Smoking santas, nutcrackers, and gingerbread! In Professor Pat Branstad’s German classes, students learned about Christmas holiday traditions in German-speaking countries recently, and also studied the German influence on American Christmas celebrations.
On December 6, students celebrated Nikolaustag (Saint Nicholas Day) in class with traditional candies and Pfeffernüsse cookies.
The following day the class used the International Center kitchens to build gingerbread houses: hands-on learning about another German holiday tradition that has influenced US cultural norms.
The houses are now on display in the Humanities Resource Center in Confer-Vickner.
Photos: All the photos are by Professor Branstad, except for the “Smoking Santa” by Hannah Vogel.
- handcrafted Nussknacker (nutcrackers) and “Räuchermänner” (“smokers”) from the Ore Mountains of central Germany along with some traditional Nikolaus figures
- the gingerbread building class