Read these 24 Shopping Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about German tips and hundreds of other topics.
Nuernberger Lebkuchen are a German speciality and resemble a gingerbread cookie. They come in different varieties and different qualities. You will get the best deals around Christmas, as that's when they are traditionally eaten. Best stores to buy them: Aldi, Plus, Reichelt, Karstadt, Hertie. Note: most stores sell their surplus at half price after the holidays.
Products from the former GDR: The 'Dresdner Ossi Versandhandel'(Onlineshop) sells a wide variety of GDR-products:
Pick up free postcards at the postoffice or at restaurants, clubs & bars. The cards are usually kept near the telephone/restrooms. You can pick as many as you want. Some carry ads for local events, artists or products, but there is usually enough space for a personal message. After all, they're free. Note: usually you have to pay between DM 0.50 - 1.00 per postcard.
Try to buy yourself a Swatch (Swiss watch) while you're over there. They start at DM 39 and can be up to 50 % cheaper than in the US.
There are a lot of flower shops around, but you will get a better value for your money at the nursery or even at the grocery store. Remember that you cannot import flowers to the US. I added this tip, as you might need to buy some for a German friend, or for a business contact.
German chocolate makes a great souvenir or gift, first of all, because it is cheap, then, because you can import it to the US. Prices start at DM 0.50 for a bar. Premium brands such as Lindt (DM 2.00 - 4.00) or Merci (ca. DM 3.00) are always a good choice. You may also want to buy some Swiss chocolate, Austrian candy and Belgian chocolate, which are available in most supermarkets and department stores.
Daedalus Books (online at www.salebooks.com) is your best bet when you want to order German books, German music, calendars or stationery from anywhere in the US. No matter what you order, shipping is a flat rate of $ 5. Prices start below $2. It pays to visit often, since quantities are always limited and ever changing.
Much to my surprise, I found exactly the same souvenir - a sea lion figurine - in a Texan and a German gift store (common denominator: both stores were located on the beach). Both were made in Taiwan. So, look at your souvenirs closely before you buy, a lot of them are nothing but kitsch and junk. Avoid falling for such ridiculous items such as "Berliner Luft", which is a little plastic bag filled with air (supposedly from Berlin) and outrageously expensive. Go for books and postcards instead.
German stores have special sales at least twice per year, the Sommerschlussverkauf (end of summer sale), and the Winterschlussverkauf (end of winter sale). Check your local papers, as times may vary. You'll find clothing reduced up to 80 %. If you want to pick up household stuff, a good time to shop is in January. Most stores hold "household weeks" around this time.
Buy German art online at the German Kunstforum.
Need a German souvenir? No problem - go to Living Luxury. This dot.com specializes in German accessoires, products for living, wellness, gourmet cooking and travel.
Kathe Wohlfahrt, Rothenburg ob der Tauber - Germany
A wonderful site for unique greetings, dolls, linens, clocks, nutcrackers, smokers (my special selections :o), and Christmas ornaments and decorations galore! I`ve bought many `smokers` from them, and can testify to their quality workmanship and ease of ordering and timely shipping. Christmas is a busy season, so get your orders in early!
This is Micke - Senior-Tips Guru :o)
You can order a free home improvement catalog if you have a German address. Call Impressionen Versand, phone: + (49) 0180 523 2341, fax: + (49) 0180 523 2342, or visit www.impressionen.de.
Tyrol International imports European products and souvenirs into the US - especially arts and crafts from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. At present, shipping is only $ 6, regardless of the quantity. They offer a huge selection of gifts, such as genuine Bavarian walking sticks, nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, crystal, music boxes, stoneware steins, drinking horns, Hummel figurines, Christmas ornaments, stuffed animals by Steiff, clothes, knives and porcelain. Browse their offers online and order a free catalog. Click here:
Groceries and specialties from Saxony's Saechsische Spezialitaeten Hartmann GmbH (Radebeul):
Koelnisch Wasser is a popular type of German Eau de Cologne made by the 4711 company. It is surprisingly good with small wounds and bee stings, too. It comes in bottles of all sizes. It is not too expensive. You can order it in the US from www.smallflower.com.
Gartenzwerge (garden gnomes) are very popular in Germany and available in all kinds of shapes and sizes. You find them at nurseries, landscape stores, department stores, or at Woolworth. They are either made out of clay or plastic.
TRAVIX online shopping is available for people based in Germany:
Do not buy souvenirs at the small gift stores you find at the 'landmarks of interest'. Try a big department store. Museum stores also offer a wide range of souvenirs for much better prices than the gift shops. Do not buy postcards at your hotel, as they tend to be more expensive. Go to a stationary store instead. Buy great souvenirs for almost nothing at the local flea markets. Most big towns have at least one.
The Best of My Grandmother's German Cookery is a cookbook with 270 German recipes in English. It costs $ 12,95 and $ 3,20 for s&h. Call toll free for details: 1 - 800 - 410 - 214.
The TRAVIX Catalog Center caters to people based in Germany:
Order German catalogs online, most of them are free:
The Berlin watch features the Brandenburg Gate and is available from Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe. Send your enquiry to BVG, Potsdamer Str, 188, D - 10783 Berlin. If in Berlin, go to Pavillon Zoo, Hardenbergplatz (in front of train station Zoo). Open daily 6:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.. - The watch costs DM 70.