Many products that are made and sold in Germany are especially symbolic of German culture. These products make excellent gifts for those who missed out on the experience, by giving them a feel of the culture, history and fun that can be experienced while visiting Germany.
Christmas All Year Long
Germany is known for its many different craft items, all of which make great gifts. In particular, it is known for its year-round Christmas shops; the most famous of which is Khe Wohlfahrt’s, located in the medieval, walled city of Rothenburg. Among the merchandise are clocks, music boxes, nutcrackers, beer steins, woodcarvings, figurines, tree ornaments, giftwrappings, cards, and more.
Other famous craft centers include The Crystal Road and The Porcelain Road, each with an abundance of shops selling traditional German crafts, one of which is Hummel figurines. Started by the German nun Maria Innocentia Hummel as paintings of children, they became popularized as figurines when porcelain company owner Franz Goebel took an interest; they can now be bought at the Goebel Factory. Handcrafted clocks are another popular item and are easily found at numerous craft shops. Fine glass sculptures and dinnerware are sold in many shops, particularly in Zwiesel. Another craft for which Germans are known is Solingen knives, often referred to as the best cutlery in the world. They are priced best when bought from department stores or cutlery shops.
For someone with a sweet tooth, Leck marzipan makes a tasty gift. Originating in Germany, this sugary dessert is made of almonds, sugar, and rosewater, often coming in fun shapes such as toy bears, hearts, and fruits. It is sold in all department stores, supermarkets, and sweetshops. German chocolates are also a great gift. Two of the most famous brands are Milka and Merci, which can be found much fresher in Germany than they can as imports. Also, they often come in more attractive packaging, making them especially appealing as gifts.
From the German Vineyards
Germany is known for its many different types of wine. A favorite is Rotspon, a red wine that is a mix of French and German viniculture, however many German white wine’s are known for their quality as well. Along the Mosel and Rhine rivers there are many vineyards where wines such as Auslese and Trockbeerenauslese (which are normally much more expensive and difficult to find outside of Germany) can be found easily. Another popular German beverage is Asbach Uralt, a brandy. This makes a good gift as well, especially since it is unique to Germany.
Dseldorf is Germany’s fashion capital and therefore a good place to find a gift for someone stylish. Fueled by the fashion and footwear trade shows it has been hosting frequently since 1949, this is the place to go to find the chicest apparel. In a village called Metzingen, southwest of Stuttgart, there is great outlet shopping, where many high-end fashion items may be found at significant discounts. Some German clothing brands, such as Birkenstock, may be found for much cheaper in Germany than anywhere else.
Equipment & Electronics
Other great gifts to bring back from Germany include optical equipment such as binoculars and cameras, silver, steelware, leatherwear, sports equipment, cologne, Bavarian cloth, and musical instruments. Germany is also a European center for computer electronics. Because many new products are available in Germany before other places, some electronics make great gifts from Germany. Media Markt has a good selection of electronics.
Some department stores in Germany include KaDeWe, Karsdtadt, and Kaufhof, and may be found in cities or moderately sized towns. The centers of major cities also offer pleasant shopping opportunities, including Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg, and Bremen. There are many flea markets, such as those in Berlin, that definitely offer possible gifts. The general times that shops can be open are dictated by law. Most are open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 6:30pm, Saturday from 9:00am to 2:00pm, and closed on Sunday. Some smaller shops may also be closed from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Sales are also dictated by law, and therefore always happen at the end of January and the end of July, lasting for about 12 days each, including only clothing and other textiles, shoes, leather goods, and sporting equipment.
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