Gifts from Germany

A visiting friend from New York asked me for some tips on good gift ideas for her to take back home from their summer in Germany. I love this question as it’s one that I have to think about and refresh each time I go back home. Here’s my list which includes  some expected standards along with some eccentric ideas that have been hits.

Cookware is my shoes. Since I’ve been living 45 minutes away from the WMF outlet, this is where I get weak with my wallet. We all need to eat, so I bet you can find something for everyone on your gift list. For the gourmet, you can buy something obscure and uniquely German like an asparagus pot. Otherwise an elegant set of cheese platters and knives for someone who loves to entertain? In addition to WMF products, there are other top quality “Made in Germany” kitchen products such as Fissler pressure cookers (a hit for Koreans) or Zwilling J.A. Henckel knives. In the United States, you would have to pay much more at a shop like Williams-Sonoma for these products.

Organic cosmetics. I stock up on Weleda Sanddorn hand cream before I fly back home. Weleda Calendula Babycream is also a must for any new baby in my life. Along with Lavera and Dr. Hauschka, all of these products are sold at the likes of Whole Foods for double the price. I have heard that German organic products are better controlled than in the U.S. I am convinced of their superior quality and would love to hear any back up to this claim.

Wooden toys. In a plastic world, it is something special to give a baby a baby carriage toy from Haba or a pacifier chain from Selecta.

Football jerseys – a suggestion from my husband, how many of you also just put your hands up showing me four fingers? Weltmeister!

I find that having several bars of Milka and Ritter Sport chocolate in my suitcase comes in handy when I discover that I might have forgotten someone or get a spontaneous invitation.

While sweets are on our mind, we mustn’t forget Haribo. It’s fun to stock up on harder to find varieties in the United States like the pasta or french fries (oh, I love the sour stuff), but I particularly like grabbing the big bag of mini bags of classic Gummi Bärchen when I am at Aldi.

And while at Aldi, stock up on some Schwammtücher (a.k.a. European sponge cloths). You can buy a pack of five at Aldi for pennies in comparison to the hefty $3.95 for three at Crate & Barrel. This is my mother’s go to gift for all of her friends.

Finally, this was an idea from my visiting friend. She grabbed a bunch of Stabilo, Staedtler, and Faber-Castell pens, color pencils and paints for her kids’ friends.

What gifts to you bring back from Germany?

4 thoughts on “Gifts from Germany

  1. Pingback: The Week in Germany: Gifts, Food, Movies | Young Germany

  2. Pingback: Friday Links | LEATHER & ABEL

  3. Great post Jane! I actually didn’t know all of these brands were German-born (especially Haribo and Dr. Hauschka….two things I eat/use!). One other I would recommend for people is cuckoo clocks. Only tricky part is finding them in stores in the states is not common (especially authentic ones) BUT there are companies that sell ones hand-made in Germany and they will ship to you in the states. We bought ours from and love it! Arrived safe and sound in one piece all the way from our home-land 🙂

    • Thanks for the feedback and further tips! Yes, getting a cuckoo clock is a favorite souvenir, especially from the Black Forest. I’m surprised by how they can suit almost any decor.

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