1. Christmastime liquor
Glühwein. Photo: DPA.
Germans have a variety of types of alcohol that aren't beer, a great many of which are consumed mainly around Christmastime. Glühwein and Eierpunsch are good choices, but stores also offer a near endless selection of schnapps flavours – peppermint, pear, walnut, vanilla, elderberry and many more.
As long as you're checking your suitcase, a healthy wrapping of bubble wrap – Luftpolsterfolie in German – should secure it. And if you're doing carry-on…
2. Christmas pyramids
Photo: DPA / Richard Huber under Wikimedia Commons.
If you've ever “forgotten” to return your mug for the Pfand deposit at a Christmas market, you may already have a few of these lying around.
Non-Germans go crazy for traditional, alcohol-drinking vessels, so pick out a few that have old-timey designs and hand them out to friends and family. Many souvenir shops sell vintage-looking beer steins with handles and lids, but so do flea markets for a fraction of the price. These make decorative and pragmatic gifts.
5. Grimms' Fairy Tales (in German)
Why not treat kids to the fairy tales they love in their original language? Show off how good your German has become by translating the stories as you go along.
Or try to just read them in the original German. It may actually be better if the kids (and you) have no idea what's going on since the Grimms' recurring and disturbing themes of severed limbs, brutal deaths and child abandonment are probably best left not understood.
The design of a wooden nutcracking soldier or king first emerged in Thuringia and in the Ore Mountains of Germany by 1800, according to the Nutcracker Museum in Washington state. And many of the figures collected by Americans today are still produced in Germany.
Of course, the novella on which Pyotr Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet was written by a German author – E.T.A. Hoffmann.
So in a nutshell (sorry) nutcrackers are very authentically German gifts to bring home.