Gifts to buy in Germany for Friends Back Home
Buying souvenirs overseas is a bit stressful. Requires thought, time, effort. I like buying useful gifts that aren’t going to be shoved in a cupboard and later thrown out in a de-clutter, and preferably things that can only be bought in that country.
Does anyone even keep their keyrings, magnets, or teddys holding an ‘I love berlin’ heart? Unless someone specifically collects tacky things, I avoid buying them for people.
On my recent trip to Germany I had promised a lot of people Christmas gifts to avoid having to spend my pre-holiday money. I only have medium size luggage, so had to restrain myself from buying any bulky items. As a pretty decent gift giver, here is a list of suggestions if you are unsure what to buy friends back home (most items mentioned are in the pictures):
Specifically from the Medieval Christmas Markets in Dresden, I bought a bunch of beautiful handmade pottery for my girlfriends back home. A man has a stall there selling his wife’s work.
There are so many Christmas shops in Germany with the most beautiful ornaments. I bought a pretzel one and my Mum bought me a bunch of pink pinecones. Quite expensive though, pretzel ornament was around $10 AUD.
For your baking friends, there are a lot of cookie cutter stalls all over Germany. I bought a lot for myself.
Ritter Sport seems to be the popular one to buy. You can buy it back home in Australia but there are so many more flavours in Germany. I tried to find flavours I hadn’t seen back home.
A German factory worker invented Gummi Bears in the 1920s and created the company HARIBO. There are a lot of different flavours you can buy; I made sure to stock up.
Nuremberg Lebkuchen is a traditional famous gingerbread. They are a large soft gingerbread cookies with a piece of rice paper at the base. Best to have them fresh from the Christmas markets. I tried one when I got home and it wasn’t as nice. They cost around $5 AUD for one.
Christmas market cups
The mugs you have your gluhwein or hot chocolate in can be taken home. Each market have their own cup made each year and you pay around an extra 3 euro to keep it. I kept four, and I’m giving one away.
Hugo Boss is a luxury German fashion brand. There are a lot of stores throughout Germany. Even though you can get it back home, I bought a belt for a friend.
Art prints from the market
There are a lot of cool shops around selling posters and prints (one interesting store is Schee). I ended up buying art prints from the Mauerpark Flea Markets (open on Sunday). In my opinion this is the best market to buy gifts from. It’s huge. A good mix of second hand junk, home made crafts, local art, and food stalls. It’s actually the best market I’ve ever been to.
There are two items I bought that go against my no-tacky-crap rule:
- A small witch ornament from Wernigerode. Apparently back in the day witches used to gather once a year at the top of the Harz Mountain in Broken to celebrate the end of winter. The town sells a lot of witchy things.
- A piece of the Berlin Wall. It’s only small, and it might not even be from the wall, but it’s a bit more meaningful than a keyring.
Other items I would have bought but had no one to give them to:
Slyrs Whisky – there is a distillery at Schliersee lake. I didn’t go there but the only place I saw this whisky was in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber at a medieval store.
Knives –hard to find ones that we don’t have back home already though.