Christmas in July

Celebrating Christmas In July 

10 things you need to make your German ‘Christmas in July’ Spectacular!

Christmas in July is just around the corner! Here at The German Village Shop we love any excuse to celebrate Christmas the German way and what better excuse could there be than Christmas in July!

The winter months in Hahndorf allows us to dream a dream of Christmas in Germany. It is the perfect weather for all the German Christmas favourites! So, dust off those Christmas sweaters, pull out your nutcrackers and join us in celebrating Christmas in July! 


1. The Christmas Tree – German style

    The Christmas Tree, known as Tannenbaum or Weihnachtsbaum, originated in Southern Germany around the 16thcentury. It is widely believed that Martin Luther (1483-1546), a 16th century German protestant, was the first to start the Christmas tree tradition. As the tale goes, Martin Luther was walking home one winter evening, finding inspiration for his sermon, when he was stuck with the brilliance of the stars twinkling amidst the evergreens. He was so moved by the scene he attempted to recreate it for his family by erecting an evergreen in his home and decorating it by wiring candles to its branches. Traditionally German Christmas Tree is put up on Christmas Eve.

    To find out more about the history of the Christmas Tree click here.

    How to create your German Christmas Tree:

    • First a rug or blanket was put below the tree (or table – if the tree was small) to catch the falling needles as they died, not over the bottom of the tree, like a skirt.
    • If the tree has strong branches place small LED candles upon the end of the branches or a string of fairy lights works too!
    • Traditional German Trees would be filled with edible foods, such as apples, nuts, and fruits, along with handmade decorations. Now many people use sentimental ornaments or wooden hanging decorations. (See our collection of Christmas tree decorations here).
    • Tinsel, also a German invention, is placed on next creating a shimmering glow from the lights!
    • To finish the tree, place the Golden Star at the top.

    2. Carved, Handmade or Glass decorations

    Carved wooden ornaments in Germany are popular Christmas decorations. Many talented wood carvers have chance to demonstrate their craftsmanship and produce amazing pieces of work. Traditionally a family’s wealth could be shown to seasonal visitors and neighbours by the ornaments hung in their home, the more elaborately carved their decorations, the higher their wealth.

    The Ore Mountain region in east Germany is known for its wooden carving craftsmanship and still produce high quality wooden ornaments and decorations to this day.

    Glass ornaments were also one of the original decorations placed on Christmas trees in Germany. Glassblowers in Germany have been making ornate Christmas decorations since the 16th century. Glass ornaments were and still are skilfully blown from a long tube and while the glass is held, moulded to shape. These are often finished with ornate hand paintings.

    We have a large collection of wooden Christmas decorations online and in store to decorate your Christmas in July!


    3. Nutcrackers

      Nutcrackers originated in the Ore Mountains of Germany. The residents of the Ore Mountains were in an interesting political position, while being located on a natural and sometimes impassable border, they were part of the German empire. This meant that the locals would often get caught in crossfire.

      Previously “nutcrackers” were simple tools, made of either metal or wood to help crack or crush the shell around the nut for easier consumption. But these skilled Ore Mountain carvers decided to “take the mickey” out of the struggling neighbouring soldiers, unaccustomed to their harsh surroundings. The nutcrackers displayed bared teeth and wild eyes, standing still to attention to their similarly looking haggard kings. And what better way to secretly humiliate the enemy than making the kings and their soldiers crack nuts, on command.

      Learn more about the history of the German Nutcracker here!

      Christmas and the Nutcracker:

      German-made decorations, especially Nutcrackers, are beautiful works of art. The Ore Mountain carvers are world renowned and masters of their craft, so it is not unusual that people bought these beautiful utensils to give to others as gifts.

      The nutcrackers soon became known as protectors, their vivid eyes and bared teeth were said to be to ward off from evil spirits. People started to put the Nutcrackers around the home, more so during the long and cold winter nights (Christmas time for Germany). It was at this time that Nutcrackers became more ornamental, used less for cracking nuts and were given more regularly as decorative gifts.

      Click here to find our collection of Nutcrackers for Christmas in July!


      4. German Incense smoker (Rauchermann)

        This iconic decoration is an invention of the toy makers in the Ore Mountains. They are known as Rauchermann and burn down incense known as Raucherkerzchen. These unique incense burners give character and charm to a traditional practice. Each figurine can usually be pulled apart at the waist and a small incense cone is placed in the bottom half. It is then lit and the upper hollowed out part is placed back over the lit cone. It burns down slowly releasing a smoke which usually escapes through the mouth of the smoker man.

        The Rauchermanner (smoker men) are brought out at Christmas time and displayed with the Schwibbogen (candle arches), Weihnachtspyramide (christmas pyramids) and nutcrackers. They bring some magical charm through their colorful character and the smell of the burning incense which you can get in many traditional scents such as: pine, marzipan, cinnamon, honey, vanilla etc.


        5. Pyramids and candles

        Christmas pyramids (Weihnachtspyramide) are much loved Christmas decoration and is treasured all around the world. Sometimes called a Christmas windmill, wooden carousel, or nativity pyramid, they all have their history in traditional German Christmas celebrations.

        German Christmas pyramids are a tired wooden pyramidal frame. The base has candle holders which allow candles to be burned and as the heat rises the central carousel with a rotor at the top spins with the rising heat. Usually, each level of the pyramid has Christmas nativity figures such as angels and wise men.


        6. Mulled wine (Glühwein)

        Mulled wine is a German classic! Separating Christmas in July creates the perfect weather to enjoy a glass or two of mulled wine! Glühwein is traditionally served at stalls at Christmas markets across Germany to keep people warm as they shop and socialize. Keep an eye our new Mulled Wine candle here!


        • 1/2 medium orange
        • 3/4 cup water
        • 1/4 cup turbinado or granulated sugar
        • 20 whole cloves
        • 2 cinnamon sticks
        • 2 whole star anise
        • 1 bottle dry red wine
        • Rum or amaretto, for serving (optional)


        • Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange in wide strips, taking care to avoid the white pith; set aside. Juice the orange and set the juice aside.
        • Combine the water and sugar in a large, nonreactive saucepan and boil until the sugar has completely dissolved. Reduce the heat and add the cloves, cinnamon, star anise, orange zest, and orange juice. Simmer until a fragrant syrup forms (about 1 minute).
        • Reduce the heat further and add the wine. Let it barely simmer for at least 20 minutes but up to a few hours. Keep an eye out so that it does not reach a full simmer.
        • Strain and serve in small mugs, adding a shot of rum or amaretto and garnishing with the orange peel and star anise if desired.


        7. Gingerbread Recipe

          Christmas would not be complete without Gingerbread! This is one of our favourite traditional German gingerbread recipes.


          • 100g Honey
          • 80g Unsalted Butter
          • 250g Plain Flour
          • 100g Almond Flour
          • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
          • 1 Tsp Bicarb Soda
          • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
          • ½ Tsp Ground Nutmeg


          • Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
          • Melt the honey and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Once completely melted, pour the mixture over the dry ingredients.
          • Mix with spoon until combined, then continue by hand.
          • Turn out mixture on floured work surface and knead by hand.
          • If mixture is too sticky, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time. If dry and cracking, add small amounts of melted butter.
          • Let mixture cool (you may need to refrigerate if room is warm). In the meantime, preheat oven to 175 Celsius – fan forced. roll out mixture on floured surface to approximately ½ - 1 cm thick.
          • Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and transfer to baking tray covered in baking paper.
          • Bake in over for approximately 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they brown quickly.
          • Decorate with your favourite icing and sweets!!


          8. Advent

          The origins of the advent calendars can be traced back to the 19th century in Germany. The protestant German tradition first started by marking chalk lines on their doors for every day in December until Christmas Eve, wiping off a line as each day pasted. Not quite the elaborate treat fill Advent Calendars think of today! The first recorded handmade, wooden Advent Calendar or Adventskalender dates to 1851 in Germany.

          Traditionally behind the doors or windows would be pictures or short bible verses. It was not until the 1950s that treat filled advent calendars were produced, and which is also the time they began to spread around the world, taking up popularity in America. Today the Advent Calendar is a global Christmas tradition, coming in a variety of forms, materials, and colours.

          For Christmas in July Advent starts on the 1st of July and finishes on the 24th of July (Christmas in July Eve).

          The tradition of celebrating the lead up to Christmas has its roots in German culture. At the German Village Shop we believe that Christmas is not just a day, but a frame of mind! So, bring on the Christmas cheer as we roll into the July festive season. We have a special collection of locally handmade, Wooden Advent Calendars that are waiting to become part of your families Christmas tradition!


          9. Christmas Eve 24th July and Day 25th July traditions

            Make your Christmas in July special and follow the German traditions of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

            Christmas Eve is steeped with German Christmas traditions. “Helinger abend” (Christmas eve) is filled with Christmas tree decorating, eating traditional dishes and in old traditions, opening Christmas presents! In the evening families would sing Christmas songs such as “O Tannenbaum” (Oh Christmas tree), “Ihr Kinderlein Kommet”(Oh, come, little children) and Stille Nacht (Silent night). See our playlist suggestions below!


            10. The German Christmas Spirit

              Christmas in German is all creating memories with family and friends, so we have made you the perfect playlist for your Christmas in July!

              Follow The German Village Shop on Spotify and find our “Christmas in July” playlist. We have all the German Accordion Christmas classics and some old time German foot-stompers to get you in the German spirit.

              We also recommend Dale Mathis’s Christmas accordion music! Click here to find his YouTube channel. So, kick up those heals to some German Christmas music and get in the spirit for Christmas in July!

              Join us in celebrating German Christmas Cheer this Christmas in July!

              Tag us in your celebration of Christmas in July on Instagram @thegermanvillageshop. Let’s spread some much-needed Christmas Cheer during this challenging time!