One of the most wonderful parts of Christmas in Germany is the Christkindmarkts offered in many towns. Altötting has a wonderfully festive market with crafts, sweets, hot spiced Glühwein and lots of Christmas gift ideas. You can find these markets in many towns but Munich, Salzburg and Nürnberg offer the largest and most famous.
A few words about Christmas traditions in Bavaria: St. Nicholaus day is December 6th. On the 6th, called Nicholaus, the children get small gifts - usually candy, chocolates, an advent calendar, etc. - and the adults generally do not exchange gifts. The traditional Bavarian Catholic tradition is for the baby Jesus (Christkind) to bring presents in the early evening of the 24th. Traditionally, the children are out of the house in the mid afternoon, which is when the baby Jesus (usually in the form of an angel) brings the Christmas tree and the presents. The exchange of gifts takes place on the evening of the 24th before the children go to bed. The 25th and 26th are both major holidays, with family gathering together for a celebratory dinner (goose or other poultry is traditional fare) on both days. In northern Germany, Father Christmas brings presents to the children, and the American tradition of Santa Claus is also starting to make it's way into German culture - so a rather mixed bag of family traditions can now be observed in Bavaria. Check out what your friends and neighbors are doing this year!