Technically, it is Christmas year-round at Die Weihnachts Ecke (translates to “The Christmas Store”) in the Germany pavilion at EPCOT’s World Showcase. However, this time of year, the shops in the Festival Marketplace truly come alive with additional merchandise and offerings. Now that the weather has cooled off, a stroll around the Germany pavilion will put you in a joyful mood for the approaching holiday season.
This store reminds me of home. Two of my great-grandparents were born and raised in Germany, so my family has always decorated with “kugel” (translates to ball) just like these. Nothing compares to beautiful glass ornaments that are brightly colored and available in such a variety of designs, shapes, and sizes.
The history of glass ornaments begins in Lauscha, a small German town. Lauscha’s hand-blown glass workshops date back as far as the late 1500s. Subsequently, glass ornaments came along in the early 1800s with the development of molds. The industry grew, and the region began exporting its ornaments in the mid-1800s, becoming quite beloved across Europe. Glass ornaments made their way to the United States in the late 1880s. The Woolworth Company, a popular five-and-dime store, began selling these new decorations. They became so popular that Woolworth’s sold out of their inventory year after year.
The choice of ornaments appears almost endless, with row after row. I’ve got my eye on the pretzel as a new addition for our tree this year. My family has always snacked on a soft pretzel at Disney, so this ornament will remind us of some special times spent together.
Yes, Germany does sell the famous pickle ornaments. The origin of how exactly and where this special bauble got its popular start is a bit unclear. Despite the uncertainty, it is a fun activity for families to hide the special ornament on their tree at home. My mother grew up with this tradition passed to her from her Bavarian grandparents. Accordingly, my family carries forward with this tradition year after year.
Standing wooden Nutcrackers were first made in the Erzgebirge mountain regions of Germany in the 1800s. This region was originally known for mining, but when production slowed, the villagers expanded their pastime of woodcarving into a means of business and commerce. Our family has enjoyed collecting nutcrackers over the years, often based on our children’s interests at the time, such as sports and activities. Soon, we will be unpacking Christmas bins that will include a Nutcracker drummer, baker, and golfer to display around the house.
“Steinkrug” (translates to stone mug) was shortened to the word “stein” that we see most often today. The use of lids on steins dates back to the days of the bubonic plague. Beverage holders needed a top for sanitation reasons, to keep insects out that could sicken people. Visit Germany’s Stein Haus to find these holiday versions alongside a display of traditional steins.
This festive red hooded sweatshirt translates to “have a nice Advent season.” I really enjoy the design of small Advent-inspired items like a teddy bear, rocking horse, train, and more. Additionally, even Mickey and Minnie make an appearance. All are cleverly stacked on top of each other to form the shape of a Christmas tree.
This delightful t-shirt, featuring the Fab 5 characters, translates to “Merry Christmas.” Who can resist Goofy dressed up in classic German lederhosen? I adore this crew neck because it wittily showcases so much about the German holidays. For example, we see nutcrackers, glass ornaments, singing carols, traditional attire, decorated trees, and even German architecture with the pavilion in the background.
If you are ready to get into the holiday spirit, I highly recommend a trip to the Germany pavilion on your next visit to EPCOT. It’s hard to believe that Christmas is but a short time away.
Finding fun and informative ways to provide Disney goers a unique perspective on the information they seek about the parks, resorts, food, history and so much more. Been bringing kids to Disney from toddlers to teens, so plenty of parent tips will be given.
Happiest with a pineapple Dole Whip float in my hand and an Orange Bird hat on my head.