Tag Archives: advent

Happy First of December! Countdown to Christmas has officially started!

The story of the Advent Calendar

Germans love Christmas. In fact, for Germans, it’s the most important holiday of the year!

Many traditions help us Germans prepare for and enjoy the Christmas season to the fullest, like Saint Nicholas Day on Dec 6th or the four Sundays of Advent, Christmas cookies and much more.

One tradition, however, stands out since it is equally loved by children and adults. The Advent Calendar!

Who doesn’t like a countdown to a highly anticipated event?

Apparently many don’t want to miss it. In places all around the world, one can now find these magic Advent Calendars that hide chocolates or little toys behind their secret doors. Even beer calendars are available or calendars filled with a variety of liquor filled chocolates. The possibilities seem endless…

In the old days, just a beautiful little picture behind a door would make kids happy. Today some Advent Calendars made it even online, published by companies that discovered it as another tool to engage customers.

The first Advent Calendar originated in Germany in 1904 when Gerhard Lang published a simple one as an insert in a newspaper in Stuttgart. It was a raving success! So Lang decided to print a new one every year. The designs became more and more elaborate from calendars that worked like a dial to calendar houses filled with chocolates to even a calendar in Braille for the blind.

But how did he get the idea to make a calendar that would count down the days to Christmas in the first place?

The idea of counting down to Christmas Eve already existed in different ways. Some families used to mark the days to Christmas with chalk on their doors, in other families children were putting one piece of hay every day into a manger in which Baby Jesus would be laid on Christmas Eve.

Gerhard Lange’s mother however handcrafted a calendar for his then little son that would be filled with a little meringue for every day in December leading up to Christmas Eve. That caused a lasting impression and, as an adult, inspired Gerhard Lange to expand on his mother’s idea of an Advent Calendar.

The ‘modern’ Advent Calendar was born and started out to conquer the world in all kinds of variations!

Wir wünschen eine schöne Vorweihnachtszeit!  

Happy Holiday Season!

Images: Pixabay.com


Der Winter ist Da !

Winter road.
(Ein Winter-Gedicht von Dieter Kermas)

Der Winter ist da,

es schneit, hurra!

Die Schule ist aus,

jetzt aber raus.

Es wird gerangelt und gelacht,

auf zur großen Schneeballschlacht.

Ein Schneeball trifft zuerst den Paul,

dieser wirft drauf gar nicht faul,

den nächsten Ball schon auf Hermine,

doch die verzieht nicht eine Miene

und Hermine ist nicht fein,

reibt den Paul mit Schnee nun ein.

Es geht laut zu, mit Geschrei,

jeder ist mit Spaß dabei.

Bald sind alle durchgefroren,

von den Füßen bis zu den Ohren.

Und die Mädchen und die Buben,

eilen heim in warmen Stuben.

© Dieter Kermas
Dieter KermasDieter  Kermas, CaliforniaGermans Guest Author and a true Berliner, turned to writing after he retired from his profession as an engineer. Family and friends urged him to document his many experiences during his childhood in wartime Germany. This made for a collection of various essays which have been published here at CaliforniaGermans. Apart form his childhood memories he is also sharing some of his short stories and poems on CaliforniaGermans.  Dieter Kermas, who loves to write, is currently working on his first novel. Some of his work has been included in anthologies.
To get in touch with Dieter Kermas, please send an email with subject line “Dieter Kermas”  to: californiagermans@gmail.com

Happy First Advent !



This year First Advent falls on to the 1st of December .

So light the first candle on your Advent wreath tomorrow, and don’t forget to open also the first door on your Advent Calendar !

Frohe Adventszeit ! – Happy Advent Season !


Gluehwein – Mulled Wine : A Christkindl Market Tradition


Did our previous post showcasing German Christkindel Markets get you in the mood of some real traditional ‘Glühwein’ (mulled red wine)?

Then check out our new recipe for this Christkindel Market tradition, by our guest writer GabrieleUtz . Just imagine walking through the fresh snow with a nice hot cup of ‘Glühwein’  and a handful of warm chestnuts! Those are some delicious winter holiday memories…

Happy Third of Advent!


