Christmas Eve (German: Heiligabend) is the evening of the 24th of December, the term might also refers to the whole day before Christmas day. The Holy Night (Heilige Nacht or Christnacht) is the night from the 24th to the 25th of December.
In Germany, Austria and Switzerland Christmas Eve is the evening of the so called “Bescherung”, the giving of Christmas presents, unlike in the english and french speaking countries, where presents are opened on the morning of the 25th.
Christmas Eve is traditionally spent in family. Many families go to church in the afternoon (Christvesper) or evening (Christmette) to attend the Christmas mass, even if they are normally not used to go to the mass.
What to eat on Christmas Eve? Usually families come together on Christmas Eve to eat and celebrate with their beloved ones. The dinner can be anything, from a simple potato salad with sausages (Kartoffelsalat mit Würstchen) to roast goose or duck with dumplings and red cabbage. These are probably the most typical Christmas meals, but it might of course vary depending on family traditions.
Christmas & friends
It is not usual to give a Christmas present to your friends, many friends groups do secret santa. Friends often meet during Christmas time to celebrate their own little “Bescherung”: They have dinner together and exchange presents. Some people do not give presents but consider the time they dedicate to each other as the main present.
Read more about Christmas in Germany here: Time & Date. You might also like our article about German Christmas Markets. You have already spent Christmas in Germany or a German speaking country? Let us know about your experience!