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Christmas bauble made in Krakow, Poland

Krakow Christmas adornments.

These days, Christmas trees in Krakow homes look much the same as in the rest of Poland. Basically, they aren’t very different from the time-honored standard known worldwide, except the local specimens usually boast finer decorations. And the growing number of visitors take advantage of their trip to Krakow to take back home with them a box or two of handmade Christmas baubles since few places can match the selection of Christmas decorations in Krakow shops and markets. The Christmassy goods are ubiquitous in the city from late November through January but downtown gift shops often sell Christmas baubles year-round and a couple of stores in the Old Town historic district trade in nothing else.

 

Polish Christmas decorations.

Poland is a major exporter of high-quality Christmas decorations yet exports are nothing compared to what can be found on sale in Krakow in the weeks preceding Yuletide. Most locals replenish their household collections of Christmas adornments every year and numerous producers – from manufacturing companies to handicraft workshops to atelier artists – cater to their desire for novelty, nostalgia, and the fashion of the day.

Christmas baubles – called bombka or banka in Polish – constitute ninety percent of Yuletide adornments available in Krakow shops and markets. Even the cheap ones are made of paper-thin glass and, being very fragile, they require handling with extreme care. They come in many shapes and varied dimensions. Polish most traditional Christmas baubles are either sphere-shaped or spherical with a deep reflective hollow, the size of an apple, painted glossy red or blue or gold and covered with hand-painted regular geometrical patterns, some ornamentation glitter-trimmed. At the same time also figurative designs have been popular for decades, be it Nativity scenes or winter motifs or Noel emblems such as Santa Claus or angels. The local variety decorated with depictions of Krakow historical monuments may be looked upon as tourist souvenirs but also some natives appreciate them.

Of course there is no lack of Christmas baubles in fancy shapes: bells, pine cones, Santas, cottages, cherubs, icicles, mushrooms, you name it.

Giant Christmas baubles are meant rather for your mantelpiece or desk top rather than a Christmas tree.

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Buying Christmas decorations in Krakow.

With festive season approaching, even Krakow supermarkets sell quality glass baubles, though mass-produced ones. Hand-made Christmas ornaments are available at souvenir shops. Yet, obviously, the Krakow Christmas market in Rynek Glowny central square, which lasts from late November to December 25th, has the staggering selection of them. Also other markets in the city offer a wide choice of Christmas baubles.

Christmas market in Krakow

Christmas market in Krakow starts in Rynek Glowny central square in late November,

Prices of Christmas decorations in Krakow vary from an equivalent of euro 0.5 a piece for a mass-produced glass bauble to about 15 euro for a hand-made, hand-painted basketball-size marvel. On overage high-quality Christmas baubles cost an equivalent of 1.5 euro to 5 euro, depending on size  and design.

Polish traditional Christmas tree.

Today’s Polish choinka or Christmas tree is adorned with baubles (more or less fancy), lights, and little else. Yet in the past they were just additions to copious goodies, tempting edibles in the first place, such as various candies in their gaudy wrappers, gingerbread cookies, walnuts, and apples one could help oneself to throughout Christmastide. Other decorations besides glass baubles, frequently were made of colorful paper. And a traditional Polish Christmas tree required a paper chain spirally draped over it top to bottom and hand-crafted by the family members. Also, no Christmas tree is complete in a traditional Polish home without “szpic” i.e. a decorative glass spire that crowns the fir.

Christmas decorations on market in Krakow, Poiland

 Christmas in Krakow

Christmas markets in Krakow

Krakow's szopka Nativity scenes


Krakow Festivals
Hardly a month passes in Krakow without some time-honored occasion for common festivities or colorful celebration

Easter in Krakow
The paramount Christian feast has a special meaning and a distinct quality in springtime Krakow with its rich Catholic traditions and abundance of beautiful
churches.

Krakow Folk Traditions
Krakow region has always been rich in colorful folk traditions, handed down from generation to generation.

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