To start our new page of German MFL teaching posts, Britta has written about the beginning of the Christmas season.
Not long now until the pre-Christmas season in the German-speaking countries starts. In fact, in Salzburg, Advent is starting today with the opening of the Christmas markets.
You will know all about the Christmas idyll, I am sure – hand-crafted Christmas decorations, gingerbread, Stollen and others foods typically eaten at this time of the year… However, there is a more scary side to Christmas and this is centred on the Nikolaus tradition in the German-speaking countries.
All over the land, children will put polished boots at their windows on the night before the 6th of December in the hope that the Nikolaus will bring them sweets and little gifts. However, the Nikolaus does not reward children who weren’t well behaved throughout the year. Those children will find coal instead of sweets in their boots on the morning of the 6th. Or worse! In Austria (and Bavaria) a scary helper, the Krampus, accompanies the Nikolaus. He will frighten and chase naughty children.
The Krampus is a popular folk character and the Krampus-day very much part of Salzburg’s Advent programme.
To introduce your students to German-speaking Christmas traditions you will find here a German article for intermediate learners on Christmas in Salzburg and as a little pre-Nikolaus gift for you we attach the tailor-made lesson plan too. Please feedback on how the ideas proposed worked for you.
Download the lesson plan too!
What’s your favourite German Christmas tradition? How do you share Christmas with students?