A unique Christmas gift is meaningful – however, tracking down that unusual present can feel about as hopeful as avoiding the inevitable pudding-induced holiday weight gain. Thanks to the season’s over-commercialisation, purchasing truly thoughtful or distinctive wares seems near impossible. Major department stores trade in the same standard products, which are found in multiple locations around the city, often at elevated prices. Nevertheless, procuring that one-of-a-kind gift doesn’t have to be a futile exercise, if you know where to look.
Here at Crocodilian, we’re gift-buying veterans, and Berlin is the city of artisans – serving up the goods when it comes to vintage, unique or remarkable goods. From curious homewares to personalized fragrances, we’ve rounded up a few of our top stops below. Check them out!
When arriving at the iconic neo-gothic former post building in Kreuzberg, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve wandered back in time. Built by architect and postmaster Hermann Struve from 1900 to 1902, the dramatic red brick façade boasts incredible gable windows, two glass ceiling courtyards and retains many of its original features.
Occupying the ground floor, Hallesches Haus is a one-stop-shop for everything domestic and décor related. Peruse their general store to pick up everything from embroidered wall art and vintage maps to local artists’ jewellery and kitchenware.
If the delightful homewares don’t seal the deal, after you’ve finished shopping, you can head straight into the lunchroom, grab a flat white and peruse the seasonal menu.
Hallesches Haus: Tempelhofer Ufer 1, 10961 (Kreuzberg)
Monday to Friday: 10 – 20
Saturdays: 10 – 18
Sundays: Closed, excluding special shopping events – see their website for details
Undeniably one of the most unique stores in Berlin, this textilfleischerei (textile butcher) offers a range of traditional German charcuterie, minus the meat. Founded by artist and vegetarian Silvia Wald, each item is carefully dyed, sewed and constructed to appear exactly like its culinary counterpart. Playing on the absurdity of our attitude towards the meat industry, artisans create lifelike sausages and steaks using traditional sewing techniques. Not restricting themselves to meat alone, you can also pick up cushioned baguettes, fruit and more! The fun doesn’t end here either, as the Friedrichshain-located atelier is set up to look like a traditional butcher, complete with glass cabinet, weighing scales and ‘meat’ grinding machine.
Aufschnitt: Boxhagener Straße 32, 10245 (Friedrichshain)
Monday: 10 – 16
Tuesday to Friday: 11 – 19
Saturday: 12 – 18
Unlike many other traditional German cities, Berlin is known for its vegan-friendly attitude. You don’t have to look far to find sustainable and ecologically sound products. However, finding vegan fashion that is both stylish, fair trade and cruelty free can be a task. Enter: Loveco – a hip store catering to fashionistas with a conscience. Not only do they supply organic, vegan fashion, they also stock jewellery, cosmetics, accessories and lifestyle goods.
Sonntagstraße 29, 10245 (Friedrichshain)
Monday – Friday: 12 – 20
Saturday: 11 – 19
Manteuffelstraße 77, 10999 (Kreuzberg)
Monday – Saturday: 11 – 18
Is there anything more unique than creating an individualised fragrance for your loved one? Founded in 1926 on Potsdamer Straße, the Harry Lehmann Perfumery has been housed in several locations moving from the original site to Friedrichstraße, where it was bombed heavily in the war. Rescuing what he could from the rubble, Mr Lehmann himself reopened the store and eventually moved it to its current location on Kantstraße.
Bursting with vintage appeal, it is here that you can purchase Lehmann’s signature scents, fill your own container or create something completely unique. For true nostalgic appeal, fragrances from the 30s and 40s are still in production, along with a range of lotions, after shaves and more.
Harry Lehmann: Kantstraße 106, 10627 (Charlottenburg)
Monday – Friday: 9 – 18:30
Saturday: 9 – 14
Are you mesmerized with meerkats or bonkers for baboons? Instead of spending money on a tangible gift this Christmas, why not contribute to the care of an animal by adopting one from the Berlin Zoo? Sponsorship ranges in price from 100€ for a duck to 2000€ for a chimpanzee. Show your solidarity with the zoo and their conservation efforts by giving this out-of-the-ordinary gift to a family member or friend. As an added bonus, you receive a sponsorship certificate, a name plate on a board in the zoo, and a VIP invitation to the donor evening.
Head over here to learn more.
Dishing out the iconic bohemian beverage, the Absinthe Depot provides a range of unique gifts including spoons, glasses and fountains. Founded in the 90s, this nostalgic hole-in-the-wall establishment opened with only 5 types of the mind-bending intoxicant, but now offers over 300 varieties of absinthe to its customers. Originally a shopfront that sold cigarettes and alcohol to clubgoers, the legendary absinthe tastings that occurred in the back room of the shop soon became a celebrated event. These days the Absinthe Depot still offers a few coveted seats for lucky patrons to sample their wares the traditional way.
Absinthe Depot: Weinmeisterstraße 4, 10178 (Mitte)
Monday – Friday: 14 – 24
Saturday: 13 – 24
It doesn’t any more unique than Urban Industrial in Neukölln. Featuring over 800 square metres of shop space, you’ll find vintage fixtures, fittings and furniture, with each item carefully restored to its former glory. If you’re a fan of Berlin history you’ll relish the many items that have been plucked from run-down warehouses, old theatres, dentists’ rooms, apothecaries and more.
Urban Industrial Berlin: Hasenheide 13, 10967 (Neukölln)
Monday – Saturday: 11 – 20
Pick n’ Weight
Some classics never go out of fashion! For a timeless and unique Christmas present, why not choose a vintage gift? Luckily Berlin is flooded with high quality vintage stores, Pick n’ Weight being one of the finest. Jam packed with almost every style and era, you’re guaranteed to spend hours poring through their enormous offering. As an added bonus their Kreuzberg store also houses Springbok Coffee for that post-shop pick-me-up.
Pick n’ Weight currently operates six different locations, each with a different atmosphere and selection of vintage goods. We visited their concept store in Kreuzberg, which is located at:
Bergmannstraße 102, 10961
Monday – Saturday: 11 – 20