Thank you for supporting GISSV

Your purchases from the German Holiday Market are 100% for the benefit of the German International School of Silicon Valley. With locations in Mountain View and San Francisco, GISSV is a bilingual school from preschool through grade 12. If you are interested in a German-English bilingual education, please inquire here for more information.

If you are interested in learning to speak German, improving your German, or obtaining a German language diploma, join us online at GISSV’s Saturday School. Classes for all ages and levels.

As a nonprofit, donations to GISSV are tax deductible.  How about making a gift to support your favorite nonprofit organization?

We would like to send a huge, Santa size thank you to the 2020 Team of GISSV Elves who brought the spirit of the German Holiday Market directly to people’s homes.  We hope the Elves and the reindeer got their much needed rest.

In anticipation of the 2021 German Holiday Market, we invite you to explore the German traditions below.  We hope to see you IN PERSON on December 11, 2021, at Mountain View’s City Hall Plaza. Our first priority is your safety, though, so please check back here for updates.


During Easter time people gather at Easter Fires (Osterfeuer) - usually big bonfires that are ignited all over in Germany. Because fire is a symbol of light, of renewal, it signifies the end of Winter, and the coming of spring.

Easter Fire

On 11/11 at 11:11 am begins the carnival season, also known as the "Fifth Season" that finishes on Ash Wednesday in February of the following year with the main festivities happening around Rosenmontag (Rose Monday).

German International School of Silicon Valley

Preschool-12 Bilingual Education in Two Locations in the Bay Area.

United by a desire for a German and California accredited curriculum, six German and American families formed GISSV. Instruction began in February 2000 with 34 students.

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'Tis the - German - Season

Advent Calendar

Children are given Advent calendars prior to Christmas. These are usually made of thick paper and display a seasonal scene with 24 doors. Each day...

Advent Wreath and Christmas Tree

The Advent Wreath Traditionally advent wreaths are circular, representing God's infinite love. They are usually made of evergreen leaves with four...

Stollen, Christmas Cookies & Co

Stollen (or Stolle) ... (German pronunciation: [ˈʃtɔlən] or [ʃtɔln] is a fruit bread of nuts, spices, and dried or candied fruit, coated with pow...

Mulled Wine, Flaming Spiced Wine and Punch

Glühwein  ... (roughly translated as "smouldering-wine", from the temperature the wine is heated to) is popular in German-speaking countries and ...

Smoker and Nutcracker Doll

Räuchermännchen The Räuchermann (diminutive Räuchermännchen), erzgebirgisch Raachermannel is an incense smoker, the invention of toy makers in the...

Christmas Pyramid

Weihnachtspyramiden are Christmas decorations that have their roots in the folklore and customs of the Ore Mountain region of Germany, but which h...

Holiday Music

Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, but these were not Christmas Carols. They were pagan songs, sung at the Winter Solstice c...

Weihnachtsmann, Saint Nicholas and Krampus

Santa Claus - Der Weihnachtsmann The term Weihnachtsmann is a very generic German term for Father Christmas, St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus. The Ge...

German Holiday/Christmas Markets

Weihnachtsmarkt A Christmas market, also known as Christkindlmarkt (literally: Christ Child Market, but the term Christkind usually refers to an a...

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve (Heiliger Abend) is celebrated in Germany on December 24. It is the last day of Advent and the start of the Christmas season. Many p...

Annual German Holiday Market Tradition

Every year, GISSV welcomes 10,000+ visitors from all over the San Francisco Bay Area to its cozy, two-block German Holiday Market in Downtown Mountain View.

We hope to see you IN PERSON on
December 11, 2021, at
Mountain View's City Hall Plaza.

Our first priority is your safety, though,
so please check back here for updates.


Perfect Online Activity: Learn German

GISSV's Saturday School is now online! Classes for children and adults.

First ever language class? Need to brush up on German? Seeking a German diploma? We have a class for you!

Looking for a fun and activity filled summer camp for your kids? Enrollment is happening now!

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Thank you to our 2020 sponsors!

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