Christmas shopping in the old Hanseatic port
In late November, Hamburg’s lakes, river and canals reflect the pre-holiday sparkle of the north German metropolis. Christmas shopping on the Alster and Elbe is a magical experience, largely because of the many small, owner-run specialty shops and boutiques just waiting to be explored. Many of the garments, gourmet foods and designer items, from the bold to the luxurious, make wonderful gifts that are simply available no place else!
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Small boutiques – from daring to luxurious
Secret Service is a small, modern lingerie shop "without mom styles or the neon atmosphere of a department store," says proprietor Carolin Feige. Instead, women will find exactly what they’re looking for and men are sure to pick up all the lingerie or beauty products they need to make a good impression on their loved ones. The undergarments in this shop located smack in the middle of the trendy Schanzenviertel district range from casual to romantic to sexy, and many of the labels, including undrest (USA), Playful Promises (UK), Huit (France), Blush (Canada) and Odille (UK), cannot be obtained anywhere else in Germany.
Secret Service, Susannenstraße 39, Tel. +49-40/79 69 83 99, Hours: Mon -Fri 11:30am – 7:30pm, Sat 11am – 6:30pm. www.secretservice-store.com
If you’re looking for a serious (illustrated) book to place beneath the Christmas tree, go to Sautter + Lackmann, a specialty bookstore located in a former warehouse. Florian Sautter has an excellent selection of books on art, architecture, photography, film, advertising and graphic design in his shop lined with black, ceiling-high shelves and decorated with tastefully chosen art objects. You’ll find yourself browsing for hours.
Sautter + Lackmann, Admiralitätsstraße 71-72, Tel. +49-40/37 31 96, Hours: Mon - Fri 10am –7pm, Sat 11am – 6pm (8pm during the Advent season). www.sautter-lackmann.de
Herr von Eden (which means "lord of Eden") is a labyrinthine, wood-paneled shop in the Karolinenviertel district. It recalls the wonderfully old-fashioned British men’s outfitters of the 1930s and caters to the dreams of any modern dandy. The shop carries full suits but also perfect gift ideas like ties and cufflinks, ingeniously designed to reflect a variety of styles from rock’n’roll to cabaret to gentry
Herr von Eden, Marktstraße 33, Te. +49-40/439 00 57, Hours: Mon - Fri 11am – 8pm, Sat 10am – 6pm. www.herrvoneden.com
Christmas shopping in Hamburg: nostalgia and extravagance
"Designing tomorrow today" is Elke Schlegel’s motto, and she has decorated her children’s toy shop Cle'o with lots of wood, love and common sense. The handmade activity toys, musical instruments and experiment sets she sells will inspire any inquisitive child. A set of symbols helps shoppers find age-appropriate toys, for instance a caterpillar (0-2), a cocoon (2-5) and a butterfly (5 and up).
Cle'o für Kinder, Bei der Reitbahn 1, Tel. +49-40/390 05 14, Hours: Mon - Fri 10am – 6:30pm. www.cleokinderladen.de
The crazy, nostalgic delicatessen Mutterland in St. Georg district has already had a mention in the international style guide Monocle. Hand-stirred slow-food jams share the white-tiled countertop with marzipan-pistachio pesto. Shelves made of stacked wooden crates contain the FC St. Pauli soccer team’s cult ketchup, "Körri-Saft". Restaurateur Jan Schawe has compiled a culinary wunderkammer of his favorite specialty foods from 70 small manufactories around the country. Everything here is Made in Germany.
Mutterland, Ernst-Merck-Straße 9, Tel. +49-40/2840 7978, Hours: Mon - Sat 8am – 9pm, Sun 10am – 6pm. During the pre-Christmas season he will open a second shop in the Hanseviertel shopping arcade in downtown Hamburg. www.mutterland.de
Holy.Shit.Shopping is undoubtedly Hamburg’s most extravagant alternative to the traditional Christmas market. Surrounded by the industrial architecture of the Altes Gaswerk, a former gasworks, some 150 young designers, artists and creative types will exhibit an idiosyncratic selection of non-established art and innovative fashion, jewelry and product designs on a single weekend in the run-up to Christmas. DJ performances and live musical acts will round off the hip event. Three other German cities (Stuttgart, Berlin, Cologne) will each host this creative market on one weekend during the pre-Christmas period.
Altes Gaswerk/Otto von Bahrenpark, Paul Dessau Str. 3g, December 5+6, 2009, Hours: Sat 12 – 10pm, Sun 12 - 8pm. www.holyshitshopping.de
pictures: Look; Ed Neumann; PR (5)