The Christmas market season is my favorite of all! There is so much to see and do and it is absolutely beautiful.
One of the most common questions I get: what do you buy at Christmas markets in Germany?
There is a whole range of souvenirs to collect! This guide will help you sort out the best things to buy at a German Christmas market. Whether you’re on a budget or want to try something truly magical! So save room in your suitcase for all those Christmas gifts! This is the best place, in my opinion, to do your shopping!
Walking into a German Christmas market is like entering a winter wonderland, where the air is filled with the scents of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine, and the atmosphere overflows with holiday cheer. One of the most enchanting aspects of visiting these markets is the opportunity to explore the unique and artisanal treasures on offer. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll show you the must-have items you can find at a German Christmas market, from Glühwein cups to ornaments, paper stars to sheepskins, and much more.
Iced Wine Cups: Perfect economical souvenir
Your German Christmas market experience begins with a steaming cup of Glühwein, the beloved mulled wine infused with spice and heat. What makes this treat even more special is the collectible Glühwein mug that comes with it. These mugs are often uniquely designed and feature the emblem or theme of the specific market you are visiting. Each year the design changes, making these mugs highly sought after souvenirs. Take home a cup of Glühwein to remember the pleasant times spent sipping mulled wine in the heart of the market.
The mugs often feature the market date for each year! This is a superb collection! Plus, it’s great for your budget!
Paper stars: luminescence all year round
One of the most charming and versatile items you can buy at a German Christmas market is the paper star lantern. These delicate stars are made from colorful, translucent paper and decorated with intricate die-cut designs. They are traditionally used as holiday decorations, casting a warm, cozy glow when lit from within. However, many people love them so much that they keep them all year round, adding a touch of whimsy and magic to their home. These stars are easy to fold flat, making them ideal for keepsakes and gifts.
I especially like them because they are reasonably priced and easy to pack in your suitcase!
Ornaments: decorate the hallways with German charm
German Christmas decorations are renowned for their craftsmanship and attention to detail. You’ll find a range of beautifully handcrafted ornaments on the market, from delicate glass balls to intricately carved wooden figurines. These ornaments often depict festive scenes, traditional figures like nutcrackers and angels, and symbols of Christmas, like snowflakes and gingerbread cookies. Decorating your tree with these treasures will imbue your home with the spirit of a German Christmas.
Candle holders: light up the night
The soft, flickering glow of candles is an integral part of the festive atmosphere at German Christmas markets. To replicate this cozy atmosphere in your own home, consider purchasing handmade candle holders or lanterns from the market. These candle holders come in a variety of materials, such as wood, metal, and porcelain, and often feature festive designs, like winter scenes or holiday designs. Placing these holders on your dining table or windowsill will give your space a warm, welcoming glow.
Sheepskins: cozy comfort for your home
As the temperature drops during the winter months, staying warm and comfortable becomes a top priority. At German Christmas markets you will often find stalls selling sheepskin products, from rugs and pram liners to shoes and gloves. These high-quality sheepskin items not only bring warmth but also a touch of rustic elegance to your home and wardrobe. Sheepskin’s plush texture and natural insulation make it a favorite among visitors seeking practicality and luxury.
Handcrafted wooden treasures
No visit to a German Christmas market would be complete without admiring the stunning handcrafted wooden items on display. These treasures are often made by skilled artisans, using traditional woodworking techniques passed down through generations. From intricately carved nativity scenes to charming wooden ornaments, nutcrackers and toys, the craftsmanship behind these creations is truly impressive.
One of the iconic symbols of German Christmas markets is the wooden Christmas pyramid (Weihnachtspyramide). These ornate, tiered structures feature intricate wooden figurines and rotate when lit by candles, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. Owning one of these pyramids allows you to bring a piece of that holiday magic into your own home.
Also consider purchasing wooden candle arches (Schwibbogen) that depict scenes from traditional German life or Christmas traditions. These candle arches, usually made from beautifully stained wood, add a warm, rustic charm to your holiday decor.
Whether you choose a handcrafted wooden nativity scene, a whimsical nutcracker, or a timeless wooden decoration, these pieces embody the spirit of craftsmanship and artistry that defines German Christmas markets. Each wooden treasure tells a story and recalls enduring holiday traditions.
Flavored liquor: sip tradition
Flavored liqueurs are another delicious discovery at German Christmas markets. These drinks are often made with spirits like schnapps or rum, infused with a variety of flavors. A popular choice is the Feuerzangenbowle, where rum is ignited on loaves of sugar and dripped into a glass of mulled wine, creating a spectacular spectacle and a deliciously aromatic drink. You can also find fruit-infused liqueurs, herbal schnapps and spiced brandies, all perfect for warming up on chilly evenings.
Gloves, hats and scarves: stay warm in style
Winter in Germany can be quite cold and the Christmas markets are no exception. To stay warm and stylish, explore the selection of gloves, hats and scarves available on the market. These accessories often highlight traditional German know-how, with cozy materials like wool and fleece. Look for unique designs and patterns that reflect the festive spirit of the season. Whether you opt for a pair of hand-knitted mittens or a fluffy pom pom hat, these items will keep you cozy while adding a touch of style to your winter wardrobe.
Kathe Wohlfahrt is a renowned German company specializing in all things Christmas. Their main store is located in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, but during the holiday season you can find their charming pop-up shops at many German Christmas markets, including major cities like Munich, Nuremberg, and Cologne.
Walking into a Kathe Wohlfahrt store is like walking into a Christmas wonderland. The store is adorned with an array of Christmas decorations, ornaments and collectibles, each meticulously selected to capture the magic of the season. Here you can find a huge selection of handcrafted wooden items, from nutcrackers and pyramids to stunning glass ornaments and whimsical figurines.
One of Kathe Wohlfahrt’s standout features is its rotating Christmas tree that spans two floors: a sight to behold! It’s a place where one can get lost in the enchantment of the holidays and is a great place to purchase unique, high-quality Christmas gifts or decorations.
Whether you’re looking for a special addition to your decoration collection, a unique Christmas gift, or simply looking to soak up the festive atmosphere, a visit to Kathe Wohlfahrt is a must during your German Christmas market adventure. Their treasures will undoubtedly add a touch of authentic German holiday magic to your celebrations.
Here is a glimpse of this magical store at Heidelberg!
Each market has different things you can buy, so explore as many markets as possible!
A visit to a German Christmas market is not just a shopping excursion; it’s an immersive experience at the heart of holiday tradition and festive spirit. The objects you bring back from these markets are not simple souvenirs; they are tangible memories of the magical times spent sipping Glühwein, strolling through the glittering stalls and enjoying the warmth of the season. So whether it’s a cup of Glühwein, a decoration, a paper star, a sheepskin, a candle holder, a flavored liqueur or home accessories cozy winter treats, each item carries with it the essence of a German Christmas market, ready to permeate your home and your life. with the enchantment of the season. Good shopping!