Today I Discovered Nazis Celebrated Their Own Pagan Version Of Christmas

Today I Discovered Nazis Celebrated Their Own Pagan Version Of Christmas
Image: German Federal Archive

It feels kind of incongruous to think of Nazis celebrating Christmas, but adapting the yearly holiday was apparently a key part of the new way of life Hitler and his followers were trying to build. In an attempt to rid Christmas of any Jewish implications, however, it was reinvented with a more Germanic pagan vibe.

Many don’t know that the ideologies of the Nazis went beyond just an idea of racial purity: for many in the movement, they also included a neo-pagan kind of spirituality. When it came to Christmas, this meant that Santa was replaced by the Norse god Odin, who travelled around giving gifts.

Many of the holiday’s symbols were modified to be less Christian, and the celebration itself became one of the solstice, rather than of Jesus’s birth. When Jesus and Mary were depicted, they were blonde and white, like the Nazi’s ideal.

At the height of the Nazi movement, the celebration was even seen to involve Hitler himself, taking the place of baby Jesus. Devotees would celebrate his coming as the “Saviour Führer”, and some even saw him as a reincarnation of Odin himself.

You may complain about Christmas becoming too commercialised, or too separate from its Christian roots, but at least it’s not a Nazi Christmas, right?


  • Interesting, my grandparents never mentioned any changes to Christmas traditions during that period, but the families were not members of the party and therefore probably free to continue their normal traditions in private.

    We should also be careful about the use of Santa as traditionally the gift given on Christmas Eve was a gift from the Christkind (Baby Jesus) in many areas.

    The 6th of December was St Nicholas day and depending on the area there are variations in the approach and story but if you left your boot out and if you were good you got treats. If not you got Coal / a Stick etc. In the Netherlands, St Nicholas was called Sinterklaas which is likely the source of the Santa Claus name as we know it.

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