Fleahopper and her sidekick Rambler were busy this Christmas season hitting up as many small resale shops as we could while spending Christmas with family and friends in Bavaria. We didn’t go to a single famous German Christmas market this time, but instead, spent time searching for new resale shops to hit up!
Well, we did walk through one Christmas Market before it was open on our way to a resale shop! We were on a different mission this day.
That small charity shop just past the Weihnachtsmarkt in Kempten is nestled in a side road weaving into the city center. Over the past couple of years it has become popular and expanded into a neighboring store front, doubling the fun of thrifting there. In the front half of the shop you will find seasonal items; decorations, clothing, books, cookware, etc. Toward the back is glassware, pottery, every day kitchen goods, porcelain and a “smalls” glass cabinet full of very inexpensively priced jewelry. Turn right and you’re into the annexed area stocked full of clothing and shoes.
At this shop I picked a stunning vintage plastic cuff bracelet from the corner glass cabinet. Don’t you just love the colors!
It cost me a whopping one euro (approximately $1.35 USD). I also snagged an advent garland made of felt cones for one euro. I’m hanging onto that until next Christmas season when I will have a huge vintage “German Christmas” category in my eBay store.
The following day my daughter had to go grocery shopping so while she was in Aldi I popped into the St. Mang Resale Shop across the street. It is found in a village bordering the larger city of Kempten in the Allgaeu region of Bavaria. We visited this shop during my visit in August 2017 where I found great vintage Christmas items to flip, even in the middle of the summer
Since my visit to this store this time was only a week before Christmas I was hopeful for more of the same. WOW, did I hit the jackpot! There was an entire wall dedicated to Christmas items. I was on the hunt for more vintage wax tree toppers similar to what I had purchased there previously. I didn’t find any more of those but oh, so many more items. I filled two large shopping bags! Christmas themed music boxes, nutcrackers, smokers and vintage glass ornaments.
We actually made a second trip back to this store just prior to my return to the states at the end of my trip. I wanted to check one last time in the hopes that donations had come in since my previous visit. Not much new but I did pick up a couple more Erzgebirge style wooden Christmas decorations. They sell well for me.
We then took a few days off from thrifting to enjoy Christmas with family and friends. We ate, we drank and we reveled in the wonder of Christmas morning through the eyes of my daughter’s nine year old twin boys. There’s just something so magical about that!
After Christmas, local German friends who are also fellow resale shopping lovers offered to accompany me on a trip to Munich to wander through resale shops in the “big” city. We googled store names and addresses and set out early in the morning for the two hour train ride into the city.
I was extremely thankful for their familiarity with the city and public transportation system of trains and subways and their artful guidance using google maps, to walk around and find the shops. It was a cold and blustery wet day but we were on a mission. We did a bit of walking until we finally found a shop open during the “down” season between Christmas and New Years.
This first stop was a bit of a disappointment as it turned out to be only clothing. I did pick up a pair of vintage purple Pierre Cardin pantyhose tights though! They were marked 2.99 euros. We were able to convince the cashier that they should be included in the 50% off sale for any costume related items. Wouldn’t you call purple pantyhose part of a costume? I got them for 1.45 euros (about $1.99 USD). The funniest part was that I only had a twenty euro bill and they didn’t have change. My friends paid, so my price was free!
Back to the S-bahn (subway) and we made our way into the touristy pedestrian area of Munich (the Marienplatz). We briefly browse through TK-MAXX without purchasing anything before we decided it was time for lunch. Nothing like some hearty traditional Germany fare and beer to fuel you before you step back out into the cold, rainy, snowy day!
Next stop was a chain charity resale shop called Oxfam. This small shop was a blast! It was crowded with shoppers itching for a thrifting fix after Christmas. It was stocked with good to better goods typical in most resale shops but they offered one other service that I really enjoyed. There was a cart near the entrance with a variety of items on its shelves. Shortly after our arrival the owner ran an in-store auction style sale of the items on the cart. She started them quite low to ensure a sale. The pace was brisk and the crowd was active. All items (mostly glass) went quickly and then she walked around the shop to restock her cart. There’s one way to move stale merchandise! Everyone was happy – that was my favorite part.
