Video: The Christmas Story

Christmas is almost here! Over the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing clips, extras, and behind-the-scenes notes from my one-hour special, Rick Steves’ European Christmas.

The tour guide in me was determined to cover the biblical story of Christmas in the special while also explaining related holidays and traditions and meeting the locals. We learn about Epiphany, Advent wreaths, the origin of St. Nicholas, the pagan roots of so many Christian traditions, and all those fascinating cultural differences. For example, German Christmas tree lots were just opening up on December 22, as most Germans don’t put up trees until Christmas Eve. We celebrate the holiday with Umbrian peasants, trendy Norwegians, Victorian English, dirndl-clad Tiroleans, and Burgundian monks, all of whom contribute to how their community celebrates Christmas.

In this clip, we begin where the Christmas story does: with the Annunciation of Mary and the birth of Christ. While each European country gives Christmas its own special twist, they all follow the same story of how the son of God was born on earth, as told in the Bible and illustrated over the centuries by great artists.