Updated: Dec 4, 2021
You may already know that the German word for Christmas is Weihnachten. The word comes from Middle High German “holy nights”.
Look at all the things you can do with the word:
Fröhliche Weihnachten! / Frohe Weihnachten! = Merry Christmas! / Happy Christmas! Interchangeable in German as well as English.
der Weihnachtsbaum = Christmas tree
der Christbaum also means Christmas tree; used by more religious people
The tradition of the Christmas tree is not as ancient as you might think.
Queen Victoria’s very German husband, her beloved Bertie, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, helped make the Christmas tree and other German Christmas customs popular.
And around the same time, German immigrants brought their customs to America. The first Christmas tree to decorate the inside of the White House was put up by US President Franklin Pierce in 1856.
das Weihnachtsfest = Christmas festival, Christmas weihnachten a verb we don’t have in English! “Es weihnachtet.” = It’s Christmas. – Christmas is coming. We can’t say “It’s Christmasing” die Weihnachtskarte = Christmas card das Weihnachtslied = Christmas carol der Weihnachtsmann = Father Christmas, Santa Claus der Weihnachtsmarkt = Christmas market
A note about German compound nouns: the gender will always be determined by the final part of the word, so: a neuter word like das Lied will mean that Weihnachtslied is also neuter
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