A German *Thing* is Desired
November 28, 2011 4:53 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me think of a neat way to give money to my sister to use toward a trip to Germany? A German-themed presentation for giving her money for Christmas?

My sister is going to Germany for 3 weeks over the summer as a host to exchange students in high school. I've asked her a couple times what she wants for Christmas, and she has told me both times, "I want to go to Germany." Most expenses are covered, but she will need money for sightseeing, shopping, and restaurants.

How can I present some spending money to her in a thoughtful way that represents Germany for Christmas?

** Bonus Economics Question: If Germany decides not to use the Euro, is this likely to take place before the summer? I could present her some spending money in Euros.

About her: She is 30 and is married. She likes gardening, reading, and Spanish. She wouldn't be opposed to a nice German treat, like chocolates or gingerbread.

I can order stuff online, and I live in Richmond, VA.

Thanks for your help!
posted by shortyJBot to Shopping (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
> Bonus Economics Question: If Germany decides not to use the Euro, is this likely to take place before the summer? I

Not at all likely. Germany is the backbone of the Eurozone.

As for a gift, maybe get a map of Berlin and stuff cash in that.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:02 PM on November 28, 2011

How about making one of those diy book safes out of a hardcover (used) German book -- maybe a dictionary or book of Grimm fairy tales or travel book. A local used bookstore must have something to fit the bill! Then stick a card with your check inside.
posted by imalaowai at 5:06 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Get several brochures of attractions in the areas she will be staying, then in each of the brochures tuck in a portion of the money.

Another idea is to get a beautiful photo album and put the money in an ornate envelope and tape it to the inside cover.

Or something retro like a can of peanut brittle and instead of snakes jumping out have the money pop out ;).

You should post a follow up to what you do and her reaction! Happy Holidays.
posted by gypseefire at 5:58 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

Lately, i've been on a quest for perfect Black Forest Cuckoo Clock. How about stashing a wad of cash or check to somewhere in this awesome 3-D Cuckoo Clock Card!

that last part should be read in an Oprah-presenting-A-NEW-CAR voice
posted by Kronur at 6:08 PM on November 28, 2011

You could get one of those cool German beer steins with the flip-top lids. It would make a perfect hiding place for the money inside.
posted by erstwhile at 6:54 PM on November 28, 2011

I won't threadsit, but you guys are giving me awesome ideas! I'm now thinking of making the most Germany-German presentation of a beer stein with a cuckoo-clock decorated gingerbread cookie, maps of Berlin, and Euros tucked inside. What else could go in there? Thanks, guys, and I will definitely post what I decide on and her reaction!
posted by shortyJBot at 7:01 PM on November 28, 2011

Definately get the cash changed over into Euros! You could get a bear with leiderhosen and stick the cash in the bears pockets.
posted by katypickle at 7:14 PM on November 28, 2011

Bake a German chocolate cake with an envelope of cash in the middle! Or ditto, gingerbread!
posted by kamikazegopher at 7:15 PM on November 28, 2011

posted by Abbril at 7:16 PM on November 28, 2011

Will you actually be seeing her to present it to her? My brother used to always come up with some kind of unique "scavenger hunt" type thing that would drag out throughout the giftgiving until the final clue led to the present, usually something just like what you are considering. So much fun!!! (the clues were usually items from an old board game we played as kids, like Clue, or Scrabble, or Monopoly, etc. and they would send me all over the house/yard to find the next clue....) I can't even begin to tell you how elaborate this "hunt" would become, more so, year after year. Ahhh, such great memories!
posted by ourroute at 7:19 PM on November 28, 2011

Bake a tin full of springerle cookies and sneak the money in at the bottom, maybe in an envelope with a postcard of Schloss Neuschwanstein also inside.
posted by devymetal at 7:21 PM on November 28, 2011

Cash in Euros tucked into a German-English dictionary or tour book?

