It’s hard to believe that this is our second Christmas season here in Warsaw.
Time really does fly by!
This week, I finally put up some Christmas decorations, our tiny, plastic tree and the items we bought from our recent trip to Germany. At least, our apartment looks a little festive now.
Since the Poles celebrate Christmas, it’s very easy to find decorations, particularly handmade ones.
One of the most popular Polish decorations is made from gingerbread (pierniki). You’ll find gingerbread hearts, snowmen, angels, trees, trains, snowflakes and more at the slightly-hidden Tebe shop located along busy Aleja Jerozolimskie. You can even buy edible gingerbread spoons that you can dip into your morning cup of coffee or tea.
Whenever I’ve popped into Tebe, the couple who run the shop are quite friendly and help me find the ornament I want. They use only natural ingredients to make the pierniki dough, which is baked and then decorated with dozens of different types of seeds, dried flowers and fruits. For example, red lentils outline the stars and poppyseeds make up the snowmen’s hat.
While you’re at Tebe, it’s also worth taking the time to visit the famous Fotoplastikon, which is located in the same old courtyard.
Another popular item that most Americans will recognize are colorful, blown-glass ornaments, known as bombki. Following WWII, bombki appeared on the market again and became a major export for Poland. In the U.S., you’ll find these traditional ornaments at large department stores such as Dillards and Macy’s, but they will cost you about 5 times or more than what I’ve paid here in Poland.
I bought my bombki from Bombkarnia, across the street from the Palace of Culture, which is open year-round and also sells pretty Easter egg ornaments in the spring.
Thirdly, I couldn’t resist buying several handmade, crocheted snowflakes at Cepelia’s Centrum location. My grandmother often used to knit and crochet so these Old World items remind me of her and would make lovely Christmas presents too.
Cepelia is a national foundation under the Minister of Culture and Art that promotes Polish folk and artistic handicrafts. Most ornaments are reasonably priced between 10-20 pln (about $3-$6.)
Lastly, you’ll find the ever popular Polish pottery being used in all kinds of Christmas décor from serving plates to cake stands as well as Christmas ornaments and candle holders. I love visiting Anna at Anka Pottery in Mokotow, and I must remember to stop by there soon to buy some presents. However, I can also recommend buying pottery from the Cepelia stores and Bolesławiec Pottery, which is near the Rondo Onz tram stop.
Now is the perfect time to stock up on some festive goodies like the Polish Christmas ornaments I mentioned here.
And years from now, I’ll take out my pierniki and bombki to decorate my Christmas tree and remember that time I lived in Poland.
|Our tiny decorated tree - 2014 in Warsaw.|
Locations in Warsaw:
Emilii Plater 47
ul. Marszałkowska 99/101, ul. Chmielna 8 and Old Town
ul. Prosta 2/14
ul. Modzelewskiego 79