Polish Christmas gift ideas

Apologies for the misleading title since there aren’t any real ideas in this post at all. It’s a shallow and transparent attempt to draw in innocent readers and subject them to my feeble rantings on the subject of Christmas shopping. Also I read “100 top post ideas for your blog” and this was near the top.

For the Polish woman in your life

One of the leading arguments against the existence of a benevolent god is the fact that women like nice clothes and bags while the two things men are incapable of buying are nice clothes and bags. It’s not just that we are fundamentally bad at identifying nice clothes and bags it’s the fact that we would have to poke around in women’s clothing stores for long periods of time in order to do so, a prospect that fills most men with the kind of horror experienced by claustrophobics at matchbox conventions. They also like leather boots but I think we can all see the dangers and difficulties associated with hanging out in the ladies boot section of your local shoe shop.


It’s definitely a bag, but as to its fitness as a gift I confess myself clueless

One of the leading arguments for the existence of a benevolent, if slightly warped, god is jewelry. An entire global industry has been developed to create objects that are almost guaranteed to get a good reception. Women can then put these objects in a drawer until they have the right clothes and bag to go with them.

For the Folks back home

Families back in the UK or the States or whichever non-Polish benighted hell hole you happen to come from tend to assume they will receive exotic and interesting Polish gifts from you. Once you’ve brought that Polish crockery with the blue dots on it, a pair of fleecy mountain slippers for the entire family, and one or two bits of amber, however, you’ve pretty much exhausted the well of Polish exoticness. After that it’s vodka and increasingly obscure Polish films on DVD until you just give up entirely and start doing your Christmas shopping at the airport.

polish pottery

This stuff. We’ve all been guilty.

Poland now has the wealth of consumer goods it always dreamed of, but the choice is frustratingly one dimensional. Look in any shopping center and you’ll see 900 shops selling essentially the same clothes, electronics, DVDs, Swedish furniture, and day-to-day fripperies. Almost none of it is Polish made or has any kind of Polish character. I challenge you to name one Polish brand that produces something unique (apart from food, because that’s tricky to wrap).

jew with the stick

Polish ‘folk art’. There are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to start.

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36 thoughts on “Polish Christmas gift ideas

  1. boattown_guest says:

    http://www.winka.net/image/etykiety/dzban-lesny-244.jpg and beer
    And don’t forget about our Fiat 126p. It was unique.
    You can always give them a bottle of this special water that heals people. You can find in in Licheń or in Czestochowa. Use your imagination (and cleverness)

  2. Malcolm says:

    That’s funny, because I actually bought a handbag for Christmas. I spent a total of five minutes in the shop (including 3 minutes making sure I could bring it back if there was a problem, and 4 minutes trying to get the attention of the shop assistant)

    I was assured by the female members of my workplace (who upon seeing a plastic white bag with writing on it seem to descend upon the bearer with strange glee saying ‘pokasz mi!’) that it was a good choice and that my wife will definitely love it.

    Only 10 more days now to find out whether or not my foray was successful or not…

  3. ania says:

    I still think buying presents for women is MUCH easier then buying presents for men.

    We like so many things: bags, clothes, shoes, jewelary, scarfs, make – up staff etc… etc…

    And guys??? Some Computer games or a hammer…

  4. island1 says:

    mmmmm… hammers

  5. Pioro-Boncza says:

    mmmm…computer games where you get to use 800 different hammers all upgradeable depending on which level you are….mmmmmm

  6. island1 says:

    We bow to your staggering braveness. Surely there are medals for that kind of thing

  7. ania says:

    Looks like I’ve just found a present for my husband! ;)

  8. Scatts says:

    Come on you Irons!

    (10 bonus points to anyone who can work that one out)

  9. island1 says:

    What is ‘dzeban lesny’?

    I’m fairly sure they made lots of Fiat 126s in Italy, and probably other places, too. Also hard to wrap.

    Holy water? Hmmmm…

  10. Great ideas! Thank You

  11. spinnaker says:

    What’s wrong with Hasidic Jew figure!? It looks like a typical folk art to me. It represents culture which originates in Poland.

  12. Bartek says:

    Island, I hope you didn’t buy the spring green handbag to your wife. I was all the rage last Christmas, this year this colour is passe…

    Of course you can hand it to her and run a risk of spending Christmas on the staircase, or knocking on the door of your cranky neighbours.

    That bowl somehow reminds of the pyjamas I got for Christams three years ago. Thank God I don’t have to put it on, when I go out so it won’t be passed on to another person (not unwrapping unwanted presents and handing the over to someone else is quite popular “secular tradition” in my family).

    And that gimcrack Jew – a good gift for an anti-semite. Not rare species in Poland.

