German Christmas markets are the most famous in the world and I’m sure that some of you think about a trip there in December. Some German words will show politeness and friendliness towards the locals and make the experience even more enjoyable. And now you are probably thinking that German is hard to learn, which is pretty much true. It is hard to master, but even 10 words will take you a long way if they are the right ones. Some Christmas markets related words can be easily learned, even while having fun. Let’s start now!
This is the most important word to learn and the base for many others. It means Christmas in German and you will see it everywhere, by itself or in different combinations. Don’t worry if you don’t manage it yet. You’ll see it so many times, that it will get impossible to forget it.
This is the reason you’re visiting Germany at this time of the year and endure the cold, instead of lying on a sun-soaked beach. It consists of two words, Weihnacht, which you already know and markt (market). Germany has some of the best. You will be wandering through them most of the evenings and probably days. In some parts of the country, they are also called Christkindlmarkt. In the past, in Germany, it was thought that not Santa Claus, but Christkind brings the presents on Christmas Eve. Kids still send their wish list to him. G
Another compound word. I’ve told you it will be easy peasy. It means Christmas tree (baum). You will see one nicely decorated in the middle of each Weihnachtsmarkt.
Everyone wishes for a white Weihnacht. I wish you to see a little Schnee (snow) on the gingerbread houses and the Weihnachtsbaum while you enjoy a Schneeball. This scary word means snowball (not that scary after all, right) and is also the name of a treat in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a town that houses one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany. The name says it all. It looks like a ball, it is made out of pastry and covered with different toppings. Some like them, some don’t, but it is definitely a must try.
This short word is very similar to its English counterpart (man). From it, you can form two compound words already: Schneemann (snowman), if you have enough Schnee you will want to build one, and Weihnachtsmann (Santa Claus), the central figure of the period, the one that will bring you presents on Christmas Eve, but only if you’ve been nice. You can meet this merry old man in most of the Christmas markets and say hello to him.
It will be very cold. Besides the appropriate clothes, some Glühwein will help keep your hands and body warm. Enjoy a glass or two of hot wine with cinnamon and sugar. It is sweet and flavored, but it is an alcoholic drink. Do not exaggerate with it, or it will get a little dizzy.
A difficult one, but don’t worry, there is a good chance you will not need it. This is for the adventurous ones, for the ones that think that Glühwein is not enough. If you feel brave enough to try it, you should also feel brave enough to learn it. (And pronounce it after you have drunk it.) Over the glass of Glühwein, a rum-soaked sugar lump is set on fire. Wait for the flames to go away before you drink it.
Another treat that you will find along your walk. It means gingerbread and I think no more words are needed. Everyone knows it. For sure you will bring a few of them home for your loved ones. They can also be used as beautiful Christmas tree decorations and remind you of your Christmas markets adventure.
In Germany, the four weeks before Christmas are called the Advent period and there are also special calendars for it. They might come in the form of a box or a string with handmade pockets. Every day you will check and find a little surprise. There are also specialized Advent calendars with chocolate in different shapes, small toys, cosmetics, and even tea.
You will say that this is not strictly related to Christmas and you are right. But it is so close to Weihnacht and is such a fun word to learn that I’m sure you will have no issues with it. It means New Year’s Eve. I hope you remember the name of the silly cat that tried to eat Tweety all our childhood. It’s part of your adulthood also, now.
This is all. Don’t forget to take on some extra clothes as the temperatures will be quite low and enjoy from now to then some Glühwein, just to keep you warm. Wish a Frohe Weihnachten! (Merry Christmas!) to the merchants and your new German friends and enjoy their large smile afterwards.