A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide 2021
Just like that, it's the most wonderful time of the year! While time seems to pass by in a flash, don't let Christmas shopping get ahead of you. Get your loved one a gift they'll adore. A Jamaican-made gift.
Can you believe that the holiday season is already upon us? I truly can't process that this is my third rendition of A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide! Over the years, this annual blog post has become one of my favourites to write. As someone who's passionate about uplifting local brands, I find myself thinking about it throughout the year, always making note of any new brands that I may come across.
I can go on and on about why it's important to support local and brand Jamaica- and trust me, I have. Instead, I'll tell you why I love to shop locally.
As a consumer, I love having a personal connection to a brand. Being able to relate to their story and values, and gain personal insight on their product is something that shopping online from foreign retailers simply can’t compare to. I also take pride knowing that I am helping to boost and stimulate our economy, build communities, and even create new jobs. Plus, the more and more that Jamaican-made businesses are supported, it will lead to more diversity and choices in the local market- and more brands to include in my gift guides!
Despite being 'likkle', our 'tallawah' island continues to stand out internationally. From our influence in music to our world records in athletics, Jamaican-made products have the potential to also make their stamp globally. We've seen incredible success come from Jamaican born and bred entrepreneurs who moved abroad and had the resources and opportunities to go big, such as By Chari whose 'VOTE' necklace was worn by Michelle Obama! What's stopping local brands from doing the same?
Products of Jamaica need to be invested in and given support not only by our government but by consumers, namely our fellow Jamaicans. Jamaican-made products are quality items made with passion and love that deserve as much recognition and legitimacy as foreign goods. Skip the shipping wait times and custom fees this holiday season and indulge in the vast variety of locally-made gifts that Jamaican brands have to offer.
I'm delighted to welcome you all to the Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide 2021. I hope that you fall in love with these fifteen incredible brands as much as I have. This year, I tried to be more intentional by including some non-physical gift options in the hopes of reducing waste this holiday season. All of these phenomenal brands create fantastic products and services that are made right here in Jamaica. Enjoy!
Make sure to check out previous years of the Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide below!
FOR THE: Holistic Home
If there's something that the pandemic has reiterated, it's the need for holistic, clean living in all aspect of our lives. These locally-made brands make creating a holistic home easy- curating an environment that is productive and serves the mind, body, spirit and space functionally.
Living a healthy lifestyle isn't necessarily solely about what we eat but also the products we use in our day-to-day and even around our home. Very Essential provides Jamaicans with locally-made household products that contain no synthetic fragrances or harsh, toxic chemicals. From all purpose cleaners to multi-surface sprays, it's comforting to know that the products you use in the space where you spend most of your time are natural, effective and understandable.
As consumers, it's important to be conscious of how the products we use not only impact us but our surroundings- after all, everything is interconnected- and Very Essential is a true sustainable and holistic company. Their biodegradable ingredients are good for us and for the environment! Additionally, they only use glass packaging, reducing plastic consumption and providing customers with incentives to save on their next purchase whenever they return empties.
One of my favourite joys in life is to open a book and light a new candle. As someone who has tried and tested multiple candles, Wholistic Living's candles truly stand out from the rest. If you couldn't tell by their name, these all natural, handmade candles are a staple in any holistic home. Infused with amethyst & rose quartz crystals and essential oils, their candles smell as divine and luxurious as they look and are made with intent and love in Jamaica.
It's one thing for a candle to smell good, but it's another thing for it to be good for you. The essential oils and crystals within the candle have therapeutic benefits and healing properties that will not only benefit you, but also your home. Lighting a Wholistic Living candle is a great way to create a ritual making time for yourself to practice mindfulness and decompress, all while curating a peaceful and intentional living space.
