The GAHF wishes you and your family a Merry Christmas.
Many of the Christmas traditions practiced in the United States were introduced by German-Americans. Christmas trees were first popularized by German immigrants in Pennsylvania. While Christmas decorations and celebrations were banned in colonial New England for being considered sacrilegious, the display of Christmas trees among other practices gained widespread acceptance during the early 19th century.
The modern representation of Santa Claus can be attributed to German-American Thomas Nast, who depicted Santa Claus as a jolly, old man in a large-red suit. Although “Santa Claus” originates from the Dutch-American Sint-Nicolaas (pronounced Sinterklaas) and Clement Clark Moore’s poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”, Santa’s nickname “Kris Kringle” is German-American.
Kris Kringle derives from Christkind, German for “Christ-child”. Martin Luther created the notion of Christkind to de-emphasize the role of saints and draw more attention to Christmas.
We wish you a wonderful holiday season full of cheer and a happy 2017!
German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA®