If you or someone you care about loves Germany, check out these wonderful gifts to bring a little Deutschland into your life, no matter where you are in the world.
I’ve been fortunate enough to live in Germany for six and a half years, most of that in Munich. It never fails to amaze me how many people I meet who have traveled to Germany and regal me with their stories about their time here. I never get tired of hearing about it, and it makes me feel fortunate to call it my second home – after Canada.
I also get asked a lot about the perfect gift for someone who loves Germany, which is why I’ve created this list. I’ve divided it into the following categories: German food, Christmas decorations, gifts for someone traveling to Germany, children’s toys, and games for the entire family.
One of the most popular things I hear from travelers to Germany is how much they enjoyed the hearty food. I think food makes a great gift anytime of the year. It has a magical ability to transport you back to a time and place.
Nuremberg Lebkuchen, a type of gingerbread is famous for its high quality. Nothing says Christmas quite like the aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves found in Lebkuchen. So what’s so special about Lebkuchen from Nuremberg? It first appeared in the records as early as 1395. The city became famous for its gingerbread since it was on the spice route. Back in the Middle Ages, wafer-based gingerbread (different from the gingerbread cookies found in North America) was considered a delicacy. Nuremberg soon took pride in making the best gingerbread and as early as 1441 there was a spice inspector at the city gates. Only the highest quality spices were allowed into the city, before being passed onto the gingerbread bakers. How’s that for a history?
With the one pictured below, you get to taste three different varieties of Lebkuchen and a gorgeous tin to remind you of the history, long after the cookies are gone.
Dresden Stollen is a fruit bread that’s similar to Christmas cake found in North America, except that it’s covered in icing sugar.
It was traditionally eaten as early as 1474 during medieval fasting, but it wasn’t the tasty version that it is today. It contained only flour, yeast, and water to comply with the fasting standards set by the church. From 1560, it became to get a reputation as being fit for kings. Today, it’s only made with high-grade ingredients. There’s even a Stollen Association to protect its heritage.
The history of the pretzel is less clear, but today you’ll find them everywhere in Germany. I love the idea of making a batch and keeping them for guests to nibble on between meals. What is clear is that pretzels originated somewhere in Europe. One report says that they were invented in 610 AD by an Italian monk who used them to reward children who learned their prayers. Whatever their origin, they’ve been found in southern Germany as early as the 12th century. For an even more authentic look, you could hang them on a stick as bakers traditionally did.
German Christmas Decorations
Many Christmas traditions originated in Germany including Christmas markets! A Christmas ornament is a beautiful gift to remind someone of the magic of Christmas in Germany.
Christmas Pyramids are the predecessors to the modern day Christmas tree. They date back to the Middle Ages and originally hung from the ceilings. You’ll find Christmas pyramids in all different sizes. Most of them, like this one, are beautifully crafted with ornate details.
German legend has it that nutcrackers represent power and strength. They stand as a guard dog to keep watch over your family, baring their teeth to scare evil spirits away. No wonder that nutcrackers are such popular keepsakes! Not to mention they make gorgeous holiday decorations.
German Christmas Ornaments
The first Christmas trees appeared in 15th century Germany in churches. They were decorated with apples to symbolize Paradise Trees. As they found their way into people’s homes, the decorations became wafers; then pastries cut into shapes like stars and hearts. Eventually, the ornaments evolved into the ornaments that we’re familiar with today. I’ve collected Christmas ornaments from many countries I’ve visited. Seeing them all displayed on my tree always brings a smile to my face – especially the German ones.
Gifts for Someone Who Has Traveled or is Traveling to Germany
Sometimes planning a trip is almost as enjoyable as the journey itself. Prolong the pleasure by giving this guidebook to someone planning a trip to Germany. I used it before I moved to Germany and visited many smaller places that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, refer them to my Best Places to Visit in Germany page for my recommendations.
Call me old-fashioned, but I still love wall calendars! Admittedly, I look at them more than I use them in a practical sense, but they make me happy. I’m a huge fan of National Geographic calendars for their gorgeous photography.
Besides Christmas ornaments, I also collect art from around the world. Each piece brings back so many great memories every time I look at it. Although I don’t own the piece below, I love the statement it makes with its simple elegance.
I’m a huge fan of wooden toys instead of plastic ones. Not only is this one beautiful but so is its meaning – Beauty and Life.
I love toys that encourage creativity and imagination, and this playset is just so darn cute! I can imagine that it would provide hours of entertainment.
As a huge reader ever since I was a child, the Brothers Grimm were some of my favourite fairy tales. Plus, story collections are an excellent way to encourage children to read more.
German Games and Puzzles for the Whole Family
Confession time. I’m a huge board game nerd. My idea of a great Saturday night is having friends over for dinner, then playing board games. Fortunately, I’m in the right country. Many Germans love board games, and some of the world’s most famous games have come from Germany.
Germany’s most famous board game better known as Settlers of Catan is one of my all-time favourite games. No two games are ever alike, and you can spend a lifetime perfecting your strategy. It’s been awarded Game of the Year, Hall of Fame, and Game of the Century in Germany, the United States, and worldwide.
In this game, you’ll build post offices around Bavaria and the surrounding regions. See if you can do a good of a job as Franz von Taxis did when given the job in 1490. It’s won Game of the Year and is considered a classic in southern Germany.
You’ll play the role of a bean farmer – overalls optional. Strategize which beans to plant and which ones to trade. I’ve played this game more than any other game in Germany, and it remains one of my all-time favourites. It’s especially fun to play with a small group as it results in some heated trading discussions.
Besides, board games I also love doing puzzles. What better one to do than Neuschwanstein, Germany’s most famous castle. Choose between a regular one, or a 3-D one that you can display afterward. I’ve already got my Christmas puzzle, and yes it’s one of Germany!
One of these thoughtful gifts is sure to be perfect for the person in your life who loves Germany. Happy Holidays!
Let me know your gift recommendations in the comments below.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. I make a commission at no extra charge to you if you purchase an item. As always, I only recommend things and places that I believe will add value.