In Germany, preparations for Christmas begin before December falls. But the real celebration starts from 6th December, St. Nicholas Day, known here as "Nikolaustag". On the night of 5th December
(St. Nicholas Eve) children put their shoe or boot outside the door, a tradition practiced in many other European countries. According to a German legend, the spirit of St. Nicholas, the patron
saint of children, goes from house to house on this night carrying a book of sins in which all the actions of the year of all children are written. It is said that St. Nicholas fills the shoes of
all good kids with delicious treats and places twigs in the shoes of all naughty children.
During Advent, advent wreaths (made of Holly flowers) are placed on a table and four red candles are placed in the center of it. One of these candles is lit on each Sunday preceding Christmas and
the last one is lighted on Christmas Eve. Advent calendars, containing pictures beneath each window, are used by kids to count the days until Christmas.