Experience Germany Like a Local

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Bringing German Christmas Home With YOU

Although I’ll always advocate for experiences over things, I’ll admit that sometimes a ‘thing’ has magical powers to bring wonderful memories of an experience rushing back into your present. If you’re looking to bring a touch of the German Christmas Market home with you to reminisce, consider choosing one of these souvenirs.

Pyramids in Germany? • German Travel Souvenirs by Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog

A pyramid? In Germany?

One thing I can always count on with German culture is to be surprised and delighted by their attention to detail. I’d heard rumor of ‘Christmas Pyramids’. Honestly I was a bit perplexed by the mention of it, and my train of thought was on its way to Egypt and wondered how they’re connected. Seeing is believing, and Sebastian’s parents carefully brought over a pyramid for us one Christmas.

Sebastian’s parents carefully lifted out of a box this meticulously handcrafted, wooden, contraption with figurines, helicopter fans and candle holders... Suffice to say, when his parents lit the candles, causing the heat to rise and the fan to spin, turning the figurines, making a visual play of shadow and light- my mind had been blown. No batteries required!

German Travel Souvenirs by Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog

And while we’re talking about lighting up things.

Here’s a stinker! I say stinker, endearingly..

This clever little guy actually is hiding an incense stick in his belly. No joke. Once lit, the smoke will travel out through his pipe. I’d imagine this would be a great way to convince your little niece, nephew or other naive child that he’s actually alive and smoking. You’ll find these ‘Smoking Men’ in all sorts of occupations and forms. This one is a seller, in my opinion, and he’s selling Christmas souvenirs..oh the irony, and one of which is my next suggestion.

German Travel Souvenirs by Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog

Always the Overachievers

Again, the attention to detail, so German.

You know, and I know, that something used for cracking open walnut shells does not need to be this fancy, but of course the Germans thought otherwise! Ironically, I’ve loved nutcrackers since I was little, and collected a few over the years. Upon learning this, Sebastian’s Oma gave me her nutcracker, an oldie but a goodie, who is our star performer here. He was even given an extra frisking during the Frankfurt airport security. Chemical swabs and everything. Who knows what secrets he possesses that prompted suspicion! He was approved, and flew home with us. He’s guarding our kitchen this year. Nutcrackers, like the smoking men, can also be found in all sorts of occupations and forms.

To generalize, I’d say if you buy something wooden at the Christmas market..you’re already winning. There’s so many wonderful handmade gifts at the market, these are just three that are my favorite, which we’ve also collected ourselves, and I know are quintessentially German in origin.

If you missed Sebastian's post about Christmas Markets, you can catch it by clicking here.

Merry Christmas from the Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog • German Travel Souvenirs

Sebastian and I wish you a very, very Merry Christmas! Enjoy it! Hug your loved ones and spread the love! Also check your smoke detectors:-) Ho ho ho! Can you spy all three souvenirs in our kitchen?


Three Things to Try at a German Christkindlesmarkt

Three Things to Try at a German Christmas Market • German Travel by Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog

Living in Florida is not a coincidence, I hate being cold. During my favorite holiday, Christmas, it is frigid in Germany. During the winters I lived in Germany, I’d watch Home Alone 1 & 2 over and over again and avoid leaving the house at all costs. But, there is one thing that could get me to voluntarily venture out into the cold, and that’s a German Christmas Market.

Originating in the middle ages, the Christkindlesmarkt, which translates to ‘christ child market’, is essentially a gift and food festival with a heavy dose of Christmas spirit. Most large towns have these markets, and are held i the town square. My home town would host the market for a single weekend, while big cities, like Frankfurt, would run the market for the majority of December.

All self-respecting Christmas Markets feature a hot, spiced wine, called Glühwein by Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog

The Non-Official Drink of the Market
All self-respecting Christmas markets feature hot, spiced, mulled wine, called Glühwein [pronounced glooh-vine]. If you enjoy a good Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon every once in awhile, the thought of hot wine might make you cringe, but hang on. It is similar to punch, red wine mixed with cloves, cardamom and cinnamon sticks. Some vendors also add citrus fruits and extra sugar, so if you do not like your first Glühwein, try another stand. The Glühwein is served in a special mug which you will have to pay a deposit (Pfand) of about €1. Return the mug to the stand where you ordered and get your deposit back, or keep the mug as a souvenir, it’s entirely up to you. Learn what Pfand is in our previous post, click here.
Festival Food You'll Crave All Year Long
Besides Glühwein, German Christmas markets are also the perfect place to indulge in food. You’ll discover all kinds of sausages (Wurst), crepes, gingerbread in all forms (called Lebkuchen), candied apples, roasted almonds and beyond. Look for gingerbread, called lebkuchen in Germany • German Travel by Tourist is a Dirty Word Blog
Buy Locally Handcrafted
Christmas markets also feature local crafts and artisan work. It is a great opportunity to find unique, handmade gifts for your family and friends. Keep a lookout for wood carvings, puppets, candles, blown glass sculptures and much more. At the market, seasonal aromas and Christmas music playing over the speakers in the town square enhances the gift-browsing experience.
In our next post, Denise will share three quintessential German artisan-made crafts to consider when introducing German traditions into your home. Don’t miss it, subscribe for our weekly updates below.

Have you been to a German Christmas Market? What stood out to you? What was your favorite part? Tell us in the comments!

P.S. Thank you to Veronika for the Christmas Market photos from Frankfurt!


Show more posts about traveling in Germany

Thank you For Reading! Denise & Sebastian | Photo by Irene Fiedler