Indulge in affordable, epicurean self-care with Live Simple. From whipped body butters to body oils, shower melts and more, Live Simple's body collection is coined 'good for you and the planet'. The products we use on our skin also affect our internal health and the environment. With no artificial fragrances, parabens or dyes, their all natural products use sustainable packaging and ingredients that are actually easy to understand- no science degree necessary!
Their lavender scented 'Harmony' whipped body butter has been one of my favourite products of the year. It is the perfect remedy after spending a day in the sun, instantly soaking into my skin and giving me an unbeatable glow. Many generic body butters that I've used in the past tend to constantly melt in the tin giving an unpleasant user experience. I love Live Simple's formula- its consistency stays put within the tin yet it isn't difficult to apply to my skin, easily melting in my hands.
FOR THE: Small Business Owner
A practical but thoughtful gift always hits the spot for any small business owners or entrepreneurs in your life. Show them that you are proud of them by treating them to a present that will motivate them and level up their brand while simultaneously supporting other local small businesses.
GIFT A PHOTOSHOOT
One way to make a mark as an up-and-coming business owner is by solidifying a professional, clean cut, consistent image and branding- and a great way to do so is by having a stellar visual appearance. From product photography to even headshots, choose to gift a photography session with a local photographer to help elevate the entrepreneur in your life's brand and provide them with new, stunning content to use across their various platforms.
Where to find them: Luckily, there are a vast selection of multitalented Jamaican photographers across the island to choose from who specialize in various styles and services. Some include Abigail Mair @mairphotos, Jonathan South @jonsouthy, James Mitchell @_located, Michael Moodie @mx199x. As always, feel free to comment on this blog post to recommend any more Jamaican photographers.
ETCH TO ETCH JAMAICA
Etch to Etch Jamaica is a local business specializing in custom branding and laser engraving. A personalised gift or certificate from Etch to Etch is a special thought that will elevate any business and increase their brand presence. From drinkware to LED acrylic lamps and key rings, the possibilities are endless and many of the items available to etch are practical, everyday essentials that will help your loved one rep their brand wherever their hustle takes them.
Etch to Etch's high quality laser engraving is very durable and will last the wear and tear of any on-the-go businessperson, leaving their brand's logo perfectly in tact. They are able to etch a variety of mediums and surfaces, including glass and wood, and also offer the convenient option to engrave your own items! I think that this is an amazing way to also support another local business or artisan by choosing to etch a Jamaican-made product.
Where to find them: Follow Etch to Etch on Instagram @etchtoetchja or visit them at their Cross Roads location in Kingston.
OLD TAVERN COFFEE
If there's one thing that will motivate any business owner to push through the long days and nights, it's a hot cup of Old Tavern Coffee Estate's world class farm to cup coffee. Located on 100 acres on the north side of the iconic Blue Mountains, Old Tavern is Jamaica's first single estate coffee brand. Growing their beans in one specific geographic region allows for a natural, distinctive flavour profile which shines through their variety of premium roasts, including medium, medium dark and dark.
Roasted to perfection in small batches, Old Tavern has earned a worldwide reputation and following thanks to their spectacular attention to detail and commitment to quality. Consciously adopting natural approaches on their farm, including composting and reducing the usage of chemical fertilizers & pesticides, they also use traditional processing methods. This includes sun drying, which enhances natural flavours, and the precise hand-selection of beans to ensure the perfect cup of coffee.
Where to find them: Keep in touch with Old Tavern Coffee Estate on Facebook. Located in Kingston? Find them at Source (email@example.com), Toyota Cafe, Eleni's and more retailers!
FOR THE ONE: Who Lives Life in Colour
We all know someone who lives their life in colour. Whether it be their colourful personality or appearance, the hues of our island are a way in which they express themselves daily. These bold, vibrant brands are a must-have for any loved one that refuses to live a life strictly in black & white.
