Nafesa Amiri hung red, blue and silver balls in the Christmas tree and placed gifts for the children in front of them in the Advent season. For four years she, her husband Hamid and their three children Mohammed, Ayda and Yasin have lived in Forst, a small town in eastern Brandenburg. The family fled from Afghanistan. For Nafesa, the Christmas season in Germany is the best time of the year: "It is a festival of light and beauty. In the cities there is a festive atmosphere. When I decorate the Christmas tree, I think the green is a sign of rebirth is. "

The 30-year-old is a Muslim, but she enjoys celebrating Christmas in addition to her own religious ceremonies and festivals. She believes that if the family lives in a foreign country, they should do some things the way the locals do.

Muslim migrant families in Germany are particularly challenged at Christmas. You have to decide how you will deal with the many rituals at the end of the year and how you will deal with the Christian symbols. Some fear that their children will forget their culture and religion or even their mother tongue - and believe that they have to keep them away from German customs.

Integration with Christmas

Nafesa, on the other hand, is convinced that it is good to simply take part, even if she does not know exactly what the festival is about. She believes that it will be easier for her children in particular to integrate in the new country. "The earlier you learn the language and familiarize yourself with the culture, the closer you will feel to the people here. Then you will also be successful," she says. Nor does she want them to be frustrated because they are not allowed to have and are allowed to do what makes all the other children here so excited and happy. But she also says: "I make sure that they also know and celebrate Afghan culture and Muslim festivals."

Nafesa's daughter Ayda is in third grade. Like her mother, she is happy about the family party and of course about the presents. And she proudly says: "We celebrate Christmas better than the Germans. On December 24th we put on the beautiful Afghan clothes. We dance to loud music and my mom cooks a lot of food that day." Like many Germans, the nine-year-old dreams of a white Christmas. She would find it most beautiful when it snows outside while there is a mess inside. The snow at all - that was something that she did not know from Afghanistan and that she took for Germany.

What did she want from Santa Claus? Ayda says: "You can't give that away, otherwise you won't get any presents." But she adds quietly: "We get it from Santa Claus, but actually our parents bought it. All parents do that, including the Germans. They think we children don't know." But it doesn't matter. She just imagines that it was Santa Claus.