5 ways Germans think Christmas has got worse

Tom Barfield
Tom Barfield - [email protected]
5 ways Germans think Christmas has got worse
"I built this decoration just to show my grandkids how much better I am at celebrating Christmas than them". Photo: DPA

A new survey confirms that the vast majority of Germans think that Christmas just isn't what it used to be in the good old days.


YouGov asked 1,133 people their opinion about how Christmas celebrations have changed over the years between December 11th and 15th.

And the results seem to confirm what everyone suspects: that the festival was better and more meaningful in the past – however old the people the pollsters asked were.

1. Christmas used to be "more festive"

Lighting a candle on the traditional Adventskranz (advent wreath). Photo: DPA

Just four percent of people thought that the holiday season had become more festive since they were children.

Meanwhile, 24 percent thought it had stayed the same – but a crushing 68 percent thought their Yuletides had become less festive.

Even the youngest age group, people aged 18-24, thought that Christmas was more festive when they were younger, with 65 percent agreeing.

But people might do well to look around - Christmas is still being celebrated the same way it always has all over Germany, with ceremonies such as the opening of the Nuremberg Christmas market by the Christ Child figure.

2. Christmas used to be "more beautiful"

A beautifully decorated Christmas tree stands next to the altar of the St. Michaelis church in Hamburg on Christmas Eve 2014. Photo: DPA

The same pattern repeated itself when the survey asked more generally whether Christmas was more beautiful in the past.

With five percent thinking Christmas had become prettier over the years and 25 percent thinking it had stayed the same, more than two-thirds were left believing things had got worse.

But the good news was that fewer young people were disappointed this time around, with just over half – 55 percent – agreeing.

3. Christmas is getting too commercialized

Christmas shopping. Photo: DPA

Inevitably, the money-making side of Christmas was one of the big complaints Germans have about the holiday.

A whopping 88 percent agreed that the festival was now too deeply bound up with spending and consumption.

But with consumer spending increasingly a driver for German economic growth, people might not want to rein in their shopping too much - or they might find themselves able to do less of it next year.

4. Christmas is losing its religious heart

Midnight mass in Jöhstadt, Lower Saxony around the nativity scene in 2014. Photo: DPA

The flip side of that coin is people losing sight of what it truly means to celebrate Christmas.

An 82 percent majority thought that the religious core of the holiday was being lost, with few differences between people of different Christian denominations – and even non-churchgoers agreeing.

But that might be news to Catholics in Berlin, for example - whose bishop urged them this month to live up to Christian values by welcoming refugees into their homes for the festival.

5. There aren't as many white Christmases as before

Most people – 78 percent – agreed that white Christmases were more frequent in the past.

But as YouGov noted, the German Weather Service (DWD) regularly points out that snow on the ground has always been a rarity on December 25th .

According to the meteorologists, the questions about a white Christmas are so predictable every year that they rely on them as a reminder to start their own Christmas shopping.


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