Weinachtsmarkts, Feuerzangbowle, Glühwein…some of the many German traditions I’ve encountered over the past few weeks:

Basically a spicy red wine that is warmed up in a kettle.  Very nice on a cold December evening.  Sometimes you can order it with Amaretto or Rum for an extra kick.  You pay a deposit on the mug, so you can keep it if you wish.

Another wine-based Christmas beverage.  The feuerzangbowle we made for our apartment party had chunks of lime, orange, and cinnamon floating in a large pot of red wine.  Then, a large cone of sugar is placed over the pot and covered in rum.  The sugar is then ignited and melts into the pot.  Quite fun to prepare, and delicious!

The english translation is simply "Christmas market."  In Osnabrück we have an especially nice Christmas market which is very popular in northern Germany.  Vendors selling small Christmas gifts, crepes, candy, chocolate, Glühwein, Feuerzangbowle and other treats are all over the place.  The entire market in Osnabrück is decorated with Christmas lights and is right next to the Dom, the largest church in the city.

Christmas parties, where each attendee brings a small wrapped gift (something cheap, often that you have just lying around the house).  The process of exchanging gifts varies, for one party we played a dice game which distributed the presents over 15 minutes or so (sometimes unfairly, haha) and for another party we just picked numbers out of a hat and matched the number with a present.  It can be really fun, the more outrageous the gift the better!

As you can see the Germans really get into Christmas, which is great.  It’s been a fun past couple of weeks. 

This weekend I’ll be in Amsterdam.  Next week will be my next post..