    There are plenty of gift that can be given to men just to hack them off. The good examples are:
    – long johns, as many men do not want to wear them, as this piece of clothing is considered unmannish and men who put it on – wimps
    – a toolbox – for all men, who are not really good at do-it-yourself
    – a kettle – if your husband or boyfriend had burnt the previous one, you can tack on a “how to boil a water for coffee and brew tea” booklet
    – a razor – with a user’s guide “how not to cut yourself a hundred times when shaving”
    – a set of seals – if your tap has been leaking for the past decade and your husband always promises to mend the next day
    – and for dessert those common mischievous gifts like: a pair of socks for dim-witted fellows, marked “left” and “right”, or the immortal tie with Santa Claus, ideal for business meeting in June.

    This year’s hit is a foolproof sudoku book.

  13. island1 says:

    Oh, the bitter irony.

  14. Ian says:

    That’s it, I am officially a wimp as I wear long johns (well they are called base layer leggings as they are mountain stuff but are the same thing).

    I learnt this after a New Years Eve in Berlin where it was -15 and I only had jeans on.

    After 8 hours outside I could no longer bend my legs past about 15 degrees angle.

    As I am in Krakow for this New Year and am outside for some of it I would rather be a wimp and mobile rather than walking like the wooden man and of course they give me the same sexual magnetism as Mr Stay Puft in Ghostbusters….

  15. Bartek says:

    Ian, the ‘long johns’ passage was meant to be a satire for those “tough guys” who pretend they don’t need them, but shudder and then end up like you did in Berlin.

    In Poland this reluctance stems from traumatic school-time experiences, when those wearing the useful piece of underwear were laughed at, by the fellow boys. Meanwhile I was called an idiot by a few females, including my girlfriend, for sake of not wearing them. Maybe they are more far-sighted and mindful of future implications?

    Anyway, when the temperature drops below minus fifteen and I have to stay longer outside I also wimp out ;)

  16. tee says:

    Hmmm… guess what letter ‘p’, as in 126p stands for :D

  17. tee says:

    Oh? Want something Polish, modern and unusual?


    For example :)

  18. tee says:

    “And that gimcrack Jew – a good gift for an anti-semite. Not rare species in Poland.”

    What do you mean by that? This figure doesn’t depict Jews as monsters or ugly, little underpeople – which is probably what anti-semite would want, I guess. I’m not saying that this is a good gift, but what’s wrong with a figurine of an orthodox Jew?

  19. Bartek says:

    that figure would just make an anti-semite angry, that’s all

  20. fashion diva says:

    These will be the newest rage! Get one for your favorite lady, Polish or not!


  21. Karaeska says:

    In Poland the most original handwork you can buy in mountains and cities near them, for example — Zakopane, Szczawnica. Although, maybe there isn’t that much originals, but it depends how you do search ;)

  22. Karaeska says:

    Hey, I do not agree with you. It’s easy to choose — Modern Warfare 2 or sth. And for woman? You NEVER know, if she has something you want to buy her or not, if she will be glad, etc…

  23. boattown_guest says:

    It’s difficult to say what Dzban Lesny is. Describing it as cheap wine wouldn’t be fair. But I still think it’s a good (and cheap) gift:)
    Yes, holy water:)

  24. island1 says:

    Something modern Polish and unusual. Interesting. I don’t like it much, but good to see something new.

  25. island1 says:

    The Chodzież one is interesting. That has to be one of very few old Polish brands that have survived. Quite remarkable.

  26. Ian says:

    Bartek, thanks for the comment.

    If I had been able to find out the temperature in Berlin (pre Internet days) I would have been wearing them there as well!!!!

    When it comes to temperature I have always happier running around in 40 degrees rather than -10!

    Anyway, took one look at Florianska gate on the web this morning and went and bought warmer hat, scarf and gloves!

  27. tee says:

    XD Well, I’d give it to him then, so he/she could practice tollerance.

  28. news says:

    My brother has been a fan since McAvennie joined.

  29. adthelad says:

    My favourite Polish product with consistent quality outstripping that of the competition is one that all men will appreciate. I know it’s not an old product and that it now belongs to gillette (so quality may drop) but I’ve always found Polsilver throwaway razors to be the dog’s bo****ks.

  30. What’s wrong with the Jew, Island?

  31. TiS says:

    I may add quality products like Vistula/Wólczanka (shirts, suits etc) and http://www.wittchen.com/. Especially the last one is worth mentioning, though rather expensive.

    I think we also have some nice furniture companies. Example is Black Red White, I think it’s popularity in Poland matches Ikea.

    But, it’s true that many companies went bankrupt. It’s hard, especially if you’re looking for ‘gifts’ (you rarely will buy a kitchen table as a gift, for example).

  32. TiS says:

    Ah, right. I forgot about self-promotion :P (Or rather my wife promotion)


  33. Tomi says:

    For me the best gifts are:
    Serwis obiadowy

  34. I am allready looking for the right christmas present for my girlfriend this year. It isn’t really easy, as she has enough money to buy her the things she wants. So it really needs to be something special and original. Still searching. Any other good ideas?

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