German Christmas -- Preschool & Kindergarten
Things to Know
St. Nicolas has his own day to deliver presents to children, that day is December 6th. Children set out their boots or their stockings the night before. If they have been very good, St. Nicolas brings them little presents or chocolate.
Depending on the region in Germany some regions have the tradition of the Christkind, which means Christ child, a representation of Jesus as a child. He appears as an angel with blond hair and angelic wings, bearing gifts.
Some regions in Germany have the Weihnachtsmann or Christmas Man tradition, he looks like Santa Claus, a jolly old man with a long white beard in a red fur suit, with a sack of presents and a switch.
Advent wreaths of Holly with four red candles in the center are layed flat on the table. The candles are lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. Children count the days to Christmas with an Advent calendar.
The Christmas Tree (Tannenbaum) custom of bringing a tree into the home was firmly established in many German-speaking regions and spread throughout Europe, and eventually, around the world. In the 18th century, the custom was brought to the United States by German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio.
In areas of Germany where forests were sparse, the Christmas Tree tradiaion took hold. People would create a Christmas pyramids (Weihnachtspyramiden) instead of Christmas Trees. Christmas pyramids are a popular is a Christmas decoration today
Gingerbread houses are a huge tradition in Germany.
Graham Cracker House
Need: Packages of graham crackers, frosting, trims (raisins, nuts, candies, small marshmallows, red hots), 1/2 pint sized milt containers(size that comes with child's school lunch). Styrofoam plates or heavy paper plates.
Glue the milk carton onto the Styrofoam plate. Use the milk carton as the base, the frosting as glue, and graham crackers as the walls and top.
Have children place frosting on the sides and top of the milk carton. Stick graham crackers to the sides of the milk carton for walls. Place two graham crackers on top for the roof. Frost the crackers on the milk carton and decorate with trims.
It is best to put all glue bottles away as some children may use them to glue the candy trim onto the graham cracker house.
Can add a frosting sidewalk(outline with candy trims) on the plates.
Children write letters to Christkind telling Him what they want for Christmas. The letters are left on their windowsills for the Christkind, a winged figure dressed in white robes and a golden crown who distributes gifts. Sometimes the letters are decorated with glue and sprinkled with sugar to make them sparkle.
Let the children draw pictures or cut pictures from magazines of what they want from Santa. Place the letters in envelopes. Then have the children brush glue onto the envelopes and sprinkler with glitter.
After reading "The Spiders Surprise." Make cone-shaped Christmas trees from green construction paper. Let the children decorate the trees by gluing on strands of tinsel.
Pine Cone Christmas Tree
Place pine cones in water. Then roll them in potting soil and sprinkle with grass seed. Place in a sunny window and water lightly regularly, then watch as your pine cone turns into a mini Chrstmas tree.
A Visit from St. Nicholas
With the children sitting in a circle place 5 to 6 toys in the center of the circle. Then place the toys in a box. Choose one child to be St. Nicholas. Have the children cover their eyes. While their eyes are covered have the St. Nicholas place one of the toys from the box into a pillowcase.
Have the children open their eyes. St. Nicholas walks around the circle and lets each child try to guess what is in the pillowcase by feeling it. Each child has 2 guesss'. The child that guesss' correctly becomes the new St. Nicholas.