Holiday gifts that keep on giving

Going back home for the holiday season.. what holiday gifts to bring? 

After spending the past few months experiencing life in Palestine, it’s time to head home and reunite with my friends and family, just in time for the holiday season. This year, instead of racing to find online sites that will deliver just in time for the holidays, I’ve decided to bring some of Palestine back home with me. With presents from Palestine, I can share the culture that I have come to love with the people I love most.

These gifts won’t just reduce the stress of the holiday season, but they are closely tied to two important Palestine initiatives. Each and every handicraft from the Handmade Palestine marketplace is made by local, fairtrade Palestinian artisansmany of whom are local women working to support their families.

In addition to supporting these craftsmen, the profits from these gifts are used to plant trees in the Palestinian countryside, at an ecopark called Mashjar Juthourmeaning these the gifts truly do keep on giving.

Whether you’re heading home like me, or simply want to gift with a cause this season, these are the top 6 handcrafted gifts ideas, you can buy and take back home for the Christmas season from Handmade Palestine.

Here are my top holiday gift picks

Lemon Reamer

Teach your friends and family how to make Tabbouleh, Arabic Salad, and Limonada aka lemonade with artfully crafted Palestinian cookware. This lemon reamer is made from olive wood and is handcrafted in Bethlehem, home to the deeply rooted tradition of lemon juicing. It’s weighted and easy to use for kids and adults alike.

Lemon Reemer from Olive Wood

Traditional Palestinian Keffiyeh

An ancient head scarf that comes in a range of patterns and colors, signifying the location and culture from which they were made, Keffiyehs are at the top of my holiday gift list. With a range of styles, there are enough unique designs for each of my siblings’ distinct personalities, so they can blend their Keffiyeh into their daily fashion and learn more about each scarf’s symbolic history. Not only that, the keffiyeh has a lot of other uses which makes it a minimalist gift:

Popular uses of Keffiyeh:

  • Table cover
  • Photographers could use it a backdrop for your settings (my sister uses the keffiyeh in her baby photography sessions where she wraps babies with one and they look super cute.)
  • Curtain
  • Tannoura aka Skirt.
  • Chair cover
  • Nursing Cover also called Rebozo baby wrap
  • Hijab

Passport Holder

Inspire your friends and family to come visit you next time you’re In Palestine, the Middle East, or travelling the world with a handmade passport holder—a practical, long-lasting gift fit for any one of your loved ones.

Passport Holder by Jelld from Hebron

Embroidered Bookmark

The age old classic interweaved with traditional Palestinian embroidery, embroidered bookmarks are the perfect (and convenient) gift I’ll be sharing with many of my friends.

Bookmark - Handmade Embroidered

Organic Soap

Bring the smells of Palestine home with organic palestinian soap made from olive oil. You can choose between a variety of scents and ingredients, from camel milk to chamomile, to cater to different skin types and deliver natural fragrances.

Al Quds Arabic Calligraphy Brass piece from Beit Doqo

Whether you need a gift idea for your mother, sister, or friend, this unique handmade necklace will give purpose to your loved one’s accessorizing by supporting a local women’s cooperative near Jerusalem. The hand-carved Arabic calligraphy translates to Al Quds, the Arabic name of Jerusalem. This small hand-cut sheet of brass celebrates a vibrant city full of history, culture, and political movements.

Al Quds Necklace carved from Brass

These are just a few of the items on my personal shopping list, but you can find what’s right for you by visiting Handmade Palestine's handicrafts collection page. Any gift you purchase from Handmade Palestine will be a present you can feel good about giving.

If you don’t have room in your luggage to bring these gifts back with you, or you won’t be spending the holiday season with those back home, you can always order them online and have them delivered, just in time for the holidays! Need more gift ideas read Morgan's guide on her mom's handicrafts wishlist.

 * Authored by Jaime Fahy a volunteer at Mashjar Juthour.

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