• Sarah Miles

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!

» A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide 2020

» A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide 2019


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.


VERY ESSENTIAL

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.


Where to find them: Check out Very Essential's range of products online or on their Instagram @shopveryessential.


WHOLISTIC LIVING

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.


Where to find them: Shop directly with Wholistic Living through their Instagram @wholisticliving.co or at one of their islandwide retailers, such as My Jamaica in Liguanea Plaza.


LIVE SIMPLE

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.


Where to find them: Check out Live Simple via their Instagram page @liveecco. Their line of body care is also available at many retailers, including My Jamaica and The Life Store.


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 (sourceartisan@gmail.com), Toyota Cafe, Eleni's and more retailers!

FOR THE ONE: Who Lives Life in Colour