Got your calendar filled with 24 tiny little gifts? Started buying your Christmas gifts and written all your cards? There’s still something else you need to do before you buy your tree: you need an advent wreath.
Most Germans have one: a circle of fir tree branches decorated with baubles and berries form the base for four candles that will be lit, one by one, on each advent Sunday in the run up to Christmas.
Burning down the house?
The family tradtionally gathers around as the candles are lit and sing carols, eat traditional Christmas goodies and maybe drink a cup of gluhwein.
But beware – there are many stories of advent wreath fires around Christmastime.
Never leave the room while the candles are burning. Sounds melodramatic – but it’s a very common phenomena this time of year. In Switzerland around 1,000 fires happen around Christmas due to candles on advent wreaths and Christmas trees. Yes – candles on Christmas trees. People really do it. This is not a German tradition we endorse. Stick with the fairy lights.
OK – got that one? Ready for the next? Look out for another German Christmas tradition tomorrow!