeling is the same everywhere.
So, one the eve of Christmas 2018, I thought why not share with you what is happening around us right now, here in Bochum, Germany during the Advent and Christmas season. But before I begin, let me make you familiar with some important German Christmas vocabulary.
Christmas is Weihnacht; Christmas Market is christkindlmarkt (literally, baby Jesus market); and Santa Claus is fondly called as Weihnachtsmann (or Father Christmas).
I am not going to write about the history of German Christmas or how Germans celebrate Christmas (there’s plenty of that on the internet…); but a first hand experience on how a non-German parent in Germany can make the most of X’mas celebrations here 😉
Come November 22, and city’s main market is all decked up. The celebrations at the Christmas market is where all the action is and this is supposedly one of the best in the Ruhr area. From a cute-and-not-so-huge Ferris wheel to several old fashioned stalls offering traditional German food and drink, to a huge Christmas pyramid and hundreds of twinkling fairy lights… you’ve got it all to bring in that Christmas cheer. Take a look at some videos below.
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The main attraction of Bochum’s Christmas market is the Flying Santa, one of the few in Germany. When children scream and call out “Weihnachtsmann! Weihnachtsmann!”, he comes on his sleigh with reindeers, from a soaring height of 33 meters, sweeps over the heads of hundreds of spectators and recites a Christmas story. I never saw this elsewhere, so that’s going to be my number 1 on the list of how should a non-German parent enjoy German Christmas. Its unique for Bochum.
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Wine on Rhine
The second best on my list will be the Mulled wine, a traditional holiday drink that is a MUST try at North Rhine Westphalia Christmas markets. Served warm with a mildly spiced cookie in the freezing (sometimes rainy) weather, this cup is all things Christmas in a glass. It was so deliciously hot when we tried it, that we forget we were freezing a few moments before we sipped. The music, decor, lights and cheer all around makes it worthwhile. Don’t be disheartened if you are not a wine lover, there are open bars that serve a variety of beer as well.
Santa Claus is coming to town.
Thirdly, unlike many other places where kids get to have only a photo-op with Santa after waiting in queue for hours, Bochum offers your kids a tad more. Your kids can not only just get a photo sitting on his lap but also win goodies if they are courageous enough to perform on stage in front of the huge audience. A beautiful cozy manger is also set up right in the middle of the market where you can tell your kids the Christmas story. There are plenty of other options for children to enjoy during Christmas, them being wooden toy stalls, a ferris wheel, pizza junctions, a bonbon factory and much more.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly…
Next on my list would be the Christmas trees and decorated houses. If you are here in Bochum or the Ruhr area, then I would suggest you pack your bags, bundle up your little ones in their strollers and step out in the freezing cold weather after the sun sets to get a glimpse of the German holiday season. At every 500-700 meters there will be a beautiful Christmas tree put up in the neighbourhood, streets will be twinkling with the stars, and windows of the houses will be shining bright with fairy lights, Santas hopping from the chimney and balconies all glittery. If this doesn’t make your heart smile then what will 🙂
The White magic.
Lastly, if you are lucky enough you can also find yourself dancing with your children in the snow. It does not snow much in Bochum, but when it does, like all other places, its magical.
From wherever you are reading this post, I wish you and your dear ones, the best of holiday season. May the spirit of Christmas bring peace and grant you love. Happy holidays and a prosperous new year 2019!
Hey, check out, it that Santa coming your way? Merry Merry!! 🙂
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