1. Stollen Festival, Dresden, December 3rd
The 2015 Stollen Girl stands in front of the giant cake next to the traditional 1.6 metre Stollen knife. Photo: DPA
The people of Dresden take things pretty seriously when it comes to Stollen – a fruit bread coated in sugar traditional to German Christmas. For 21 years, they have celebrated Stollenfest on the Saturday before the second Sunday of Advent.
A crowd of bakers and Stollen-aficionados parade a specially made giant Stollen through the streets of the Old Town. Each year, a Dresden Stollen Girl is elected as the best trainee baker, and she accompanies the huge loaf.
The several-tonne cake harks back to 1730, when the then-ruler of Saxony ordered a giant Stollen to be made for a military festival. The loaf was divided into 24,000 portions and distributed among the guests and soldiers.
Today, the giant cake is still cut up into thousands of pieces, using a special 1.6 metre knife weighing in at 12 kilograms, and is then sold off at the Christmas market.
2. Tollwood Winter Festival, Munich, November 23rd – December 31st
View of Tollwood Winter Festival 2015. Photo: Tollwood
“Cowboy boots instead of winter boots” is the motto for this year’s Tollwood winter festival in Munich's Theresienwiese, the huge area where Oktoberfest is held.
Canadian contemporary circus group Cirque Éloize have brought their show “Saloon” to Europe for the first time: expect upbeat piano music, swinging saloon-doors, and stunning acrobatics, theatre and dance.
The festival, which this year concentrates on “sustainable mobility”, tries to educate visitors about the advantages of carpooling, public transport and cycling.
The festival includes stalls and food kiosks, and hundreds of artistic performances. Over 70 percent of the events are free, but tickets for the others can be bought online.
3. ChocolART Chocolate Festival, Tübingen, November 29th – December 4th
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then you would be mad to miss Germany’s biggest chocolate festival at the beginning of December. Taking place in Tübingen’s old town, the festival brings together over 100 of the top international chocolatiers from all corners of the world.
Across six days, you can sample chocolates from Africa, South America, Europe and more. Alternatively, you could sip on some of the best drinking chocolate around, or swat up on your choco-knowledge by attending courses and demonstrations.
The festival also places a lot of emphasis on the chocolate-making process, promoting fair treatment of the 14 million people whose livelihoods depend on chocolate production.
4. Christmas Garden Berlin, November 17th – January 1st
“As the twilight falls, the magic begins” is the motto of the 2016 Christmas celebrations at the Berlin Botanical Gardens.
The show includes a fairy tale landscape in which visitors can wander through one and a half kilometres of “breathtaking light shows, bright dream forests and magical light figures” far from the packed crowds of Berlin's Christmas markets.
At the end of the adventure, there are a variety of food stalls offering local culinary specialties, as well as fire pits to gather round. For the more athletic, there is also a 300-metre squared ice rink.
Visitors peruse stalls in front of the imposing Königsbau building in Stuttgart's Schlossplatz. Photo: DPA
You can’t be in Germany in December without visiting a Christmas market, but the tricky part is choosing which one to visit.
Click here to see ten of Germany's most unmissable Christmas markets, ranging from the über-traditional to the totally wacky.
6. Circus Krone, Munich, December 25th – January 31st
A Circus Krone performance in Munich in April 2015. Photo: DPA
Europe’s biggest circus opens for its winter season on Christmas Day. One of the few circuses to have its own permanent building, this Munich troupe is one of the best.
Once an integral part of European entertainment, circuses of this quality are now few and far between. Although many are put off by these institutions, Circus Krone emphasizes the importance of treating their animals well.
From breakdancing to trapezes, and llamas to lions, it certainly promises to be an impressive display.
7. New Year's Eve parties, December 31st
The New Year's celebrations for 2016 at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Photo: DPA
Silvester, or New Year’s Eve as we know it, is a big occasion in Germany. And of course the capital throws a party to be reckoned with. Each year around a million revellers gather around the Brandenburg Gate to welcome in the new year, and the two-kilometre road to the Victory Column in the Tiergarten park turns into one long party avenue.