BRING THE WORLD HOME

Welcome to our fascinating journey through the most surprising and original Christmas souvenirs and gifts from different European countries! As elements like tree ornaments, marzipan, gingerbread cookies, and Christmas lights are common in many countries, we’ll focus on discovering the festive treasures in each country.

From souvenirs related to Austria’s intriguing Krampus legend to Sweden’s picturesque Dala horses, we’ll explore not only objects but also delightful Christmas treats from each country. Get ready for a journey filled with surprises, flavors, and the unique magic of Christmas in Europe. Let’s discover together the Christmas treasures of this wonderful continent! 🎄🎁

1.Wales

On our first stop, we visited Wales, famous for its tradition in wool production, which means that buying handwoven gifts like scarves, blankets, or Welsh wool sweaters is an exceptional choice. If you manage to find products that bear the distinctive red dragon or the national flower, the daffodil, you have some fantastic souvenirs to take home.

If you’re looking for something more quaint, Welsh Lovespoons are a cultural gem. These Welsh love spoons, while traditional all year round, transform into decorative and festive versions during Christmas, capturing the holiday spirit.

And, of course, you can’t miss out on Welsh cakes, a local delicacy that I recommend buying freshly made if you have the opportunity. That is magic!

2. Hungary

We recommend the popular Christmas sweets known as loszaloncukor, which are chocolates wrapped in shiny paper and hung on the Christmas tree. Another common item is húsvéttojás, which are decorative Easter eggs used as ornaments. Both souvenirs reflect Hungary’s rich craft and cultural tradition during the holiday season.

We also suggest trying Bejgli, a rolled cake filled with nuts or poppy seeds, commonly enjoyed during Christmas celebrations. It’s a must-try treat!

3. Italy

Nativity scenes hold significant importance in Italy during Christmas. Figures and decorations related to the nativity are a popular and authentic choice, deeply rooted in Italian culture.

Figures of Santa Claus (Babbo Natale) and La Befana (a kind witch who brings gifts to Italian children on Epiphany Eve) are also popular as souvenirs.

Panettone and Pandoro are two types of traditional Italian sweet bread enjoyed during the holiday season (and beyond). You can buy packaged versions to take home.

4. United Kingdom

Typical English Christmas souvenirs include ornaments for the Christmas tree with British designs and Christmas crackers, small tubes that pop open when pulled, containing gifts, jokes, and paper hats.

Christmas cards featuring iconic British images are also a significant part of the celebrations. Moreover, products related to the British royal family, such as mugs and ornaments, are highly appreciated.

Mince pies, small pastries filled with a mix of dried fruits, spices, and often a hint of brandy, are another essential tradition during the Christmas season in the UK. They can be found everywhere, adding a delightful touch to British festive celebrations. Another classic is the Christmas pudding.

5. Romania

Here we find the martisor, a small traditional spring decoration used as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Although primarily associated with spring celebrations, it can also be found during the Christmas season in the form of small decorative pendants representing flowers, animals, or folk characters.

Another interesting option is crafts made of black clay shaped into Christmas figures. Black clay is characteristic of certain regions in Romania and is used to create unique pieces, such as small sculptures of Santa Claus or creatures from Romanian folklore.

On the culinary front, there’s cozonac, a sweet and fluffy bread filled with nuts, cocoa, and candied fruits, commonly prepared during the Christmas celebrations.

6. Sweden

In Sweden, we encounter the charming tomte, small gnomes or elves believed to protect homes during Christmas. They are popular decorations in various shapes and sizes. A very traditional aspect is the Santa Lucia candles, which light the way during the celebration of Santa Lucia on December 13th, offering light in the winter darkness. Another interesting feature is decorations inspired by the iconic Swedish Dala horse, adding a traditional touch to the festivities.

We must also mention Jultomte-related souvenirs, the Swedish version of Santa Claus, like figurines and ornaments, which are popular gifts embodying the Swedish Christmas spirit.

In Sweden, they also appreciate joulutorttu, star-shaped Christmas pastries filled with jam, originating from Finland but cherished in Sweden during the holiday season.

7. Netherlands

In the Dutch lands, we find Sinterklaas (a figure similar to Santa Claus) and Zwarte Piet (his helper), two iconic figures closely linked to Saint Nicholas’ celebration in the Netherlands. During this festivity, children receive sweets and gifts as part of the tradition, creating a festive atmosphere filled with joy and excitement.

Speculaas cookies, known as Speculaas, are a delicious Christmas tradition in the Netherlands. These cookies are shaped like figures and windmills, made with a special spice blend that gives them their characteristic flavor.

8. Spain

In Spain, typical Christmas souvenirs include nativity figurines representing the birth scene of Jesus. Another special souvenir is the caganer figurine, a squatting figure placed in nativity scenes, rooted in Catalan tradition.

Of course, one cannot miss turrón, a typical Christmas sweet made of almonds and honey. And lastly, in my personal opinion, the true winner is the roscón de Reyes, a delicacy when prepared with time and care.

