One of the best things about this time of year is learning about different cultures and holiday traditions. German culture holds a special place in Susan’s heart, because she lived in Germany while she was in college– in two different towns–Dortmund and Freiberg! In fact, the festive lighting that gives the German Christmas Markets their soft glow was the inspiration for our Holiday Lookbook this year!
Keep reading to find out about our big Holiday Traditions Contest and our even bigger St. Nicholas-Tag Sale–going on this weekend, only!
The German Christmas Markets are a wonderful holiday tradition and a nice alternative to the mass-produced gifts found in malls. The markets usually run the last week of November through Christmas Eve and are packed with stalls, where you can find a variety of handmade gifts, including toys, wood carvings, candles, and hand-knit goodies. Besides offering completely unique, traditional gifts for everyone your list, the markets are also famous for their delicious food! You can sample grilled sausage, hot bread, and sip on spiced hot gluhwein to keep warm! In the bigger cities, the market becomes more like a carnival, with choral ensembles, street performers, and merry-go-rounds for the kids!
Another German holiday tradition is the celebration of St. Nicholas-Tag (St. Nicholas Day!) this upcoming Saturday, December 6th. St. Nicholas was a bishop in Asia Minor in the fourth century who was known for performing good deeds. On St. Nicholas Day’s Eve, the kids clean their shoes and leave them in front of their door, along with a note or a plate with a treat for St. Nicholas. If they’ve been good, he fills their shoes with delicious nuts, candy, biscuits, or small gifts. If not, they get potatoes, coal, or twigs! On the day itself, St. Nicholas goes from house to house carrying a book in which all the children’s deeds are written. He asks each child if they’ve behaved themselves and he then gives out candy and treats for everyone to share. Then, the children give him a small craft or sing him a song.
A St. Nicholas smoker–courtesy of St. Nicholas Center
In honor of this holiday, and to help you enjoy yours, we’re having a St. Nicholas-Tag Sale this weekend through Saturday at midnight! Over 100 select items will be 50% off, so it will be easier for you to spread holiday cheer with awesome gifts for your friends and family.
The fact that each holiday tradition, even shared among a whole culture, can have so many different variations is what makes the holidays so fun and fascinating. For instance, in Stuttgart, kids dress up as St. Nicholas and go door-to-door asking for treats, much like trick or treating.
Although we’re having this sale in honor of a German tradition this week, we want to know more about how people celebrate all over the world this season. Tell us about some interesting or strange holiday customs or traditions right here on the blog, and we’ll pick two to base our next sale around! Those people will also win $50 ModCloth gift certificates. So get shopping, get sharing, and enjoy your holiday, no matter what that means to you!