Authentic German ‘Gluehwein’ or Mulled Wine


2 liter red wine
3/4 l brown rum, 40% –  optional
sugar as needed
1-2 orange, organic, blood oranges are good too
1-2 lemons, organic
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean
5 cloves and 1 star anise

Cooking Instructions
– Heat the wine in a big pot but don’t bring it to a boil; heat it on low temperature.
– Remove seeds from lemons and oranges.
– Cut the orange and lemon with the peel in slices or quarters, add them to the wine with the cloves. Keep it on low temperature and let it simmer.
– Cut vanilla bean open and add the seeds to the wine.
– Add 2/3 of the rum – the rum adds a  nice taste to the wine but also makes it stronger, so you can add just a little bit or don’t add it at all.
– Let it simmer until the oranges and lemons are getting very soft- for about 1-1.5 hours; take out a piece of lemon and check if you can take it off the peel. The wine should color it red until to the peel.
– Stir frequently.
– Wash some bottles with hot water.
– Take out the fruit and cloves or pour it through a strainer.
– Press remaining juice out of the fruit and add it to the wine. If you like your can puree the fruit without the peel and add it to the wine aswell, that makes it thicker.
– Heat it again and add remaining rum and sugar – don’t bring it to a boil!
– Fill it hot in bottles and close it right away, or keep it warm for your guests.
The wine can be kept for several months in the bottles if well closed.

—————————————————————————————————————–        ABOUT

MyBestGermanRecipes.comMyBestGermanRecipes is the creation of Gabriele Utz. Interested in cooking and baking ever since she can think of she now has turned her passion into reality, and has started an online cookbook with authentic German recipes in 2010. The website offers more than 300 original German recipes.
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Christmas Bakery – Peffernüsse, a German Christmas Recipe

English: Christmas cookies and decoration.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The First Advent Sunday is today and Christmas season has officially started. Traditionally the four weeks of Advent are represented by four candles on an Advent wreath. The first one will get lit today and then it’s only four more weeks until Christmas eve is here!

Christmas cookies are a must for this festive holiday season. So we thought of starting you out with a scrumptious recipe for traditional “Peffernüsse” by our guest author Gabriele Utz of MyBestGermanRecipes. She  will share with us one of her favorite recipes on each of the four Advent Sundays plus a special one for New Year‘s Eve. Give it a try and fill your home with the sweet scents of gingerbread spices!

Happy First of Advent!


(by Gabriele Utz, MyBestGermanRecipes.com)

This is an authentic German Pfeffernusse recipe as you would find in Germany. German Pfeffernusse are traditional Christmas cookies and very popular. You can find them in any bakery or supermarket in Germany. Get some German tradition into your home with this recipe. The ingredient Hirschhornsalz, in English Hartshorn or Ammonium Carbonate, is a traditional Gingerbread (Lebkuchen) ingredient since hundreds of years and was originally taken from deer’s antlers. It makes the dough raise but not in height, it makes it wider. Happy Baking!


Ingredients (20 pieces) German Pfeffernusse
125 honey
50 g sugar
2 tbsp butter
250 g flour (whole grain if you like)
1/2 tsp Hirschhornsalz (Ammonium Carbonate) – Find here the German original or an American product:
Ammonium Carbonate (Baker’s Ammonia) 2.7 oz
1 egg
2 tsp ginger bread spice – Edora Lebkuchen Gewurz (Gingerbread Spices) 1 – .05oz Package
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 pinch salt
125 g powdered sugar
1 tbsp rum

Baking Instructions German Pfeffernusse 
– Heat butter, honey and sugar and melt it.
– Mix flour, egg, Hirschhornsalz and spices, add honey dough and knead it  thoroughly with knead hooks.
– Form balls out of the dough and bake them on 190 C or 375 F for 12 minutes; bake the next portion only for 10 minutes.
– Make the glaze out of powdered sugar and rum and a bit of water.
– Spread glaze over the cooled off cookies and let them dry.
– Keep them at least 2 days in a tin box with a piece of bread or a piece of apple, so they get soft.
If you like you can make  a dark chocolate glaze and spread it on half of the cookies, and have the other half white.

Recipe Article Source:


MyBestGermanRecipes.comMyBestGermanRecipes is the creation of Gabriele Utz. Interested in cooking and baking ever since she can think of she now has turned her passion into reality, and has started an online cookbook with authentic German recipes in 2010. The website offers more than 300 original German recipes. 
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