Embrace your jovial side with the comeback of beaded jewellery! Made with Swiss precision and Caribbean flavour, Swizz Beads' intricately handmade jewellery pieces are elegantly fun, trendy and undoubtedly a celebration of colour. They're the perfect addition to any outfit, no matter the occasion. My favourite, go-to pieces include my Evil Eye Choker Necklace and my personalised Phone Charms, which came in the most adorable hand-painted 'One Love' pouch.
From more neutral and versatile bracelets, including natural stones such as tiger beads, to vibrant necklaces, including eclectic charms such as evil eyes, cowries shell and more, they have an array of options for whatever style you're in search of. I truly believe what you wear and how you choose to present yourself can reflect and inspire your energy inside and out- and I love how I feel when I wear my Swizz Beads.
Introducing Berson, a decorative candle brand that invites you to 'reimagine your home space'. Made from 100% natural soy wax, their groovy, eye-catching bubble candles are biodegradable, vegan and cruelty free. These candles are made from divine pure fragrance oils and are the perfect pop of colour and life to any home. It's hard not to want to burn them! If you do, just make sure to follow their Candle Care Guide.
A massive reason why I love Berson, apart from their brand aesthetic, is that their bubble candles are an amazing sustainable gift option! Their candles are crafted in small batches ensuring high quality all while reducing waste during the production process. Additionally, if you choose to burn your Berson candle, it is a zero-waste product as opposed to many candles which are typically encased in jars or tins.
MOONSHINE DARLING JAMAICA
Fall in love with Moonshine Darling Jamaica- a new evening and resort wear line designed and hand-sewn in Jamaica. Their debut collection showcases vibrant, must-have pieces from crushed satin sets to a cottage-core cotton dress that are everything you need to live a life in colour. Produced in made-to-order limited stock runs, their line encapsulates classic beauty and pieces that will always be in style no matter what the latest trend is.
In a world where countless Shein and Zaful hauls dominate our timelines, it's important to support businesses like Moonshine Darling. Purchasing one of their pieces is making an investment in a timeless item that will last a lifetime and won't deteriorate after one wash. Their entire brand is very intentional combatting fast fashion practices- their excess material is even used to make their adorable 'Hair Cloud' scrunchies.
FOR THE: Pet Lovers & Their Fur Babies
Personally, one thing that has helped me through this pandemic has been having my pets around. Any pet lover can attest that their fur babies are like another member of their family. This holiday season give a gift that will not only benefit pet owners and their pets but animals across the island!
Say hello to Sashi's Treats and their locally-made biscuits that I am paws-itive your dog will love! Made with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, their all-natural dog treats are veterinarian-formulated and made with ingredients that are actually good for their health, such as pumpkin which is an incredible source of fibre. Many of these ingredients are actually sourced locally, such as their oven-baked bacon, supporting other local industries.
With flavours like Bacon Cheddar and Peanut Butter Pumpkin, your dog will go crazy for Sashi's Treats. As the owner of an eight-month very craven pup, I can personally testify that their products are a must-have in any pantry and that their training treats are a life-saver! While it was their packaging that impressed me and pushed me to give their biscuits a try, I am so thrilled to have found a Jamaican-made alternative to introduce to another area of my life and home.
A precious and unique gift that any pet parent will adore this holiday season is a personalised pet portrait! Pets are like members of the family and deserve to have their own spot on a gallery wall or displayed on the Christmas mantel. This special work of art will perfectly encapsulate and reflect their years of memories and unbreakable bond. I love this gift as it's a keepsake that any pet owner will cherish for years and can even build a collection with their many pets.
Where to find them: Many local artists offer pet portrait services, from intricate paintings to detailed drawings, that will undoubtedly bring joy to any pet lover's life. Some include Amanda Mitchell Robinson @mandasimone, ChloéSCo @chloesco_, J Designs @juls.designss, and Laura Fung Art @laurafungart. As always, feel free to comment on this blog post to recommend any more Jamaican artists offering pet portraits.
