Christkind, is a German Christmas figure adorned with golden hair, angel wings, and a crown.  She is the traditional Christmas gift-bringer in multiple European countries. Christkind was created in the 16th century by Protestant Martin Luther.  He had become increasingly frustrated with the Catholic Church’s idolization of saints, as he thought that only Jesus Christ should be a prominent figure.  His intention was to shift the gift giving tradition from St. Nicholas’s Day (December 6), to Christmas Eve. The Christkind was originally modeled after the infant Christ.  Lutheran families quickly adopted the tradition. It spread to the German Catholic Church during the 19th century.

Throughout the years, the Christkind developed feminine features due to being featured in Christmas plays, and morphed into its current form as the tradition spread throughout Europe.  She remains a Christ-like figure with gold wings and crown meant to represent the Angel Gabriel.

In a German household, the children never saw Christkind like we would visit Santa today. Sometimes her arrival would be announced with the ringing of a bell, and a knock on the door.  Other families thought of Christkind accompanying Father Christmas on his route. Christkind is now part of Christkindlmarkt festivals all around the world.

Christkind opens Excelsior Christkindlsmarkt Friday morning with a proclamation:

You men and women, who once yourselves were children,
You little ones, life’s journey just beginning,
Each and all, who troubled tomorrow, are full of cheer today,
Pray listen to what Christkind has come to say!
Every year, four weeks before the time,
To decorate the Christmas tree, to celebrate the season,
Appears upon this square, your forebears knew it too,
What you here see, called Christkindlesmarkt by you,
This little town within the town, of wood and cloth made,
Whose short-lived splendor so fleeting seems to be,
And yet it is eternal. My market shall forever young remain.
As long as Nuremberg stands, and the memory of that market’s fame.
For Nuremberg is both old and young at once,
The many features of its countenance beyond all count.
Here this noble square. But now adjoining it,
The tall buildings of today, the factories of the modern world
The new city of so much green. And yet, you men and women true
It will remain forever the Nuremberg that is you.
Now as the old year ends there comes the day,
When wishes can be made and presents given,
When the market shines forth far and wide,
With decorations, and crystal balls, and blessed Christmastime
This you may not forget, you men and women, heed my word,
He who has all needs nothing more,
There are the children of this world and poor,
Who know the best what giving’s for.
You men and women, who once yourselves were children,
Be them again today, happy as children be,
And now the Christkind to its market calls,
And all who come are truly welcome.