White Christmas in Germany: Does it usually snow, rain or shine?

White Christmas in Germany: Does it usually snow, rain or shine?

It’s getting towards crunch time: after a very wintry start to December raised everybody’s hopes that Germany might see its first white Christmas since 2010, it looks increasingly likely that the day will be mild. But as figures from the German Weather Service (DWD) show, that’s not altogether surprising. 

White Christmases: The stats

Every year as the festive season starts and the holidays get closer, one question is on a lot of people’s minds: will there be a white Christmas this year? Christmas and snow go together like Christmas trees and baubles in popular belief, but just how accurate is this picture? 

Well, the DWD has got the statistics, and it seems that the German weather hasn’t got the memo about snow on Christmas Day. Looking at how often it snowed on at least one of the three “major Christmas days” - December 24, 25 and 26 - between 1961 and 2021, it’s clear that green Christmases outnumber white Christmases by a significant margin. 

Is Christmas in Germany usually snowy, rainy or sunny?

Of course, there are also significant regional variations between cities and federal states, making the phenomenon of an all-over white Christmas even more rare in Germany. Hamburg, for example, has seen nine white Christmases since 1961, Trier in Rhineland-Palatinate just five, and Frankfurt and Freiburg six apiece. In Oberstdorf in the mountainous south, there have been 25 white Christmases in the last 60 years, and on the Brocken - the highest peak in northern Germany - it has been snowy on 28 occasions. 

Sadly, rain is more likely to fall in Germany at Christmastime than snow. Here there is a clear divide between the northwest and southeast parts of the country. In the north and northwest of Germany, Christmas is wet more than two out of every three years. In the south and southeast, about half of all Christmases have seen rain. Essen has seen 23 wet Christmases since 1961, while Oberstdorf has witnessed just 15. 

And, if we can’t have snow on Christmas, then at least it would be nice to have some sunshine. According to the DWD, the chances of sunshine over the festive season are greatest in the south, where two out of three Christmases are sunny. In the northwest, the skies remain grey two-thirds of the time. Hamburg has seen 11 sunny Christmases since 1961, compared to 21 in Freiburg, 22 in Augsburg, and 24 in Oberstdorf. 

What is the average temperature on Christmas across Germany?

When it comes to temperature, over the years Germany has seen some huge variations. In Frankfurt, for example, the coldest Christmas ever recorded reached a low of -17 degrees celsius, while the warmest Christmas in the city in Hesse was a balmy 14,6 degrees. 

Generally, the average low temperature on Christmas over the past 60 years has hovered around zero degrees, while the high has been somewhere around 5 degrees celsius.

Will it be a white Christmas in Germany in 2022?

So, statistics aside, what does the forecast say for Christmas in Germany in 2022? What are our chances of seeing a white Christmas? Well, cover your eyes if you don’t want bad news, but a Christmas thaw is setting in after the chilly weather we saw in the middle half of December. 

In the south, especially, it will be mild with double-digit temperatures and not even a sprinkling of frost. It will be a little colder in the north, only around 4 degrees closer to the border with Denmark, so a few snowflakes might even mix in with the rain. That, unfortunately, is probably the best we can hope for this year. But there’s always next year!



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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