Also, I always recommend a day or three-day ticket on a hop-on-hop-off tour bus. It's a dorky way to get around, but also insanely convenient for efficient sightseeing because it's basically dedicated public transit to all the places you'd like to see. They just do a circuit around town every hour. You get off where you want to walk around, and wait until the next bus an hour later, or the last bus of the day if you're having a great time there and don't want to go further. You don't have to get off at every stop, either. The audio tour you listen to on the bus is optional (you just plug your earphones into the jack in your seat and select your language) but at least the one I took, in Spain, was fairly interesting.

We used Viatours to get around Granada, Spain, and liked it. You can buy and print your tickets online, so it's really easy.
posted by elizeh at 7:32 PM on November 28, 2011

They are really into advent calenders in Germany - maybe find one that you can fill yourself and hide euro notes and coins?
posted by munichmaiden at 8:14 PM on November 28, 2011

> Bonus Economics Question: If Germany decides not to use the Euro, is this likely to take place before the summer?

Not to derail onto this, but just to reinforce what Burhanistan said: Not only is this pretty unlikely, even if, tomorrow, the entire population of the Bundesrepublik woke up and said 'Screw this, we want our Deutschmarks back," it would take a long time to even figure out exactly how to do it, and then to implement it, and any remotely sane way of implementing it would see Euros accepted either de jure (eg, "1 Euro is accepted at any bank for exchange to 1.5 Neu Deutschmark") or de facto ("Price: 1 NDeutschmark, or 1.2 Euro" signs at every store), much the way that towns near borders have so often accepted the "other side's" currency at a slightly higher cost.

In other words, not only is it almost certainly very unlikely, even if it happened, showing up in Germany with a fistful of Euro is very unlikely to be more than a minor inconvenience for basic tourism purposes.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:25 PM on November 28, 2011

I second the schultüte suggestion. Every German knows the schultüte, but no one actually drinks out of those elaborate biersteins - at best they just live on a shelf. In addition to money and maps, make some weihnachtsplätzchen to include, and depending on when in the summer she's going, either sunscreen for August or an umbrella for any other month.

If you really want to get creative, you could mimic some instant win lottery tickets - those are often given to people as gifts on their birthday and at Christmas, but instead of the real-life disappointment of opening a bunch of them and not winning anything, yours could individually list the things you're giving her.

The Euro isn't going away any time soon. We may eventually switch back to the Mark, but not before summer, and even if that happened, there would still be at least a year or two transition period where there would be a fixed exchange rate and Euros could be swapped for Marks. Don't worry about giving her cash, although try to keep the bills €50 or smaller, as shops sometimes refuse €100 bills.
posted by cmonkey at 11:06 PM on November 28, 2011

Give it to her (in Euros!) in something she'll use in her travels, like a money belt or a packable backpack (I used this one on a recent trip to Europe - it was indispensable). Just throw in some other travel stuff.
posted by coolguymichael at 9:22 AM on November 29, 2011

I would get some kinder eggs and carefully unwrap them and replace the toy inside with a check. This is not easily done, but would be pretty amazing, especially if she knows kinder eggs, is expecting a cheap plastic toy inside and likes chocolate. Reading through the Wikipedia article now, it might be difficult to get one in the US, though I've had them plenty of times here.
posted by msbrauer at 10:33 AM on November 29, 2011

Here is a fill-able advent calendar at Ikea. You could have money, marzipan, and other little things interspersed.
Another thing to consider is a wallet that actually comfortably fits euros - most us wallets are too short to hold the larger bills without showing them off.
posted by munichmaiden at 5:58 PM on November 29, 2011

Alright, I bought a musical stein for her from ebay that is pretty cool, and I'll tuck some springerle cookies and kinder chocolates in there with some paper euros for her.

Thanks, guys! I'll let you know how it turns out. I already got some pretty cool Christmas cards, but I might make her a cuckoo clock one, too.
posted by shortyJBot at 7:04 PM on December 2, 2011

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