Back out into the wintry weather to walk a short two blocks back to our closest U-bahn station. Two stops and we exited at the Poccistrasse station. A short half block walk and we were on Lindwurmstrasse where we found a gem! Bric-A-Brac. The four of us looked like a Christmas post card of children with our cold noses pressed to the windows dreaming of owning the goods in this packed store. Bummer – it was closed! We could see a shopkeeper sitting at the counter doing paper work but even our gloved taps on the window and pathetically frigid smiles wouldn’t budge her to open the store and allow us to browse. She simply shook her head, no, without lifting it from her work!
In spite of that – I will be back! I looked to be an amazing “picker’s delight!” Stacks and stacks of true vintage, antiques and well, bric-a-brac! See you soon Bric-A Brac!
And our last stop before heading back to the train station and the warmth of the train cabins for our return ride home was a vintage lovers dream store, PICKnWEIGHT Kilo Store. Just as it’s name suggests all purchases are priced by weight. Items have a different weight price determined by their value. This place is packed with mostly vintage clothing, shoes and textiles. A huge variety of mostly good quality items. I didn’t find anything that I couldn’t live without but I’m glad we took the time to check this place out. Another fun twist on thrift or resale store shopping experience.
We were cold and tired from our day of walking the city but it was a fun time. There are so many more shops that we didn’t get to. Plenty more for next time. If you are ever in Munich be sure to add a day of thrifting to your agenda. It is very walkable city with a unique resale shop flavor. No rental car or Uber required, or probably even allowed!
My most fun thrifting experience of this trip occurred shortly before I left to come home. We had called a resale shop in Kempten called Fairkauf Allgaeu, to see if they were open between the holidays. We got an answering machine. They were not. Within seconds we got a return call from the shop owner who called us back using caller ID. My friend told him that we wanted to stop in and shop and that there was a lady from the US who was leaving to go home and she really wanted to see the store. He offered to open the shop up to us for a private shopping experience while he worked on his books. We jumped at the opportunity!
We high-tailed it over there the next day.
My only disappointment was that all of the Christmas decorations that I was hoping to find were already packed away. In spite of this I did pick up a very unique wooden Samourai smoker (15 euro) and also a vintage Christmas angel music box, that had escaped his eye when storing the items away, tucked in a glass cabinet (25 euro). I placed them on the counter for safe keeping until I was done shopping.
I’m not quite sure whether or not it was because he saw that I was buying items of a bit more value or not, but he soon offered to bring out the boxes of Christmas items that he had just packed away! I was most gracious – and thrilled!
I spent the next hour sifting through newspaper wrapped Christmas items and totally filled his counter with my finds. What do you think? Music box, smokers, nutcrackers, nativity figures, vintage cardboard angels and more! By the time I was done my purchases totaled ninety-four euros. He offered to let me have it all for eighty euros! Then I found a couple of miniature harmonicas for ten euros each that rounded me up to an even hundred euros. My daughter spent ten euros, my friend spent fifteen. One hundred and twenty-five euros in sales. Not bad for a day that he was not even open. Happy shopper – happy shop owner. He tantalized me with a mention of the stacks of boxes of new (used) merchandise that he still has to put on the floor! I am hitting that shop up early on my next visit!
As you can see, this wasn’t the typical idyllic Christmas in Germany that you see on Christmas and post cards. It’s Christmas in Germany my way! A fun holiday with my daughter and her family, great friends and great finds. A perfect Bavarian Christmas. Frohe Weihnachten.
See you all next year!
Vibert GaileJanuary 12, 2018 at 7:48 pm
Loved reading about your trip!