Celebrate Christmas the Swiss means with this list of peak Christmas traditions in Switzerland, Christmas holiday activities, and a Swiss-German Christmas dictionary.

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The Swiss Christmas season is just roughly the corner and the roadways are complete of Christmas lights and also decorations anywhere Switzerland. There are specific aspects that Christmas in Switzerland that space universal choose presents, the tree and fairy lights, but every country and region has developed their own way of celebrating – and Switzerland is no exception.

To help you have actually the best Christmas in Switzerland, A Humorous overview to Switzerland bring you the optimal Christmas heritages in Switzerland, Christmas activities, a thesaurus of Christmas-related terms and also everything you must know around Samichlaus – otherwise known as the Swiss Santa.

Samichlaus, the Swiss Santa

Unlike in the United claims or various other places about the globe, Santa Claus (who is based on the historic number ofSaint Nicholas) access time Switzerland not on 24 December yet on 6 December. The does not lug gifts – we gain those on 24 December like everyone rather – but a huge bag filled through chocolates, peanuts and mandarins for anyone to share.

Let me describe how the Santa tradition in Switzerland works. In the night of6 December, theSamichlaus(or Santa Claus) visits every household with his helperSchmutzli, that is commonly dressed in all-black clothing with a blackened face. Unlike in various other countries, Santa knocks on the door and also is invited in. (Maybe Swiss chimneys are just too small for him to rise down?) Sometimes, Santa also has a donkey with him that carries his bag.

Once inside, he orders his helper to put down the large bag v the treats and open it. He climate calls anyone forward one by one and also gives castle a report on just how they behaved in the last year. He’ll sing them praises and sometimes mention areas for improvement. ~ receiving your report, every boy can shot to enhance their standing through Santa by reciting a Christmas or Santa-related poem. A great report and a an excellent poem will get a child a large handful of treats when a bad report and also no city is stated to endanger you of receiving blows native Santa’s helper or gift stuck into Santa’s bag and also carried off v him. Guarantees to do far better next year are stated to save youngsters from this fate.

Santa also gives a yearly report around adults including parents however usually in a comedic fashion no to it is in taken also seriously.

Christmas heritages in Switzerland

As an expat in Switzerland, you great to celebrate Christmas the Swiss method but girlfriend don’t know where come go beyond the Swiss Christmas markets. Below is my list of peak Swiss Christmas heritages that you need to follow this coming holiday:

Christmas cookie baking

Yes, nearly every Swiss family bakes several batches the Christmas cookies.


There space so plenty of different kinds:Zimtsterne, Chräbbeli, Mailänderli, andBrunsli to name a few. We bake them and also love to give away neatly arranged and filled cookie boxes or bags. Therefore good!

Swiss Christmas calendar

As in numerous parts that Europe, world in Switzerland enjoy the heritage of counting the days till Christmas Eve. This is usually done through a Christmas calendar, additionally known as development calendar, i m sorry counts the 24 days indigenous 1–24 December.

Either a store-bought or homemade Christmas calendar can be checked out in many Swiss homes during the holiday season. It’s a fun means to count down the days until Christmas Eve.

Advent home windows (Adventsfenster)

Much choose Christmas calendars, Adventsfenster or introduction windows are provided to count down the days come Christmas Eve. Typical in smaller towns and also villages that Switzerland, this is just how it works: everywhere the village or neighborhood, there are 24 human being – greatly families and also schools but likewise couples or also local businesses – who decorate one or much more of their home windows in a vacation theme.

During the decoration process and until a window is publicly revealed ~ above its allocated day, the windows remain closed and the design hidden v the shutters. Draft usually incorporate a combination of black document for the various shapes and colorful dragon record that will let light shine through from within the room. The scene can depict anything from stars, animals, nativity scenes, angels, candles, etc.

Thus, every evening from 1–24 December, there will be one home window opened at a set time. Human being are invite to conference in prior of the home to watch how the shutters are opened and the photo is revealed. Oftentimes, music or a Christmas carol accompanies will certainly be component of the meeting. Some world even offer little snacks like cookies or peanuts and also a warm drink. After a bit of chatting through neighbors and also friends, human being return to their homes.

Once opened, the home windows will stay lit every night till Christmas eve (and sometimes, also longer). In part communities, there is a Christmas Eve tradition to go check out all 23 earlier Adventsfenster before heading to the final 24th window.

Advent wreath (Adventskranz)

Swiss people count the days in the direction of 24 December and the huge celebration is theAdventskranzor advent wreath. One Adventskranz is normally a decorated one wreath make of fir branches with four huge candles fastened on it. As opposed to Christmas calendars, which begin counting the days until Christmas from 1 December, Adventskränze count the last four weeks prior to Christmas Eve. The an initial candle is lit on the Sunday 4 weeks prior to Christmas Eve and then every week secondary candle is lit.


