Merry Christmas/ Frohe Weihnachten

By: Wanda Campbell

When I was young, we lived in Germany. Germany was a great place to celebrate Christmas.

There were several types of Advent Calendars in German homes. Traditional ones were made of a wreath of Fir branches with 24 decorated boxes or bags hanging from the branches. Each bag was filled with a gift. In the US, we have paper Advent Calendars with a compartment for a small candy or gift.

The Advent wreaths in churches in Germany held four candles. The first candle represented Isiah and the prophets who told of Jesus’ coming. The second candle represented the Bible. The third candle represented Mary, mother of Jesus, and the four candle represented John the Baptist. During the Christmas ceremonies at church, a separate special candle was lit for Jesus.

Christmas trees are a very important part of German tradition. They have been around since the late middle ages. If there are young children in the house, the tree is secretly brought into the house and trimmed by parents on Christmas Eve as if Father Christmas brought it.

You see, Santa or St Nicholas comes on December 6 and brings small toys or candies to the children. St Nicholas comes in the night and delivers the presents for children who put their shoes by the door. Another legend says that Krampus (a big scary monster) travels with St. Nick to scare the bad children. In another region of Germany, Krampus become Black Peter (a small elf creature) who carries a whip to whip the bad children. Black Peter is also a legend in Scandinavian countries.

Christmas in Athens is just a few days away. The staff of Athens State University Center for Lifelong Learning want to take this opportunity to wish you health, happiness and a wonderful holiday season. We will be closed from December 13 to January 1 but you can find course information on our website – We will reopen on January 2.

Intermediate Sign Language will begin on January 6 to February 28 at the Center for Lifelong Learning. The Brown Bag Lunch Series: The Great Debate will begin again on January 23 from 11:30am to 12:30pm. This is a continuation of the series that ran in November.

For those who are interested in publishing that novel you have in the draw, How to Publish Your Book will start on January 22 from 11am-1pm. This video series will end on March 11.

Hope to see you at the Center in the new year.
By: Wanda Campbell
Center for Lifelong Learning – 121 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611 – 256-233-8262