Christmas for All: Käthe Wohlfahrt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The Germans are serious about celebrating Christmas. Anyone who needs convincing about this need only take a trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. That’s where the “Käthe Wohlfahrt“ flagship store and corporate headquarters are located; the prototype for the kind of year-round Christmas store that now exists all over the world.
This temple of Christmas spirit is hard to miss. In a prime location, the store is right next to the historic town hall and the enchanting market square. But “Käthe Wohlfahrt“ goes beyond the usual concept of a store. This is a Christmas village which even includes a Christmas museum on the building‘s second floor, showcasing the origins and development of yuletide customs. Although the place is hard to miss, a festively decorated vintage delivery van is parked directly in front of the store, drawing additional attention – just to be sure. The roof-rack of this historic vehicle is covered in brightly wrapped Christmas gifts.
Visitors entering the building will quickly discover a catacomb-like network of rooms, spreading out behind the walls. Each space is dedicated to the different facet of Christmas – and there are more of them than you would think possible. How about a special section for handmade nutcrackers, for example? Most are decorated as stylized Christmas characters. Some have long beards, others short. Some are adorned with extravagant hats and headdresses while others are perched on a rocking horse. But most of these classic Christmas decorations come from the Erzgebirge region – and carry the hefty price tag that befits high-quality, handmade products.
Curious Christmas decoration
The specialist departments for miniature wooden carousels, snow globes and snowmen are just as varied in their selection of goods. And the range on offer is by no means limited to classic interpretations of seasonal decoration. There are nativity scene-like installations formed within old-fashioned television sets, for example. A curious but entertaining form of a classic German Christmas tradition. The same is true of the Cuckoo Clock Cabinet, another prominent part of the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village. As it is for the Angel Gallery, featuring an incredible spectrum of festive cherubs.
Yet the overall effect and atmosphere would not be the same if the appropriate music was missing. As such, festive Christmas carols are played at Käthe Wohlfahrt throughout the year. And wherever space permits, there are large Christmas trees throughout the store, tastefully illuminated and lavishly decorated with ornaments. So that no-one can miss even the smallest detail, the Christmas trees rotate around their own axis.
Only the Grinch could find this place anything other than enjoyable. The journey through this winter wonderland ends – unsurprisingly – in the souvenir store. Here, customers can purchase the obligatory coffee mugs and T-shirts. The end of a perfect illusion that could hardly be more Christmassy.
In the middle of summer, there is one unique and unusual sensation that „Käthe Wohlfahrt“ holds in store for visitors; the wonderful feeling of emerging back into the daylight, to find that it is 30 degrees and sunny – and that there are still many months, and many more shopping days to go until Christmas.
Käthe Wohlfahrt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber Open daily Herrngasse 1 91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber 0800/40 901 50