“The wretchedness in which men struggled to exist had already stirred brief and localized pre-holiday truces. A week before Christmas near Armentieres, a Daily Express correspondent wrote later, the Germans slipped a ‘splendid’ chocolate cake into the British lines with a message explaining, ‘We propose having a concert tonight as it is our Captain’s birthday, and we cordially invite you to attend - provided you will give us your word of honour as our guests that you agree to cease all hostilities between 7:30 and 8:30… When you see us light the candles and footlights at the edge of our trench at 7:30 sharp you can safely put your heads above your trenches, and we shall do the same, and begin the concert.’
The invitation was accepted with an offer of tobacco, and at the appointed hour a ‘double quartet’ of whiskered heads popped up and sang ‘like Christy Minstrels.’ Opposite, the British applauded each song, and a ‘big voice’ responded from the German parapets, ‘Blease come mit us into the chorus.’ After a killjoy on the British side shouted back, ‘We’d rather die than sing German,’ the big voice boomed, in English, ‘It would kill us if you did.’ And with an emotionally sung ‘Die Wacht am Rhein’ the trench footlights went out. A few shots deliberately aimed at the clouds ended one of the precursors to the Christmas truce.”

— Stanley Weintraub, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.
The wretchedness in which men struggled to exist had already stirred brief and localized pre-holiday truces. A week before Christmas near Armentieres, a Daily Express correspondent wrote later, the Germans slipped a ‘splendid’ chocolate cake into the British lines with a message explaining, ‘We propose having a concert tonight as it is our Captain’s birthday, and we cordially invite you to attend - provided you will give us your word of honour as our guests that you agree to cease all hostilities between 7:30 and 8:30… When you see us light the candles and footlights at the edge of our trench at 7:30 sharp you can safely put your heads above your trenches, and we shall do the same, and begin the concert.’

The invitation was accepted with an offer of tobacco, and at the appointed hour a ‘double quartet’ of whiskered heads popped up and sang ‘like Christy Minstrels.’ Opposite, the British applauded each song, and a ‘big voice’ responded from the German parapets, ‘Blease come mit us into the chorus.’ After a killjoy on the British side shouted back, ‘We’d rather die than sing German,’ the big voice boomed, in English, ‘It would kill us if you did.’ And with an emotionally sung ‘Die Wacht am Rhein’ the trench footlights went out. A few shots deliberately aimed at the clouds ended one of the precursors to the Christmas truce.”

— Stanley Weintraub, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.