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Advent wreath with red candles, one of them lit, and a string of lights in the background.
Image: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa/picture alliance

German idioms to keep calm in the holiday season

Dagmar Breitenbach
November 30, 2022

The stress level can be high before Christmas — buying gifts and preparing family reunions. Here are a few German expressions to stay calm and relax during the year-end rush.


In the weeks before Christmas, many Germans and people around the world long for calm moments, some peace and quiet.

Over the centuries, various statesmen and writers have praised the significance of taking time off.

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop," is a quote attributed to Roman poet Ovid. 

"The biggest enemy of quality is the hurry" is a quote accredited to Henry Ford, the American industrialist who founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903, while American 20th-century writer John Steinbeck felt that clearly, "the art of relaxing is part of the art of working."

The interval, too, is a part of the music, said 20th-century Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, and Jonathan Swift, the Irish writer who wrote that famous 1726 prose satire "Gulliver's Travels," felt that "the best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman."

This is an updated version of a text originally published on December 25, 2019.

You'll find more from Meet the Germans on YouTube on Instagram or at dw.com/meetthegermans. And, check out a cartoonist's perspective in That's so German.

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