Ideas for Last-Minute Christmas Shopping

Christmas time is surely wonderful anywhere in the world, with invitingly decorated shops to entice people in from the cold and magically lit-streets to celebrate the best season of all, however, we sometimes forget the stress that also comes with this period of the year.  It is sometimes hard knowing what to give as a present to our relatives and friends, but fear not – as it is always worth trying a local market to avoid late minute, frantic shopping.


A special fair has come to town at Santa Croce this month until Thursday, December 21. Visitors can celebrate the holiday season in true authentic German style. The market is special because it not only sells German products, but also provides the opportunity of buying local English products such as teas and china.


Although the Christmas season is loved by all and is many people’s favourite, we can’t help but wish to be snuggled up inside, away from the cold.  To satisfy such needs, the German market offers traditional mulled wine to keep curious passers-by warm.

Usually walking down the cold and icy streets in search for the usual Italian cioccolata calda (pure hot chocolate) or other alternative, this market provides the perfect excuse to stop by.

The mulled wine can even be mixed with an additional shot of amaretto or rum available at the German Bar stall.  For little ones or those who prefer something a bit sweeter can purchase ‘cider punch,’ a hot apple drink. It is also possible to add a shot into this drink for an added kick.

In true and authentic style, the market exhibits a grand section comprising German meats, with sausages to cured meats, cooked ham with additions of deer prosciutto, duck breast and Karreespeck (bacon typical of Austrian Tyrol, cold-smoked over beechwood).

While it is possible to buy many German foods nowadays at local supermarkets, the German display provides fresh, high quality produce brought directly from the area.


Metal figurines are on display, which are all made from recycled material. The stall offers a range of different types, from those centred on sports; a man playing golf, fishing or cycling to those based on the arts; a painter or drummer, the kind of figurines are endless. Prices range from €30-€35, however, it makes for an ideal and intriguing present.

Many stalls offer hand knitted gloves, shoes, hats and scarfs—even for the little ones. Cute animal design slippers, bags and hats steal the limelight with their super-soft texture promising to keep you warm during the winter season.

Other areas offer hand-made baubles with a pretty Christmas pattern. The seller is able to create the artisan product right in front of the visitor, while still constantly working on a new Christmas ball while visitors walk by.  Personalise your Christmas tree this year with a bauble decorated with your family members’ names.


There is no doubt that Italians create tasty, creamy and soft cheeses, like mozzarellaricotta and stracchino, however there is nothing quite like a good cheddar cheese. Strong, mature and crumbly, that’s how the English like it!

Waiting is the cheese stall, offering plenty of tasters to tease hungry tummies, with the selection of flavoured cheeses; whisky and ginger, Irish whisky, garlic and herbs or the original vintage cheddar. Also available is Double Gloucester, another well-known English favourite.

Herbal and original label teas are also on sale from major English brands. Fruity teas, English Breakfast and Earl Grey can be savoured alongside the rich Scottie dog shortbread biscuit.  Tempting lemon and other flavoured curds and jams provide a sweet and tart taste.

Fine china can be admired right upon entering the market, with flower-themed mugs, plates, spoon rests, bowls, teapots and anything kitchen wise! The summery pattern is contrasted with the of course other Christmas-themed patterned crockery. Mugs and teapots are also available decorated with the British flag for those who truly want to take home a piece representative of the U.K..

This month taste the flavours of abroad at the German Market, keep warm with an inviting glass of mulled wine and spread the Christmas joy. (karen gee)


The Emergency Group of Florence is having its Christmas fair in from December 5-24 (10 am – 4 pm) on via de’ Ginori 14, and is more determined than ever to present an interesting fair dedicated to helping victims of poverty and conflict.

Working to create an interactive, creative, and engaging atmosphere, the organization is committed to providing many products perfect for Christmas gifts. Purchases at the market go towards the support of the Emergency group and furthering its initiative to nurture a culture of peace.

At the festival, shoppers thinking about volunteering can learn ways to help. From discovering how to make a continuous donation or becoming a volunteer, the answers and perfect Christmas gifts are found at the fair.