Video: Celebrating Christmas with Bavaria’s Christkind

To celebrate the season, I’m sharing clips, extras, and behind-the-scenes notes from Rick Steves’ European Christmas.

Germany’s grandest Christmas market, in Nürnberg, comes complete with an angelic Christkind dressed in gold, played by a real-life teenage girl. After we filmed her show before an awestruck crowd of German kids, we were invited to a private audience with her. We felt like paparazzi trailing some teenage heartthrob.

In this clip of the interview, we learn how Martin Luther, the local reformer, wanted to shift the focus from St. Nicholas back to the Christ child. But as Germans had a hard time getting their mind around baby Jesus giving gifts, the Christmas gift-giver gradually morphed into a sweet girl.