For my German-Inspired Gift Guide (Holiday Edit), I am channeling all my favorite things that score high on sustainability, function and beauty! I hope you find a few things to help make someone’s holiday extra special!
Some of my favorite things
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Germans like sustainability & Function
It’s no secret that Germans value sustainability (recycling is even mandatory there), so when it came to putting together my German-Inspired Gift Guide for this holiday season, I naturally selected items that are for the most part sustainable, functional and beautiful (and edible). Most of what you can find on this gift guide, I already own and love. So you know they’re vetted products that I stand behind! You can find:
– a little fashion
– a little decor
– some things for the kids
– foodie things
– a few items for the guys
Jason helped select the ladder and I think he did a pretty great job! I am also a huge supporter of everything local! Gift cards to your favorite restaurants, local spa or shop are always a great option for everyone on your list!
Gift Guide: My Favorite Things?
Oh man that was hard! A few of these items are just seasonal favorites, others resulted from narrowing down some of the things that have taken up a lot of time over 2021 (and that I would do again in 2022)
1. Gardening: we just finished building our raised planter boxes in the fall, but I have been growing my own herbs and other veggies and even flowers throughout the year using this neat LED Grow Kit that makes things super simple (shoot, I even plan to grow some things for while we’re away in Germany for the holidays!).
2. Comfy Fashion: When it came to fashion this year, I mainly wanted to stay comfortable. I added a few vetted items to my guide from my favorite ever sweater that I wear all the time! It’s so comfy and I discovered it through my collab with Evereve! and has yet to start pilling, which is a major plus! I also have loved these sustainable sneakers made from upcycled plastic bottles and wear them all the time! They are washer-safe, too! Use code ‘SOPHIES’ to get them at 18% off!
3. Rumtopf: That was a project! If you haven’t checked out my Rumtopf Diary, then do! I started making it in the Spring and ended with a holiday spiced Rumtopf that I am now gifting for the holidays in little German weck jars! If you haven’t started your Rumtopf yet, it’s not too late to make a quick version happen (I added festive spices to mine!).
4. Nutcracker: This super adorable bread-baking nutcracker is handmade in Germany and embodies my obsession with baking all things German (and sourdough). It’s an heirloom piece that would make the perfect gift for any baker in your family!
4. Lebkuchen: Every German loves gingerbread! And I think in the USA, Sandy Lee who is behind Leckerlee Lebkuchen does it best (and the tins are gorgeous and require zero wrapping. Get 15% off your Lebkuchen orders from Leckerlee now through 12/5 by using code DIRNDL15 at checkout! I recently did a little interview with Sandy and here’s what she had to say
1. What inspired you to start Leckerlee?
It all goes back to my obsession with Nürnberger Lebkuchen, which I first tried when living in Germany. It was like nothing I’d tasted before, and I just instantly became obsessed with it…trying all the different kinds and brands, learning about the history of Lebkuchen, traveling to Nuremberg and other towns known for their gingerbread specialties, and hunting for vintage lebkuchen tins. I think I became so engaged with it because it was an easy way for me to delve a little deeper into the culture and language. It actually wasn’t until much later, when I started to think about moving back to the U.S., that I thought…hmm, maybe I should try to start a lebkuchen business back home! I think I must have been blinded by my obsession with lebkuchen to not realize at the time how crazy an idea this was…I mean, I was not a baker (not even for fun), had never worked in a kitchen and knew nothing about food businesses. Even ten years later, I still think it’s kind of crazy that I do this for a living. But I guess things turned out reasonably ok…
Well, first of all, thank you for saying so 🙂 Personally, I’ve always tried to stay away from artificial foods and preservatives, and so with Leckerlee I’ve been equally adamant about what goes into our lebkuchen. We really try to keep it simple and get the best ingredients and avoid unnecessary additives, and we truly care about what we make for our customers. I think all of those things make all the difference.
Lebkuchen embodies the classic taste of the holidays…I mean it’s basically like the flavors and warmth of the winter holidays all bundled up into a cookie! And in keeping with tradition, we only bake it during this time of year, so we hope it stays quite special to people. Also, I was so inspired by the gorgeous lebkuchen tins from the early to mid 20th century that I came across in my research…they were truly works of art, and I wanted to recreate something similar with Leckerlee. So we put a lot of love and energy into our tins too. And they stand on their own, no wrapping paper needed! What could be easier?!
What’s a Good Hostess Gift?
The hosts and hostesses in your life would love what’s on my gift-guide! Here a few ideas!
1. Clean-crafted wine: My go-to to bring to a dinner or party is of course wine! I used to get headaches all the time from drinking wine, but making sure that the wine I drink is free of pesticides, other chemicals and added sugar has helped! Scout and Cellar does a tremendous job of meeting the highest standards in the industry, and I love them so much, I recently became a rep for them! The Scout and Cellar holiday bottle sets are perfect for hosting and to give as a gift to a host (there are half bottle sets that will actually become part of my advent calendar and then full bottle sets as well)!
2. Clean Beauty: Here are a few of my favorites from my go-to fragrance to favorite lip product and a fun foot mask that would also make neat stocking stuffers.
