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Germany's 'Christkind' already receives thousands of Christmas letters

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Germany's 'Christkind' already receives thousands of Christmas letters
Letters from children around the world at the Christkind's postbox in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Oliver Berg

It may be September, but that hasn't stopped thousands of eager children sending off their Christmas wishlists to the Christkind (Christ Child) - a baby Jesus-like figure responsible for delivering presents on Christmas Eve.

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A month before Halloween, festive treats such as Stollen and Lebkuchen have started appearing on supermarket shelves, reminding us of the Christmas holidays a full three months away.

Not to be outdone, thousands of children around Germany - and even worldwide - have been getting an early start this year by sending off their Christmas lists to the Christkind's headquarters in Engelskirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia. 

According to a spokeswoman for Deutsche Post - the company responsible for handling the Christkind's postbox - 4,800 children have already sent their letters in, including children from as far afield as Brazil, Chile, Thailand and China. 

Many children already have precise ideas about what the Christkind should bring them.

Jakub, for example, would like a clarinet stand and a headlamp, Antonia a Kugelbahn, or marble run. Junxi from China, meanwhile, wants "joy and hope for the children of the world".

According to the spokesperson, the letters are often lovingly designed, and some children have enclosed small gifts such as bookmarks or Christmas decorations they have made themselves.

READ ALSO: Wish lists from children worldwide pile up at Santa's post offices in Germany

Some children also asked the Christkind questions or talked about themselves and their experiences in Germany. 

Kunieng from Macau, for example, wrote of his previous trip to Germany: "I miss the Christmas market and currywurst with chips".

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Last year, the staff of the Christkind post office in Engelskirchen, which officially opens in mid-November, answered almost 135,000 letters from 48 countries.

There are six other Christmas post offices in Germany.

Who is the Christkind?

Thanks to the religious divisions that happened during the Reformation, Germany actually has numerous figures that are believed to bring gifts to children over the festival period.

The idea of the Christkind - or Christ Child - as a gift-giver was actually propagated by the theologian Martin Luther back in the 16th Century as an alternative to the Catholic Nikolaus, or St. Nicholas.

READ ALSO: German Advent word of the day: Das Christkind

Nowadays, Nikolaus comes on December 6th and leaves small presents in people's shoes, while the blonde-haired, cherub-like figure of the Christkind appears on Christmas Eve. 

Santa Claus, or der Weihnachtsmann, has also become a prevalent character in Germany's Christmas traditions in recent years. 

He, too, has postboxes in Germany where children can send their Christmas letters.

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