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My Favorite Souvenir Holiday Gifts From Hamburg

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When you live abroad, going home for the holidays is a welcome retreat. One of my favorite things about going home for Christmas is picking out cool presents in Germany that I know my family in the U.S. won’t have access to.

The most important thing for me when buying some Christmas presents is to consider something that is cool and unique to the area that I live in. But at the same time, I also want to give something with a purpose. Needless to say a little figurine of a ship with the word “Hamburg” on it isn’t really optimal.

Plus, bringing presents from another country gives a little bit of an “exotic” factor, so you don’t have to spend very much money for the receiver to get excited!

Instead, here are my top 5 souvenir presents to bring back from Hamburg:

1. Chocolates or sweets

German chocolate and other candies are really delicious. I especially love to bring back marzipan treats from the company Niederegger, which is founded in the city of Lübeck, just an hour or so north of Hamburg. As well as being delicious, I know this is a really good quality product that is made from 100% almond paste and no sugar. Plus, it looks special to bring back a locally produced product.

Niederegger Lubeck Marzipan heart. Taken by Alpha via Flickr.
Niederegger Lubeck Marzipan heart. Taken by Alpha via Flickr.

2. Beer

Everyone knows that Germany is famous for having great beer. Pilsner, wheat beer and other varieties are famous, especially because of huge festivals such as the Oktoberfest in Munich. My favorite kind to bring home, however, is from a craft brewery in Hamburg known as Ratsherrn. As well as being one of my favorite beers ever, they also have lots of cool seasonal flavors that are perfect gifts for the holiday season.

Ratherrn Beer. Taken by By PiaHonolulu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Ratherrn Beer. Taken by By PiaHonolulu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Ornament or Decoration

German Christmas markets are the optimal place to find nice ornaments or decorations that are a great gift for the holiday season. You can definitely find ones that are in English, but I think it’s more special to give an ornament that says something in German such as “Frohe Weihnachten” (Merry Christmas). This way, it can always be a reminder of your time abroad and it’s a great conversation starter hanging on the tree! One of the most famous makers of German Christmas decorations is Käthe Wohlfahrt, which you can find at most Christmas Markets such as the Hamburg Rathaus Christmas Market.

Käthe Wohlfahrt shop in Germany. Taken by By Photo: Andreas Praefcke (Own work (own photograph)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Käthe Wohlfahrt shop in Germany. Taken by By Photo: Andreas Praefcke (Own work (own photograph)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

4. Souvenir mugs

For those who love their morning coffee or tea, a souvenir mug is a great idea. I love to collect mugs from the different places I’ve visited along the way. Each morning, drinking out of one of my many souvenir mugs, I am always reminded of that happy memory of my trip. If you want to a bit of a rebel, the best souvenir mugs come from the Christmas markets themselves. You have to pay a deposit when you order a drink that comes in a mug anyway, so if you don’t return the mug you don’t get the deposit back… but hey who doesn’t want a cool mug with an interesting back-story?

Christmas market mugs. Taken by Alex Liivet via Flickr.
Christmas market mugs. Taken by Alex Liivet via Flickr.

5. Typical foods

It may sound silly to someone who grew up in Germany, but one of my favorite things to bring home is the bread spreads known as “streichcreme” that are sold at any supermarket. They are super typical for Germans, but as someone who grew up in the U.S. I’ve never had that before and they are totally delicious!

What are your favorite souvenirs?

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