It all began with a Christmas music box, from the Erzgebirge region, as a gift for the founders American friends. The business idea grew out of a love for a traditional Christmas, in harmony with an enthusiasm for preserving
customs and the associated craftsmanship and the desire to share this internationally.
The Gift that Blessed the Giver
The music box held a particular fascination for an American officer’s family, who were friends of the Wohlfahrt family and visited them for Christmas in 1963. Wilhelm Wohlfahrt thought to himself that such a music box would be exactly the right present for his American friends and after Christmas went looking for another example. But all the shops had already put their Christmas goods back into storage. It wasn't until February of the following year that he found a wholesaler who was still selling the music boxes. However the wholesaler wouldn't supply him, unless he bought at least 10. Nevertheless, Wilhelm decided to buy, and gave a music box to his American friends, who were extremely happy about this post-Christmas present
Christmas Bazaars at the Military Base
Stuttgart to Rothenburg ob der Tauber - Chriskindlmarkt
In 1977 they moved to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a milestone in the company’s history. Here, on Herrngasse, the first specialty shop for Christmas items opened – Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Christkindlmarkt. The extensive range of Christmas music boxes from the Erzgebirge also included a successor model of the Nativity music box that Wilhelm Wohlfahrt had given to his American friends. Since then, Käthe Wohlfahrt has opened more Christmas shops, including the world-renowned Christmas Village in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The town also became the location of the company’s headquarters.
Weihnachtsdorf (The Christmas Village)
In 1990 the Leipzig Christmas market was completely organized and held on the market square in front of the old town hall for the first time by Käthe Wohlfahrt in cooperation with the local market authorities. Käthe Wohlfahrt was already a coveted partner for Christmas markets before reunification due to its unique range and it also built up its seasonal presence throughout Germany and the world in subsequent years. Today the family company is represented at approximately 50 Christmas markets in Germany alone.
The Christmas Express
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He met the artist Gudrun Galler, from Ainring, at an exhibition. With her creativity and expertise he had found the ideal partner in her. She managed to present the masterpieces so that he was immediately impressed and the artist created the first figurines and music boxes according to his ideas.
As a result the “Children’s Dreams” LIMITED EDITION from Käthe Wohlfahrt was born, whose first figurines saw the light of day and went on sale in 1990.
Based on the thought that the various facets of this traditional celebration and the historical development are worth being documented, his wish to create a Christmas museum was born. This museum was not only supposed to present wonderful old Christmas decorations from Germany, but also the history of this festivity and its secular customs for all visitors interested in learning more about Christmas.The German Christmas Museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber effectively bridges Christmas history from the 4th to the 20th Century, offering the visitor a fascinating view of the historical development of Christmas celebration. The Christmas Museum is a dedicated tribute to the traditions of Christmas and the first permanent exhibit of its kind.
Visit the Christmas Museum Website