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The word for Christmas Eve in Germany is Weihnacht meaning “watch night. The figure that brings gifts on Christmas Eve is Der Weihnachtsmann or “ The Christmas Man”.
In northern Europe there was a centuries old folk lore figure, a bearded man in a long brown coat with a fur hood who traveled in a sled pulled by a reindeer. He represented fertility, nourishment and the preparation for the long winter and most likely derived from early Germanic mythology.
Originally Weihnachtsmann was pictured as a very weary old bearded man, trudging through the snowy streets, sometimes carrying a tree over his shoulder.
Today, however he has become more like the American Santa Claus, a jolly fellow dressed in a red suit. He brings gifts on Christmas Eve, but does not come down the chimney, instead he mysteriously slips into the house to leave his gifts.
This piece is available exclusively through the Legends & Lore club.
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