9. Greece

One of the emblematic elements is the Karavaki, small decorative boats hung as Christmas ornaments. Besides being visually charming, they symbolize the arrival of good fortune, making them a perfect gift to wish for prosperity and joy in the upcoming year.

We also highlight Kourabiedes (delicate almond cookies covered with powdered sugar) and Melomakarona (moist honey and walnut cakes, sprinkled with cinnamon), culinary treasures that often become popular souvenirs during the Christmas season.

10. Finland

In Finland, the most typical Christmas souvenirs include handmade crafts like carved wooden figures, decorative candles, and blown glass ornaments. Products related to the Finnish mythological character called Joulupukki (the Finnish equivalent of Santa Claus) are popular too, such as Joulupukki figures and dolls.

You can also find gifts related to reindeer, like carved antlers or clothing pieces with reindeer designs, which are important symbols in Finnish culture. Another popular option is wool and felt gifts, like socks and gloves, useful during the Finnish winter cold.

Lastly, indulge in Joulutorttu, Christmas pastries shaped like stars and filled with plums or apricots.

11. Portugal

In Portugal, typical Christmas souvenirs include presépios, detailed and colorful Portuguese nativity scenes; Barcelos roosters, popular decorative roosters often found in Christmas ornaments; and Christmas pastries and sweets like Bolo Rei and sonhos, delicious treats often gifted in decorative boxes during Christmas.

12. Poland

In Poland, handmade Christmas souvenirs are beloved, especially the famous hand-painted glass balls (for the Christmas tree) called bombki. Straw and wooden figurines for nativity scenes, known as szopki, representing biblical scenes or traditional Polish figures, are also popular.

Additionally, Polish sweets like pierniki (gingerbread) and kutia (a dessert made from wheat, honey, and nuts) are common Christmas gifts in Poland.

13. Germany

In Germany, one of the highly recommended experiences is visiting Christmas markets. Original Christmas souvenirs could be the famous blown glass balls from Lauscha or beautiful Advent calendars. Some of our favorites include hand-painted wooden figurines known as Nussknacker (nutcrackers) and Advent wreaths made with branches and candles.

Christmas is also experienced through the stomach, and traditional sweets like Lebkuchen (spice cake) and Stollen (fruit and nut bread) can be a great choice. An iconic element would be Glühwein (spiced hot wine), prost!

14. France

In France, Santa Claus figurines, fairy tale characters, and scented candles are common choices for home decoration during the holidays.

For sweet lovers, French shops offer delicious gifts like calissons and chocolate truffles, perfect for bringing home during the Christmas season. On the other hand, Bûche de Noël, a traditional log-shaped cake, is a classic symbol of Christmas in France.

Additionally, Santons de Provenza, small handmade figurines representing characters from nativity scenes and everyday life, are a cool and unique choice for souvenirs. These colorful and detailed figurines are highly collectible and are highly appreciated as Christmas gifts.

15. Denmark

And now, we fly to Danish lands to meet the Nisser, small elves that decorate homes, wreaths, and garlands with lit candles every Advent Sunday.

You also have hjerte, red paper hearts, common in decoration, along with red paper Christmas stars.

16. Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, wooden figurines are popular, especially traditional Czech puppets and marionettes. Additionally, ceramic products, decorative candles, and straw crafts are very common as Christmas souvenirs.

These items are usually available at Czech Christmas markets, which are a deeply rooted and colorful tradition in the country during the festive season.

For those with a sweet tooth, Vanocni Cukrovi, Czech Christmas cookies baked in a variety of shapes and decorated with colorful icing, are a must-try.

17. Croatia

In Croatia, textiles with traditional designs and ceramic souvenirs with Christmas motifs are quite common. Traditional Croatian cookies and sweets, such as krašići (spiced cookies with nuts) and fritule (small fried doughnuts), are popular delights during the Christmas season.

We recommend trying gingerbread hearts decorated with messages of love and friendship (licitar), often exchanged during the holiday season as gifts.

18. Slovakia

In Slovakia, you can find unique items like corn husk nativity figurines, which are distinctive and representative of the local culture. Additionally, Christmas ornaments made from Hriňová lace are exquisite and quite special.

You can also look for traditional corn husk dolls, known as ťukňa, which have a rustic and authentic charm. These souvenirs are truly original and allow you to carry an authentic piece of Slovak Christmas with you.

19. Ireland

In Ireland, typical Christmas souvenirs often include ornaments with Celtic designs, fine porcelain ornaments handmade in Belleek, Christmas cards with Irish motifs (such as shamrocks and leprechauns), or wool products like hand-knitted scarves and socks.

Similar to much of the UK, you’ll also find the Christmas Pudding, a traditional Christmas dessert made with dried fruits, nuts, spices, and rum, sometimes lit on fire before serving.

20. Scotland

In Scotland, popular Christmas souvenirs often include products related to Scottish tartan. Scottish tartan is a woven wool pattern, traditionally associated with Scottish clans. You can find it on various items like scarves, blankets, and Christmas tree ornaments. Additionally, Scottish wool products, such as sweaters and socks, are also popular choices as Christmas gifts, making a combination of these with tartan patterns a great gift.

