Christmas tree debate in Germany

Christmas tree debate in Germany

CHRISTMAS TREE: A German tradition for centuries Photo credit: Pixabay/AnnieSpratt

BUYING a Christmas tree is a fundamental aspect of Germany’s Leitkultur mainstream culture.

This, at least, is the belief of Friedrich Merz who heads the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) opposition party.

“When we talk about Leitkultur, about our way of life, then, for me, this includes buying a Christmas tree before Christmas,” the politician told the German media.

“It is part of our Western Christian-influenced identity,” he said, maintaining that this custom had existed for generations, that it still influenced present-day children and would continue to do so well into the future.

The controversial politician went on to say that he was surprised that a statement like this, made on December 21, should have laid him open to accusations of religious intolerance.

“I’m slightly astonished that it is apparently a problem for many when we say something like that,” Merz continued.

Politicians more liberal than Merz are more circumspect about the Leitkultur concept, preferring that immigrants integrate as part of Germany’s multicultural society while critics have drawn parallels with the “Germanisation” propagated in the distant past.

Meanwhile, although Merz carefully avoided recommending that everybody should have a tree at Christmas, former Cabinet minister Ruprecht Polenz construed Merz’s comments as an implicit demand for people to buy Christmas trees.

“Respect and tolerance are crucial for the cultural climate in a pluralistic society,” Polenz declared. “Indeed, both must be demanded. But that is something different from demanding certain practices from everyone.”

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at