Taste of Prague's Czech Christmas Gift Guide

Yes, Christmas is coming in three days or so, and if you are like us, you have just started freaking out when you realized you have no Christmas presents for your loved ones. And your in Prague and you have no idea what to buy as the perfect Prague Christmas present. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. 

We have put together a small Czech Christmas Presents Guide for your convenience and pleasure. We asked ourselves a simple question: „What should you buy as the perfect Christmas present from Prague?“ It took us some time, but here’s our answers. You will see we’re quite a diverse bunch. Or are we? 

Collective Taste of Prague tip

Our very own Prague Foodie Map. Duh. Coming to our favorite coffee shop near you, probably on Thursday 22 December. (Let's not jinx it: the glue on the guides is still wet as we write this.) 

Karolina’s Christmas picks

Koh-i-noor pencils

If you want to bring home something genuine and purely Czech, avoid all the touristy souvenir shops around old town and basically everything that proclaims in massive letters to be „TRADITIONALLY CZECH“. The truth is you can very well buy a piece of craft “made in China”. My first recommendation would be to visit one of the Koh-i-noor shops. This amazing company was established in 1790. Now that’s what I call traditional! Founded in Vienna during the Austro-Hungarian era, this world-class stationary and art supply company has moved to Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic in 1848 and has been producing all its high quality products here ever since.

You will find everything here from pencils to oil paints in a wide variety of sets and colour schemes. I love to buy presents for my friends, but mostly for myself: I studied graphic design at high school and at that time computers were in their infancy, so it was mostly about drawing and painting then. Although I have never pursued this career, I still have a weak spot for the doodle.

 Koh-i-noor pencils

Whether you are looking to buy for children or adults, you will love what you will find in Koh-i-noor. BTW, did you know that the no 2 pencil was invented here in 1890?

Vinyl records

Since we press the most vinyls in the world, why not take one or many home, right? :) 

Whatever music you fancy, vinyls are such a cool retro thing in the digital era. Just like nothing beats a book, records will be records. There are a few places around Prague that carry a great vinyl collection.

In the heart of city centre, you can visit Happy Feet. But why not get out of the beaten path and explore the Vinohrady district? That’s where the Radost shop is located. Also worth visiting is the Garage store in the Letna district.

Czech toys

If you are looking for presents for the little ones and you want something out of the ordinary, check out Hugo chodí bos. I absolutely love this shop. Not only because I am a child at heart, but also because they carry the retro Czech toys that I used to play with when I was little. This purely Czech toy shop will charm for sure.

And a souvenir bonus

And lastly, for some little bits and bobs of truly Czech souvenirs, visit Pragtique. The only souvenir shop in Prague that offers hand-crafted collection of pieces designed by leading Czech contemporary artists.

Zuzi’s Christmas picks

Vases by Dechem

It is no secret that Bohemia has always made great things our of glass. And the vases by the designed couple behind the Dechem studio will make anyone happy. I totally judge by myself here, because they would definitely make me happy. I hope Jan is reading this, btw. Wink wink. In any case, the Dechem couple are my favourite couple in the Czech designer world: they make some great stuff and they are quite fetching, actually. To buy your own piece of this beauty, head over to Debut Gallery or the Cihelna Concept Store.

Wooden toys by Alois Dolezal in Kurator

The Kurator shop is one of my favourite places in Prague: it is a tiny place with a big heart that brings a lot of joy whenever I visit. I honestly think this is a great place when you’ve already done with the bigger presents and want to buy something smaller on top of that. And these beautiful wooden toys are the perfect gift for just about anyone, adult or a kid.  

Bonus: The Minka ceramic broches and pendants shaped like little animals are my close second favourite in the shop.

Source: kurator.cz

Trip to the Entree restaurant in Olomouc

I love to travel, and I love daily trips out of Prague, and if they can be done by train, even better: I love travelling by train. A simple two-hour ride on a fast train will get you to Olomouc, a beautiful university town in Moravia, and the seat of Entree, one of the best restaurants in the Czech Republic right now. This is forward-thinking Czech cuisine at its best, and the fact that the kitchen is run by a cute young chef doesn’t hurt, either. I honestly wish this place was in Prague. Scrap that. That would mean I wouldn’t be able to get there by train. Never-mind.

Bonus tip: Anything at Ingredients

Sure, this tip is not entirely, or even partly, Czech, but I am still able and willing to spend any money Jan brings home in Ingredients. This shop that sells designer, hard-to-get perfumes smells beautiful, and has now started to issue loyalty cards where you get a percentage of your spending back as store credit. Hey, you gotta work hard to get that discount, but I will try my best. If you insist on something Czech, try some of their lip balms. Nice, cute and small? Perfect for Christmas.

 Ingredients Prague

Anna’s Christmas picks

Petrified Wood

Is it a piece of wood, or is it a stone? Well, it’s both. And you know what? This will not only remind you of the Czech Republic, but also of our food tour. And you have to join us to figure our why... :) Where do you buy petrified wood or other minerals and precious stones, do I hear you ask? In the Vinohrady district. Just look for the 4C Minerals store. 