A Christmas gift to bring from Scotland could be a bottle of high-quality Scottish whisky to ignite the holiday spirit.

21. Belgium

In Belgium, you’ll find the most typical souvenirs, including the famous Belgian chocolate with its various varieties and Christmas packaging. Speculoos cookies, rich in spices, are also popular gifts, often packaged in decorative containers.

Belgian beers are also a cherished option, with limited editions and Christmas beers available as special gifts. 

Additionally, the experience of visiting a local Christmas market is a unique opportunity to acquire handmade, unique mementos and add a traditional touch to your celebrations.

22. Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, some typical Christmas souvenirs include traditional Martenitsa dolls, exchanged to welcome spring and ward off the evil eye.

A more unique Bulgarian Christmas souvenir could be a miniature Kukeri. Kukeri are participants in an ancient Bulgarian ritual performed to drive away evil spirits during carnival. These characters wear colorful costumes and fierce-looking masks.

On the gastronomic side, there’s Bánitsa, a traditional Christmas pastry made with filo dough, eggs, cheese, and sometimes spinach, usually served during Christmas Eve dinner. There’s also Pita, a Christmas specialty with a hidden coin inside; it’s believed that whoever finds the coin will have good luck for the next year.

23. Estonia

In Estonia, you’ll find souvenirs and products inspired by the rich tradition of felted wool and Estonian patterns.

You’ll also discover Hõõgvein, spiced mulled wine served during the holiday season to help stay warm in their cold climate. And to complete the combo, there’s Hapukapsas, fermented sauerkraut commonly consumed with meat during the Christmas festivities.

24. Latvia

From Latvia, you’ll take home a happy stomach with their pīrāgi, pastries filled with bacon, onions, and sometimes mushrooms, traditionally prepared during the Christmas season.

More original Christmas souvenirs could be ornaments made of amber, as Latvia is known for its high-quality Baltic amber.

25. Lithuania

If you’re a Christmas foodie, the Kūčios provides the perfect excuse, a traditional Christmas dinner consisting of 12 dishes, each representing the apostles; it includes fish, beets, and gingerbread cookies.

Something definitely worth trying is Kūčiukai, small sweet cookies eaten during Christmas Eve dinner, often served with poppy seeds and honey.

Another original option could be special Christmas candles made from beeswax with a braided spiral inside. These candles are used during the Christmas festivities and have cultural and spiritual significance in Lithuanian tradition.

26. Luxembourg

We recommend trying bredele, small Christmas cookies of German origin, popular in Luxembourg and other regions!

27. Cyprus

Families often gather to share traditional meals and seasonal sweets like kourabiedes (almond cookies) and melomakarona (honey and walnut cookies).

Religious celebrations are also a significant part of Christmas in Cyprus, with special masses and processions held in local churches. Items related to these celebrations can make beautiful souvenirs to bring home.

28. Iceland

Icelandic wool sweaters and Icelandic moss soap are excellent choices for authentic Christmas gifts.

These sweaters are not only warm but also a symbol of Icelandic craftsmanship and their tradition of producing high-quality wool. Icelandic moss soap, with its natural healing properties, offers a unique experience and reflects Iceland’s connection with nature. Both souvenirs can perfectly encapsulate a piece of authentic Icelandic culture during the holiday season.

29. Switzerland

An original gift could be handmade Swiss cuckoo clocks, which are an iconic Swiss tradition and a distinctive, albeit potentially expensive, gift option.

You could also consider Swiss music boxes, famous for their quality and craftsmanship. Another unique option could be local Swiss cheese, presented in a special gift box with exclusive varieties and accompanied by a Swiss fondue set. These gifts are not only original but also representative of Switzerland’s rich culture.

30. Malta

Canned lampuki can be a unique culinary gift, but for more typical Christmas souvenirs in Malta, hand-blown glass baubles in Mdina, figurines, and Christmas ornaments, in general, are more traditional and popular choices.

You can also find local products like Qagħaq tal-Għasel (honey rings) and other Maltese culinary delights in the form of gift boxes, which are common gifts during the holiday season. These souvenirs not only represent Maltese culture but also capture the festive spirit of the island.

31. Austria

In Austria, the most popular items include carved wooden figurines, decorative candles, traditional wooden toys, and items related to the legend of Krampus, a figure from Austrian folklore associated with Christmas.

Moreover, Austrian Christmas markets offer a wide variety of delicious sweets and treats typical of the season, such as gingerbread cookies and festive chocolates. Another option could be the famous Swarovski crystal Christmas ornaments (yes, it’s an Austrian brand).

We hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed writing it. Remember, choosing a Christmas souvenir is not just a purchase; it’s carrying a piece of tradition and the charm of a special place with you. With each ornament or gift, you carry not just an object but also stories and traditions that make this time of the year truly magical.

So, as you explore the options in these charming European destinations, let your heart guide you and choose something that truly captures the Christmas spirit you wish to share. May you have holidays filled with joy and unforgettable memories! Merry Christmas! 🎄✨

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