3. Clay Bracelet: these handmade clay bracelets are handmade by local artisans in Haiti and feature encouraging messages that I love so much! I am obsessed and own 4 of them and plan to gift them to my family for Christmas. They would make a perfect hostess gift.
Sustainable Gifts for Kids
I don’t know about you, but aren’t kids gifts these days so much cuter than they were when I was a kid? I LOVE all the wooden toys! Here a few of my faves I may gift to our kids this year:
1. Model Greenhouse: Okay, this tiny model greenhouse may be a bit too advanced for my kids, but it may just end up on my own Christmas list (it is). I just want this so badly! Probably because it gets me dreaming about our own greenhouse we plan to put in our backyard.
2. Wooden Food: Food toys like wooden Ritter Sport and Toffifee made in Germany? They exist and they are so cute! Katharina from the online shop called German Mommy is local in Kansas City (she is from Germany) and she imports high-quality, non-toxic, sustainable kids toys from food toys to wooden and stuffed animals and anything and everything in between. Your kids, nieces, nephew’s and friends’ kids will love them and you’ll know their parents won’t get upset when you clutter up their homes with these lovely toys! 🙂
3. Advent Calendars: Look at them as a countdown to Christmas. Growing up I usually had 3 advent calendars. One at my mom’s, one at my dad’s and one at my Oma and Opa’s house, meaning 3 little chocolates or presents for each day in December leading up to Christmas. Some were homemade in a refillable advent calendar like this beautiful one I got for Zoë last year, and some were simple chocolate calendars like these ones by Kinder or Lindt. Either way, they make counting down to the big day so much more fun!
4. Green Playhouse: If this one’s not the most sustainable kids play house there is. Solar roof, garden, rain water buckets, recycling bins and all. It also comes furnished. I’m in love. I may or may not have added this one to Zoë’s wishlist for Christmas, so we’ll see if Santa (or das Christkind) brings it for her 😉
5. Toniebox: Audio fun without screen time! We got our Toniebox audio box in Germany a couple of years ago, but Tonieboxes have since made it to the US. What’s really fun is that you can add Tonies from Germany (next time you go visit there), which will play audio in German. They have music ones (the kids’ favorite), shorter TV shoes and movies. They’re easy to navigate even for babies (we found out with Eloïse). Each Toniebox also comes with a blank Tonie that you can record audio to using the app and play MP3 files on. Our kids love them and I love them because it keeps screens away.
6. Lovevery Subscription: We have LOVED the Lovevery toys we’ve received over the past 3 years as part of our ongoing subscription. Lovevery toys are sustainably made toys that are thoughtfully and beautifully designed and that engage your child with the right toys for their age group. We also love the books the subscription comes with. Overall, would 100% recommend to anyone with babies and little kids and the subscription price is totally worth it. We don’t buy any other toys for our kids other than larger ones for birthdays and Christmas.
Gift Guide for the guys?
I had Jason make his own picks! Here they are:
1. Cocktail Smoking Kit: Want to secretly become a master mixologist, but have your partner do all the work? Gift him this Cocktail Smoking Kit! 😀 Seriously though, who wouldn’t want to experiment with a bit of smoke?
2. Mushroom Log: After watching Fantastic Fungi on Netflix, I’ve been even more obsessed with mushrooms than before! We’ve actually gifted mushroom logs before. Patience is key with this gift because it can easily take 6 to 8 months to see mushrooms growing on your log. But don’t most good things in life take time?
3. Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker: Okay, he may actually get this one because I can’t drink enough coffee in the day and this Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Maker sounds too good to be true. Any other coffee-lovers on your list would love this!
Here are a few more gift ideas that I just LOVE!
1. Sustainably Harvested Seafood: Sitka Salmon Shares support small-boat fisherman around Alaska and provide the highest quality flash-frozen seafood to all seafood lovers. They have recently come out with their holiday boxes that would be perfect for entertaining for Christmas or New Years Eve.
2. Alltrue Subscription Box (women focused): I have subscribed to Alltrue (formerly Cause box) for about two years (it arrives every 3 months). Thanks to Alltrue, I have been introduced to so many ethically and sustainably made products that I love, ranging from fashion to beauty to cooking utensils and fun gadgets. The value is incredible. Get $10 off your first subscription.
3. Better Sleep (and it’s on sale!): I love this nifty little sleep tool! We first became Hatch customers when we got them for our babies (they started out with sound machines), but Hatch recently expanded to include an adult version of their popular sound machine, combining a sunrise alarm, white noise machine, and meditation all in one! I love the app and how customizable everything is. The meditations really help me drift off into sleep. And I am pretty sure better sleep is on everyone’s wish list!
4. Handmade Dirndl: Erika at Rare Dirndl makes BEAUTIFUL handmade Dirndl dresses in Chicago using quality materials and her unmatched craftsmanship. My Little Black Dirndl has even made it to Berlin with me!
5. Winter Decor: I am always so sad once Christmas passes and I am left with January and no decorations at all. This Winter pillow is so cozy and perfect and reminds me of times skiing in Germany, Austria and Finland! I am sure anyone you would gift it to, would love it as well, and wouldn’t mind keeping it around until Spring.
German Christmas Recipes
Christmas season is around the corner (or maybe it’s here for you already!). Make sure to subscribe to my blog now, so you’re not missing out when this new German Christmas recipes go live!
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