Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Frohliche Weihnachten or just Merry Christmas


This is dedicated to my mom’s family since she brought Christmas, the true meaning, to us- family, love, hope and cherished traditions that only the Krauts..oops, Germans know how to celebrate. Sorry but, it’s true. When my mom was little,  her sister, and 2 brothers were always in the Christmas Nativity story. Tante Ilse was the oldest followed by Uncle Harry, Uncle Kurt and then my mom.  My mom and Tante Ilse were angels, Uncle Kurt was a shepherd and Uncle Harry was one of the 3 kings.  They all had to sing songs and they sang very well, unlike me who could never hold a note which is why I, probably, ended up as a fern in the school Christmas play..yes, a fern. So my mom et al ended up all having  a favourite song which I will showcase here today. I grew up with these songs so they are very familiar to me but probably new to  you.


My mom actually said Tante Ilse liked most and didn’t favour a song, but Tante Ilse mentioned this song the last time I saw her(2009). It means,"Ring, little Bell" based on a folk song from the 19th century. It may be written by Karl Enslin or Benedikt Widmann. I think it is pretty and this is from an album from 1957...I think. It was my mom's first Christmas album she bought when she came to Canada and I still have it. I should look and see if I can find the date. 


Uncle Harry loved this one and sang this song as he walked down to see the Nativity. He belted it out and was noticeable even though he was really a small fry. This song translates to " daughter of Zion, Rejoice". Lyrics were written around 1820. This piece is from 2015 an Advent Concert which is when this song is usually played.


I wish I could have met my Uncle Kurt, whom my mom was so close to, as he was quite fun loving. He sang this song as a shepherd and loved this gentle song. It means, " Softly, Falls the Snow." Freddy was a popular German singer and he sang this off his Christmas album from 1964. Uncle Harry loved this album because it was about a navy man away from home at Christmas. I couldn't find the Album cover through the blog youtube so I hope this is the same.


This song has always been my mom’s favorite especially when the church bells were played before and after. She loved Ivan Rebroff who thought of himself as a Russian but he was German. He had an amazing 4 octave vocal range and I love his album which is from 1970.

I hope you liked this and what were your parents' favourite Christmas song or your brother's or your sister's?


  1. Hi, Birgit!

    I'll bet you wowed audiences and critics alike with your breakout performance in the role of a fern, dear friend. They laughed. They cried. :)

    I enjoyed the flashback story of how your mother, aunt and uncles took part in Christmas Nativity plays as children, and listening to their favorite songs soothed my soul this morning. To begin with, I can understand your fondness for the song your aunt mentioned, "Ring, Little Bell." It's simply beautiful. I can picture your uncle in the play belting "Daughter of Zion, Rejoice." The performance of the song in the Advent Concert is magnificent. I too wish you had met your Uncle Kurt. Thanks for sharing "Softly Falls The Snow," the song he sang in the role of a shepherd. Freddy Quinn's vocal is rich and deep and stirs my emotions, as do all these songs performed in German, the foreign language I chose to study in high school and in college. Thank you for revealing that your mom's favorite song is "Silent Night, Holy Night." I can understand why your mother loved singer Ivan Rebroff. His trills are enthralling. His interpretation of the carol touches me deeply.

    In answering your question, all I can come up with is memories of my mother standing next to me in the church pew as we attended the annual Christmas candlelight services. She was always profoundly moved by the beauty of the service. I remember looking up at her as we sang in unison and noticing that her eyes were closed and that she was weeping. Music has the same effect on me.

    Thank you for posting these inspiring songs and the stories that go along with them, dear friend BB. I'll see you tamale in the balcony "At The Movies!"

  2. Vielen Dank, Birgit, for sharing your wonderful German Christmas memories and music! ♥ I remember these songs and Stille Nacht is also my favourite. Freddy Quinn had a beautiful voice; he was a teenage crush of mine in the 60s. Frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch!

  3. Birgit, even a fern is important in the whole scheme of things. You are right, I have never heard of these, but it doesn't make them any less enjoyable to listen to.

    To be honest, I can't remember any songs we sang at Christmas, except when I was rehearsing for the Messiah, which we put on every year at Christmas and Easter. My grandmother would sing the alto and I was a soprano. I had a couple of solos every year, too.

    Have a super week and a very happy holiday. Hooe you are healing well.

  4. I will abstain from discussing Christmas music. It's best that way.

  5. These are really beautiful, and you're right: many, if not most, Christmas traditions started in Germany.

    I always liked the old Latin hymns, like "Adeste Fideles" and "O Sanctisssima," and the ones that had some Latin, such as "The Boar's Head Carol," "Angels We Have Heard On High," etc. I also like songs like "Bring A Torch, Jeanette, Isabella," "Pat-A-Pan," "Ding Dong, Merrily On High," "Riu, Riu Chiu" (which I only discovered a couple of years ago), etc.

    "Silent Night" is in a class by itself. Practically everyone loves that one: simple, not too many words, easy to sing, and truly evokes the beauty of that night. At Mass throughout the Christmas season, our parish sings that as a postcommunion song, and the Christmas lights are the only ones lit.

    And you can't beat "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" for a good ol' Christmas drinking song...

  6. hi Birgit..we were at our Carols by candlelight last night and at last Iam beginning to feel the joy of christmas...always starts with the carols....I hope you have a peaceful and Happy Christmassending you a hug for better 2022....xxxx

  7. Frohliche Weihnachten! My family is from Germany as well so I love this post.