In the finish of November, you have the right to see little parades of beetroot lanterns all over Switzerland.

Photo: Micha L. Rieser

These are referred to as Räbeliechtli.Children carve castle at school with your teachers and also parents, and walk about with lock while singing with the villages.

Poems because that Santa

According come SwisstraditionSanta access time Switzerland ~ above 6 December and also does not bring the really Christmas gift – those are said to be lugged by theChristkind. Instead, the takes follow me a big bag filled through nuts, mandarins, cookies, and chocolates, which he distributes to the kids he visits depending upon their actions during the previous year.

A Swiss Samichlaus roams the roads of Lucerne

The number of goodies one receives can sometimes be enhanced when the son (or adult) recites a poem or a short rhyme because that Santa. Typically, these brief poems are about theSanta traditionin Switzerland or the Christmas season. Some are straightforward while others space a little bit humorous, which can not constantly be received well by the visiting Santa. Below are some examples of Christmas poems the Swiss recite come Santa:

Samichlaus du liebe Maa(Santa Claus you’re a good man) /dörfi au es Nüssli haa? (may ns please have some nuts as well?)Samichlaus du bisch en Guete(Santa Claus you’re a great man) /gäll ich bruche gwüss kei Ruete (I won’t need to be chastized, right?) /Läär lieber hüt ns eusem Huus(Instead, empty in our house) /de allergröschti Chlaussack uus. (the greatest Santa bag.)Sami Niggi Näggi(Santa Claus) /Hinterem Ofe stecki(I’m behind the oven) /Gib mer Nuss und Bire (if you’ll give me nuts and pears) /de chumi weder füre.(I’ll come out.)Samichlaus du guete Maa(Santa Claus you’re a an excellent man) /gäll ich mues kei Ruete haa.(surely i don’t deserve the rod.) /Gib sie lieber em Papi(Instead use it ~ above Daddy) /de isch de grösser Lappi.(he is the bigger dupe.)

Swiss-German Christmas dictionary

Christmas is just a couple of weeks away and arrival season has begun. Soon. Roads in every Swiss town will certainly be lit up with Christmas lights and filled with Christmas songs. Brush up her Swiss German language skills and gain this Christmas season come the fullest v this helpfulglossary the Christmas terms:

Advent – AdventAdventschranz– Advent wreath, normally with four candlesAdventskalender– Christmas calendarAdventsmärt– introduction marketCherze– CandleCherzezieh– make candlesChrischtbaum –Christmas treeChrischtchindli –Christ childChrippe– mangerErdnüssli – peanut (a usual gift native Santa)Fitze –Santa’s stick the he supplies to hit negative behaving children)Grittibänz– bread roll in the form of a manGschänkli– giftsGuetzli– cookiesLiechterchetti–chain that lightsMandarinli–mandarin (a typical gift native Santa)Samichlaus–SantaSchmutzli– literally ‘dirty one’; Santa’s helper that is normally dressed every blackSchnee–snowSchtern–starSchtern vo Bethlehem–Chistmas star, star complied with by the 3 KingsTannebaum–fir treeWiehnachte–ChristmasWiehnachtsmärt–Christmas marketWiissi Wiehnachte–literally ‘white Christmas’; eye on Christmas Eve

10 Swiss Christmas activities

Are friend spending the holidays in Switzerland and want to do the many of her Swiss Christmas experience? here are some fun Swiss tasks to do during the Christmas season:

1. Cookie baking afternoon

Enjoy an afternoon of baking through your friends. Shot yourself at some classic Swiss cookies prefer Brunsli, Zimststern or Chräbbeli.

2. Grittibänz baking

Create your own Grittibänz – a classic man-shaped roll (you can find a recipehere).

3. Ice skating

There space ice skating rinks in virtually every larger town in Switzerland. Have actually a glass of hot punch and also skate a couple of rounds through your friends.

4. Visit a Christmas market

Plenty that smaller and bigger Christmas sectors will captivate you. Choose one that is close come you from thislist.

An indoor Christmas industry in Zürich

5. Glühwein

Make your own batch of hot glühweinand enjoy a cozy evening at home.

6. Build a snowman

A Swiss Christmas staple – no explanation needed.

7.Samichlausschwimmenin Zurich

Yes, the Swiss walk swimming in the lake even in winter. If you want to sign up with the fun authorize uphere.

8. Do your very own wrapping paper

Nothing win a unique wrapped gift. Obtain creative! some suggestions can be foundhere.

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9. Outdoor Christmas

Have your own outdoor Christmas and also go decorate a tree in the forest. Be careful with candle though!

10. Do an Adventskranz or Christmas calendar

Create your ownAdvent wreathorChristmas calendarto count the moment until Christmas Eve.