|An advent calendar made by Quynh in 2019.
Ngoc Diep: Thank you for joining our show today, Quynh. I watched a very lovely video clip on your facebook page the other day about how you and your family have prepare for Christmas and you mentioned the advent tradition as part of the Christmas holiday. Can you tell us about the Advent tradition in Germany and why people celebrate it?
Quynh Le Becker: Thank you, too, for having me today. Well, Advent means "Coming" in Latin so Adventszeit means "Coming time"- This is the coming of Jesus into the world. - the 25th of December. Christians spend the four Sundays and weeks of Advent preparing and remembering the real meaning of Christmas. So this is a very special time of the year, especially for the kids.
|A corner decorated by Quynh at home with a small Christmas tree and a self-made Gingerbread House during 2020 Advent.
Ngoc Diep: So what do German people do for the Advent?
Quynh Le Becker: There are certain things that most German people do on this occasion, including making Adventskranz or Advent Wreaths. The families often put a wreath up on the first Advent Sunday (this year it was on November 29th) to start the season. A typical Advent wreath is made of evergreen branches and decorated with pinecones, red-green tapes and 4 candles, one for each week of Advent. Christmas decorations are also a must. We decorate every corner of our house with lights & candles and decorative items in colours of green/white and red. A Christmas tree will also be decorated. We bake Christmas biscuits and make Gingerbread Houses, which are must-have things for children this time of year.
| An advent wreath for 2020 Christmas at Quynh's home.
Ngoc Diep: Can you tell us more about the Advent calendar?
Quynh Le Becker: Of course. This is what the kids love the most. In addition to advent calendars on sale at almost every shop, we can create our own advent calendar by preparing small packages numbered 1 to 24 and hang them up on the wall. You can put gummies, chocolate, or small story books, inside these packages depending on what your children like. They will be extremely happy to get what they love after opening every package each day leading up to Christmas. I know that some mothers and girls make Advent Calendars for their family members by wrapping up to 72 small packages of gifts. That’s a lot but I guess there’s a lot of fun, too.
| 2020 DIY Advent Calender made by Quynh with little gifts inside.
Ngoc Diep: That’ a lot of fun and love. What a lovely tradition! And can you share with our listeners some recommendations on things you can do with kids to prepare for Christmas, especially during Covid-19?
Quynh Le Becker: Sure. In addition to a number of things I said earlier like making DIY Advent Calendars for the kids, baking Christmas biscuits, decorating the house, and making an Advent Wreath, making Christmas wishlists and preparing for St. Nicolas Day on December 6 is also fun.
| Home-baked Christmas biscuits will be put in small packages as gifts for relatives and loved ones.
Ngoc Diep: Sounds very interesting. Tell us more about St. Nicolas Day please.
Quynh Le Becker: Legend has it that St. Nikolaus would visit homes on the evening of December 5th. Kids would be tested for their behaviors. If they’re good, they’ll get a good gift. If not, then charcoal.
Ngoc Diep: Oh that’s so fun. So what do kids do to prepare for the visit?
Quynh Le Becker: Children would tidy their rooms and clean their toys. I love that. Shoes are polished, and set out by the door or on a window sill. Some kids even leave a bit of hay or straw for St. Nikolas’s Donkey. Children wake to find, candies, gold coins, and even small treats on December 6th.
|Minh, Quynh's son, with a train-shaped cake for Christmas.
| Amie, Quynh's daughter, during Christmas baking time.
Ngoc Diep: Thank you so much for your lovely recommendations and sharing the Advent tradition in Germany. We wish you and your family all the best and a happy holiday season.
Quynh Le Becker: Thank you, too. And Happy Holidays, everybody.
| Quynh and her little family live in Wiesbaden, Germany.