DONATION TO MONTEGO BAY ANIMAL HAVEN
One of the best gifts during the season of giving is to give back to a non-profit organization! This year, consider making a donation in a loved one's name to Montego Bay Animal Haven. Committed to protecting and improving the well-being of animals across Jamaica, this shelter has rehomed over 1,000 animals. Relying solely on donations, they have made great strides increasing education on the treatment of animals, reducing the number of strays and spaying & neutering animals locally.
Montego Bay Animal Haven also offers visitors the opportunity to hike their farm alongside their adorable rescue animals. Exploring their lush property alongside over one hundred 'Royal Caribbean Terriers' while learning about their organization is a once in a lifetime experience. This is also an incredible opportunity to see how your donations are being put to use and making a difference islandwide. You never know, you may just leave there with a new furry friend in tow.
FOR THE: Host(ess) with the Most(ess)
There are special people in this world who always tend to bring people together. The host's home is the meeting place; to enjoy good food, catch up with old friends, create memories. Skip the bottle of wine in a gift bag and opt for these ideas that will add to their hosting experience.
Elevate your favourite host's cocktail and dinner parties with Drift Home's handmade bohemian, rustically-chic inspired range of products. From matching straw raffia coasters and placemats to cedar and mahogany charcuterie boards adorned with beaded garlands, their collection utilizes natural elements and materials that add tons of character and a beautiful finishing touch to any home. Yaad or abroad, their pieces will transform any home into a tropical getaway.
With each item handmade and uniquely yours, Drift Home's pieces curate a space and environment that makes entertaining fun and inspiring! They can serve for their intended purpose, as the base of a decadent cheese board, or even function as show-stopping home decor. One of my favourite products is their cozy tasseled floor pillows which, as a floor person, would definitely be my preferred choice of seating at any lime or get together.
KNOCK ON WOOD
Knock on Wood is a brand specializing in customized wooden pieces, although you may know them for their phenomenal ludi boards. Handcrafted, designed and intricately painted in Jamaica, their quality wood pieces are a keepsake that are a must-have for anyone who loves to entertain. This gift is perfect for any host as it is not only a fun activity that can bring their guests together but a centrepiece for any soirée that they may throw.
In search of a truly one-of-a-kind gift? Knock on Wood allows you to create and personalise your very own ludi board! Custom gifts are always a lovely touch during the holiday season as they stand out amongst the others and show loved ones' how much they mean to you. The possibilities to customize a board are endless, whether you opt to decorate it using their favourite colours or even sports teams as the home bases. The finalized product is guaranteed to take their breath away.
Where to find them: Get your hands on a custom ludi board via their Instagram page @knockonwoodja.
SIM STYLES IT
Some of the best presents aren't necessarily wrapped under the tree. One of my favourite things to gift during the holidays is an experience and what better gift is there for the host than to be hosted? Take the weight off of their shoulders with Sim Styles It. From picnics to brunch parties and birthday dinners, this micro-event styling company curates the most gorgeous, intimate 'tablescapes' to bring your loved one's Pinterest board to life!
Gifting a Sim Styles It experience is creating a core memory that your loved one will always look back on and cherish. Styled to perfection, their intimate tablescapes bring people together and are the perfect addition and backdrop to amazing company. There are tons of themes to choose from and truly create the event of their dreams, whether you may want to plan and surprise them with the micro-event itself or gift them to use the next time they host.
Where to find them: Make sure to check out Sim Styles It and their beautiful creations on Instagram @simstylesit.
Check out these pop-up Markets & shops happening this Christmas Season featuring many Jamaican-made brands, including many listed above.
» Pinto's Studio Pop-Up on November 27th
» The Wharf House's Market on The Dock on November 27th & 28th
» Veeva Home's Pre-Christmas Pop-Up on November 27th & 28th
» Conu'co Market on December 4th
» Strictly Jamaihand's Christmas Village Pop-Up on December 4th, 11th & 18th
» Story & Myth's Christmas in the Garden on December 11th