Travelling Omnomnivore

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Top 12 souvenirs to purchase at the German Christmas markets

I absolutely adore Christmas and all its trimmings. I know it’s meant to be all about the birth of Jesus, but I’ve always felt that the jingling of bells, the chorus of carollers and all the sparkly decorations add up to create the most magical time of year. Even in the Southern Hemisphere where the heat causes us to indulge in seafood and barbecues instead of the traditional Christmas fare.

Every year, I wake up early on Boxing Day to brave the crowds and nab myself some Christmas bargains for the following year’s Christmas. Depending on what catches my eye, I plan the theme for the next year. Yes, one whole year in advance! That’s how dedicated I am to Christmas.

With Christmas just around the corner now, I am having German Christmas market flashbacks. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Germany twice during this most magical of seasons, and I dare say I would absolutely go it again! If you haven’t been yet, make it a priority on your list – you won’t regret it!

berlin-gendarmenmarkt-christmas-market

The Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin is one of my favourites, being set in a picturesque square with the Concert House at one end, and flanked at either side by the German and French Churches

As you can imagine, Germany at this time of year (or any time of year in some parts!) is Christmas decoration heaven. I wish I could buy and bring back everything! Here are some of the things you should seriously consider making some space in your luggage for!

1. Nutcrackers
German nutcrackers
Why stop at one when you can collect a whole army?

2. German wooden toys
german-wooden-toys
german-wooden-toys-2
Similar vein to the nutcrackers, but these have the benefit of being perennial instead of being restricted to Christmas, and they make a cute customisable gift for the folks back home.

3. Christmas angels
christmas-angels
christmas-angels-2
christmas-angels-3
Whether you get them to hang on your tree or sit on a mantelpiece; cute or traditional; porcelain, wooden, or made of beads and feathers – you’re sure to find some angels to match the rest of your decor.

4. Nativity scenes
nativity-scenes
Like the angels, you’ll find these in a variety of styles to suit all tastes and budgets.

5. Christmas lanterns

santa-figurines

“Windlichter” literally translates to “wind lights”

christmas-lanterns-2
christmas-lanterns-3
Select a cute figurine or two, or perhaps build yourself a village or even an entire town! These make great mementoes of your trip as you can get replicas of the most famous tourist sights.

6. Christmas candles and tealight candle holderscandle-holders
candle-holders-2
christmas-candles
If a lantern is too bulky, why not consider a tealight holder or some candles instead? I know from personal experience that the tealight holders are very sturdy and will survive not only the journey home, but even being dropped on the ground once you get back!

7. Woodland figurines
woodland-figurines
I’ve always been partial to toadstools and a touch of whimsy.

8. Nesting dolls
nesting-dolls
You can also get the more traditional Matryoshka dolls, but surely the Christmas figurines would make a more fitting keepsake of your trip.

9. Christmas lace and napery
christmas-lace
christmas-lace-2
Dress up your tree, or dress up your table – you decide.

10. Christmas ornaments
beaded-christmas-ornaments
glass-baubles
glass-baubles-2
wooden-christmas-ornaments
Select from the beaded kind, pretty glass baubles, or my personal favourite souvenir from the Christmas markets – these intricately carved wooden ornaments. They’re very affordable, light, easy to pack or even to post as little gifts for friends and family. Like the lanterns, you’ll be able to find images of the most popular tourist spots in each town, making it easy for you to remember every stop of your holiday once you get home and gaze upon your tree. Just so you know, the cheapest wooden ornaments I found were in Baden-Baden, a cute little spa town in the Black Forest region towards the southwest of Germany.

11. Gingerbread and edible treats
gingerbread-men
chocolate-snowmen
Gingerbread is easy to pack and keeps for quite some time, especially in the cold, making it a good souvenir to take home if you can stop yourself from gobbling it all up. Other great food options include nougat or chocolate. Perhaps, like us, you can plan your Christmas market itinerary to coincide with ChocolART, an annual chocolate festival in Tubingen. Yes, really! If you ask me though, you won’t find the best chocolate at this festival, but rather at Swiss chocolatier, Laderach. In Germany, Laderach stores can be found in Baden-Baden, Munich, Nuremberg, and a few others. Head straight to the counter where the slabs of chocolate are, and ask the salesperson to carve off as much as you think you can consume…then double that quantity. You’re welcome.
laderach
For a list of some of the other yummy treats you can enjoy at the Christmas markets, look here.

12. Mulled wine mugs
mulled-wine-in-stuttgart
You can actually buy the mugs without the mulled wine, but where’s the fun in that? Drink up, keep warm, wash the cups, and pack them carefully nestled amongst your woollens so you can serve up your own mulled wine at your next Christmas party. They make great conversation pieces too, if you enjoy a bit of humble bragging about the awesome trip you’ve been on.

Honourable mention: Rubber duckies
rubber-duckies

Not strictly Christmas, but I found these all over Germany, and it took every ounce of willpower not to pack a whole flock of them into my suitcase (those mugs were taking up too much space). Super cute, but can anyone explain to me the Germany obsession with rubber duckies???

What about you? Have you been to the German Christmas markets? What souvenirs did you take home with you? Were you as intrigued by the rubber duckies as I was?

wooden-santas

I just had to share this one last image of these rather phallic looking Santas

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One comment on “Top 12 souvenirs to purchase at the German Christmas markets

  1. Pingback: 7 beautiful off the beaten path small towns you must visit in Europe | Travelling Omnomnivore

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