A Pimperle Marrionette

We have a history of Marionettes in Czech and so you cant go wrong with buying one of those. I would go and explore Nerudova street for that one. I am pretty sure there is one or two nice shops for that. :)

Set of shot glasses by Moser

Well, yeah, I know, it sounds like a cliché, but Bohemian glass is still a big deal. We actually have these at home (Well, you are never ever supposed to use them, unless the Queen of England comes for a drink, like she tends to), but they are pretty cool.

Source: moser-glass.com

Martin’s Christmas picks

I'm a fan of Czech products and I'm proud of what the Czech Republic and its people have accomplished. So here are my tips for presents from Prague. 

Playbag 

A little shop in the Zizkov district that sells handmade backpacks. They use only high quality materials and the design is very cool. Can't get them anywhere else. 

Botas 66

My favorite retro sneakers. I call them „Communist sneakers“. They have been produced since the 50s, and now they are seeing a "hipster" revival. There are two shops in Prague where you can get an endless array of sneakers in all the colors of the rainbow. A must for a Czech - or any foreign - hipster. ;) 

 Botas 66 Prague

DVD of Czech cartoons

(Think "Krtek" or "Pat a Mat") Why not buy a DVD of Czech cartoons that every kid in this country used to watch before bed time? We have a rich history and tradition in animated films, and this is just a unique gift produced in this country. 

Bonus tip: Anyting at Vnitroblock

I love the concept of this store. Things by Czech designers, handmade and crafted in the Czech Republic. They have beautiful coffee and other delicious stuff. They host exhibitions, art and concerts. A good place where you can stay the whole day. 

And the nearby Holesovice market is where you can grab some of the best Vietnamese food at Trang An. And you can shop for some fake stuff at the market. I call it little New York City in the middle of Prague. (Think Canal street.) 

Jan’s Christmas picks

"Straka v hrsti" on vinyl

CDs are easy to pack (does anyone listens to them anymore?) and the music from the country you’re visiting is always a great gift in my book. And this record is close to my heart: Straka v hrsti by Prazsky vyber is a cult recording of the 80s, the decade of my childhood. You’d have to listen to the standard cookie-cutter pop of the Communist 80s to appreciate how avant-garde and free-thinking this album was for it’s time. Just calling your band “Prague’s Finest” (the name of a really bad wine at the time) in an egalitarian society is chutzpah enough, and it does not help when the lyrics kinda make fun out of the out-of-towners (sadly, all the jokes will be lost on anyone who does not speak Czech). And the music? A bit of everything: new age, punk, disco, rock and electric jazz. Recorded in 1982, the album was a bootleg until its official 1988 release due to the ban placed on the band in the meantime. Better yet, have it on vinyl. The Czech Republic presses more vinyl records today and all the other countries in the world combined, so it’s a good idea to buy this, and a few other, LPs here. (Runner up: Dvorak’s New World Symphony recorded by the Czech Philharmonic. No other orchestra plays Dvorak as well as the Czechs.)

Pinot Noir by Travnicek - Korinek

Who said Santa was a tea-totaller? Impress with a bottle of wine no-one’s ever heard of. Sure, Czech wines are below the radar for many, but that only adds to the appeal. If we were to buy one bottle from the Czech Republic, it would be the APRI Pinot Noir by Mr Travnicek and Korinek. James Laube has recently written an editorial for The Wine Spectator praising them as a promise of great things to come from the Moravian wine country. Yup, giving Moravian wines way before they become cool? How cool is that? (Head over to the Bokovka wine bar to get your bottle.)

 Pinot Noir by Korinek

Need something stronger? Not a problem. I always joke that Zuzi’s grandpa used to start every day with a shot of Slivovitz (true)… and he lived to see forty. (True, too, but he actually lived longer than that.) Anyway, for the best Slivovitz money can buy, get a bottle of oaked Slivovitz plum brandy by Zufanek. Insane stuff, as Per, our friend from Berlin, said on his last visit. Head over to the Bartida shop to get it. (This may sound weird, but it’s at Havelska 25, in the alley right behind Hooters.)

Glasses by Srdcervaci

Czech crystal has always had a great reputation but we’re not particularly fond of the old-school cut glass sold in the overpriced stores in the centre. Why not something modern for a change? I like the simple water glasses by BOA Design sold by Srdcervaci, a non-profit. All the proceeds go to the organisation that stands up for people with disabilities in the hiring process. The name of the organisation, etched to the glass in Braille, provides great grip and adds nice contrast to the otherwise simple glass. Give a gift that keeps on giving and has a great story behind it. 

Bonus: Lunch for “plus one”

It’s Christmas. Just go to the Lokal pub and buy one lunch for “plus one”. For mere CZK 90, you buy a lunch for a homeless person. How it works is that you simply pay CZK 90, you get a receipt, and then a homeless person can claim a free lunch later in the pub. What better time to support this awesome project than Christmas? Exactly.