• Germany edition
 
My Germany - Dresden
'Dresden's Christmas traditions are special'
Photo: Pippa Wentzel

'Dresden's Christmas traditions are special'

Published: 17 Dec 2012 06:57 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Dec 2012 06:57 GMT+01:00

Kruner knows the Saxon capital well: not only was she born and brought up in Dresden, she also works as a tour and museum guide with a particular focus the city's cultural heritage.

Click here to see more pictures of Dresden

What's special about a Dresden Christmas?

There are a lot of real local Christmas traditions. It's not like Halloween in Germany, which is imported. Dresden has its own traditions, which have been around for hundreds of years and are really something special.

The decorations and lights are a particularly important tradition. We have these traditional paper lanterns lit up with bulbs inside - every shop has them in the windows at Christmas.

Even walking through a very normal residential area at night is very magical because of all the lights; it's a pleasure just to walk around because people do a lot of individual decoration.

Dresden is famous as the birthplace of the Christmas market. But are they just for tourists these days?

Not at all. I actually went to a Christmas market this afternoon with my kids for them to ride on the carousel. You have to go at least once every Christmas and have a Glühwein and a Bratwurst.

Do you have a favourite one?

I like the Neumarkt around the Frauenkirche best. It has a 19th century theme; all the stall holders wear costumes and sell traditional wares. There are a lot of real craftsmen; there's a goldsmith and a knife-grinder. I personally find the Striezelmarkt - the biggest and oldest market - too big and too crowded. There are just too many people. But the one around the Church is much smaller and calmer. It feels a lot more Christmassy.

Dresden is also famous for its Stollen, the traditional German Christmas cake. Where can you find the best?

You can buy it all over the place, but everyone thinks their own is the best! Many people in Dresden make their own. We use my grandmother's recipe, and prepare our own dough but bring it to the baker for it to be baked in a proper oven - that makes it taste even better.

Do you have any tips for festive music lovers?

I love the Kreuzkirche - it's the oldest church in the city and has the famous boys' choir. We go to hear Bach's Christmas Oratorio every year as a family. But all the big churches have wonderful services.

On Christmas morning at six o'clock there's a nativity play in the Kreuzkirche. The church is always heaving with Dresdeners, even though it's so early in the morning.

Where would you go to warm up out of the cold?

Mulled wine! Or a hot chocolate! Wackerbarth makes the best. Theirs is unusual in that it's made with white wine, not red, which comes from the Wackerbarth vineyard here in Saxony. The wine is then mixed with white grape juice and some secret ingredients - it's totally delicious!

Dresden certainly takes Christmas seriously. What would you do if you wanted a break from it all?

If you wanted to escape from Christmas, you'd have to get right out the city - everywhere is full of people and decorations! You'd have to cross the river and get out into the countryside for a walk.

Lastly, can you tell us something about a Dresden Christmas that only locals know?

Every local has their own Stollen recipe - I wouldn't go giving that away! That's a private secret.

Want your hometown featured on My Germany? Contact us at: news@thelocal.de

Interview conducted by Pippa Wentzel

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

20:07 December 18, 2012 by chrishale53
...
Today's headlines
German hospitals ready for Ebola patients
Hamburg's UKE isolation ward is ready to take patients. Photo: DPA

German hospitals ready for Ebola patients

Germany's high-tech isolation wards remained on alert on Friday, ready to receive Ebola patients should they be required to. German airports seemed less prepared for the potential dangers of the viral epidemic, however. READ  

Two die in Bremen plane crash
The fire caused by the crash. Photo: DPA

Two die in Bremen plane crash

UPDATE: Two men died on Friday afternoon when a plane crashed in Bremen, causing a fire and a series of explosions in a warehouse near the city's airport. READ  

Merkel's party mutinies over tax cuts
Merkel in Münster last year at a meeting of her party's workers' wing. Photo: DPA

Merkel's party mutinies over tax cuts

Chancellor Angela Merkel faced a rebellion from within her own party on Friday after an unlikely coalition formed in favour of tax cuts for workers on lower incomes. READ  

Expat Dispatches
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Kleingärten in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

'Look at those German shanty towns!'

Visitors to Germany can sometimes be confused by the country's love of allotments in cities, known as a Kleingarten. Teacher and blogger Kathleen Ralf tells us what it's all about. READ  

Lightning rods further delay Berlin Airport
Closed until further notice: Berlin's troubled new airport. Photo: DPA

Lightning rods further delay Berlin Airport

Too few lightning rods and an undersized emergency generator have prevented part of Berlin's new airport from opening. Safety inspectors refused to sign off on the airport's north pier, thwarting progress on the massively delayed construction project. READ  

Two thirds of Berlin's tourist flats now illegal
Photo: DPA

Two thirds of Berlin's tourist flats now illegal

Two thirds of Berlin's 12,000 tourist apartments advertised on sites such as Airbnb were being run illegally from Friday following a law change, leaving hosts open to potential punishment. READ  

Lost goat halts Munich Airport trains
Fritzi underneath the train. Photo: Freiwillige Feuerwehr Unterschließheim/DPA

Lost goat halts Munich Airport trains

A lost pet goat called Fritzi halted trains to Munich Airport and had to be rescued from the tracks after suffering a concussion. READ  

Germany crowned U19 European Champions
Photo: EPA/Tibor Illyes HUNGARY OUT

Germany crowned U19 European Champions

Germany’s U19 football team added to a glorious summer of sport for the country by winning the European Championships in Budapest on Thursday night. READ  

World War I anniversary
100 years ago, Germans celebrated war's outbreak
August 1914. German soldiers march off to war in France. Photo: DPA

100 years ago, Germans celebrated war's outbreak

A hundred years ago on Friday Germany declared war on Russia and was preparing for an attack on France in the hope that Britain would stay neutral. Four years on, famine was ravaging the country and two million soldiers had been killed on the battlefield. READ  

Environment Agency urges fast fracking ban
Photo: DPA

Environment Agency urges fast fracking ban

Germany's Federal Environment Agency (UBA) is encouraging lawmakers to hurry up and ban fracking in all but name, saying the process is too dangerous to even consider allowing. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Society
Meet the man allowed to grow his own cannabis
Photo: DPA
Society
Your lottery numbers are 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13...
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Five reasons to visit Oktoberfest (and five not to)
Photo: DPA
Society
Huge Bavarian crop circle puzzles crowds
Photo: DPA
Analysis & Opinion
Have Your Say: Should Germany legalize cannabis?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Hamburg harbour lit up in blue
Business & Money
JobTalk: 'Application process is failing'
Photo: DPA
Society
This man wants to give all of us €12,000 a year
Photo: DPA
Education
Top university switches master's courses to English
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,276
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd