German Christmas Pyramids

German Christmas Pyramids:

Have you ever seen those tall, multi-tiered Christmas pieces with the little figures on each level? Often there are candles surrounding them and and they spin around and around. I’ve seen them over the years and knew they were usually made in Germany…but that was about the extent of what I knew. It turns out they are actually called German Christmas Pyramids. Cornelia who lives in Switzerland and whose tablescapes I have shared here on BNOTP from time to time, has a wonderful collection of the Christmas Pyramids. She generously sent pics so I could share them with you! 🙂

Picture from Wikipedia

A little history about German Christmas Pyramids: These beautiful hand-crafted pieces date all the way back to the 16th Century, to the Erzgebirge area of Germany. The Erzgebirge is actually a mountain range and it was a huge area for mining. The miners in that area created the first Christmas Pyramids.

Over the centuries, the Christmas pyramids were built more solidly and more elaborate…much like the ones you’ll find today. They are even making them electrically powered now, though the traditional pieces were all powered by the heat from the candles that encircled the pieces. Most Christmas Pyramids tell the story of the nativity, level by level, making them very popular decorations for the Christmas season.

I’m going to just hush, now and just let you tour Cornelia’s wonderful collection of German Christmas Pyramids, along with some of her other Christmas collectibles. Enjoy!

All the figures in the next few photos are handcarved and handpainted. They are all made in Eastern Germany, the former German Democratic Republic.

Additional Information: Cornelia said the guys with open mouths are actually hand-carved wooden incense burners. (Räuchermännchen). She said, you put a scented pastille inside them and light it and it fills the room with a lovely smell. She added that these collectibles are all from the Erzgebirge which is in the east of Germany, former German Democratic Republic.

More of the Räuchermännchen that “smoke”…

Thanks Cornelia for sharing your beautiful collection of German Christmas Pyramids and Räuchermännchen with us!

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  1. So THAT's what they're called!

  2. We had one when I was a kid but it was not nearly as nice as these. Beautiful…thanks for the history!!

  3. laxsupermom says

    Thanks so much for sharing these! These pictures bring me back to being little and going over to my brother's godparents home. Inge and Gunther had tons of stuff from "the old country" and they were the kind of cool adults who didn't tell kids not to touch the decor. We miss them dearly.

  4. I've collected them for years as well and have maybe 10 or more. She also has a nice collection of Rauchmann (Smoker men), those figures with pipes and open mouths. You burn incense in them and they "smoke". Thanks Cornelia, for sharing, I love to see different types that are made.

  5. Dana and Daisy says

    I used to have those little clip on candle cups that you put candles on your tree with. They are from Germany also. I actually did light mine one time just long enough to take a picture! Good thing they invented electric Christmas lights! lol!

  6. Jenny Harris says

    i really enjoyed all of these photos. I have a collection of the incense smokers, all purchased in Germany, you can see them here:

    Hope you'll drop by!

  7. Kim @ Starshine Chic says

    My hubby just picked one up today at the thrift store for $4.00. It is 4 tiers tall. I just need to find some candles. I'm so excited. I've always wanted one.

  8. Days at Buttermilk Cottage says

    What an incredible collection. I've seen these from time to time but never really knew anything about them. Thanks for the lovely lesson.

  9. Liz@ says

    That's a wonderful collection and display! The tops really get spinning from the candle heat, and it doesn't take much to get them going! I feel guilty for not putting out my Steinbach Nutcrackers after seeing this… So many nice things to enjoy! Thanks for sharing…

  10. I have several German traditions in my home. My husband is from Darmstadt, Germany. Check out my blog.

  11. Laura Ingalls Gunn says

    What a glorious collection! We were stationed in Germany and brought home several pyramids, smokers and the arched decorations called schwibbogens.

    You might really love the Kathe Wohlfahrt store.

  12. we three dogs and me says

    Thanks for the tour Love the wooden figures. Nice fun collection

  13. FABBY'S LIVING says

    Thank you again dear Susan for sharing and enlightening us on this German Christmas collection and that I love too. I have a pyramid my granddaughters love to see it go around, I have the smiking Rauchermannchen and two soldiers…this reminds me I should start a collection!
    Many blessings for you this Christmas. It's been one of the most terrific things that have happened to me this 2010…meeting you, Bill and all the other incredible bloggers that have enriched me more in the art of tablescaping and the home, which is my passion. Thank you again.

  14. Thank you for the tour!

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