Unique Czech Christmas gifts for your family

Can you believe that the semester is almost over?! Are you going home for the winter break, or expecting your family to visit you in the Czech Republic? Either way, it might be a good idea to grab a few local souvenirs for your parents, relatives and close friends, especially if they haven't been to Prague before. You chose a fantastic destination to study abroad! Prague is famous for its Christmas markets, and the variety of the available souvenirs might be overwhelming. We’ve given it some thought, and created this list for some last-minute shopping before the trip home. 

If you chose to stay in Prague for the holidays, be sure to walk down to the banks of the Vltava River on Christmas Eve, where you will see families releasing carp from the market back into the wild. The festive city decorations create a unique atmosphere, and you can feel the magic in the air. Another idea for something to do during the break would be to take a day trip to a nearby Czech or German town

If this is your first year studying at UNYP, get ready for a unique and magical Christmas experience! 

The markets on Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square welcome everyone with the aromas of Christmas souvenir gingerbread, trdelník, and of course, the special Karlovy Vary waffles. If you are buying edible gifts for children, Prague’s many artisanal chocolate shops sell cute and original figurines made from marzipan or chocolate (the best variety, of course, are found at the Chocolate Museum in Old Town). 

The streets surrounding the main squares are packed with souvenir and gift shops, full of trinkets, ceramic and glass beer and coffee mugs, decorative plates and bells painted with views of Prague and images of the Czech literary antihero, the Good Soldier Schweik. 

Your younger relatives will love a soft toy Krteček – the Little Mole. You can also buy children's t-shirts, picture books and puzzles featuring this cute mole and his funny forest friends.  

Your mother, aunts, and grandmothers may appreciate jewelry with inlays of Czech garnet, glass, and porcelain. If you don't know the size of the ring and can’t remember what type of earring they prefer, a fancy brooch might be a safer choice. Alternatively, you could surprise them with handcrafted Czech glass Christmas ornaments. The tradition of glassmaking in this country dates back as early as the 13th century, and the delicately crafted ornaments are beloved all over the world for their fragile beauty and charm. Mouth-blown and hand-painted, these decorations come in hundreds, if not thousands of different designs, and would make wonderful family heirlooms. Another collectible souvenir Prague is the marionette. The Puppet Shop at Nerudova 51 is the best place to look for them because they have the widest variety of unique puppets created by local artists. Sizes range from very large to tiny, so there are a range of options if your budget is tight. 

At the big Christmas markets, you can usually find a blacksmith’s stall, and watch them make ornamental roses or horseshoes right before your eyes. Last but not least, do not forget local liqueurs such as “Becherovka” from Karlovy Vary and the traditional Slovak mead “Vcelovina,” which is made from different sorts of honey. You can buy these as gift sets or ordinary bottles. And of course, while in the market be sure to try the roasted chestnuts – an indispensable Christmas treat! 

Any present that you will bring to your relatives and friends will show that you care, and that is the greatest gift of all. 

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