A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide 2022
This Christmas, I want to celebrate and practice togetherness - being there for and supporting one another. What better way to do that than shopping locally and supporting Jamaicans this holiday season?
There's something incredibly special about a gift that makes you feel seen. One that makes you feel like a kid again. You can't wait to buss it out of its packaging and use it immediately. While I continuously boast about the value of intentional gift-giving, it wasn't until a few months ago when I rediscovered some old family home videos that I saw it in its true form.
It's 2004 on Christmas morning. I have what can only be described as an unforgivable bowl haircut. As I unwrap multiple gifts, there is one that sets my heart racing - a jewellery-making kit. As a creative child, I felt understood. With pure unadulterated joy, I go around the room showing everyone my new prized possession. That is the magic that I want to capture in my gift guides.
While checking off your list can be understandably daunting, I'm here to help you rediscover the fun in Christmas shopping through gift ideas that won't collect dust in your loved one's cupboard. We can all relate that there's nothing more special than a one-of-a-kind gift that feels thoughtful and aligns with your interests and passions. Luckily, the best place to find these gifts is right here in Jamaica, created by our island's plethora of talented artisans. From homeware to skincare, accessories and more, your options are endless for a gift that will truly encapsulate your love and stand out under the tree.
Some of the best gifts, however, aren't tangible; they are instead based on the creation of memories and immersion of oneself in unique experiences. Simply put, they are something to look forward to beyond the holiday season. As a big fan of gifting experiences, I am so thrilled to introduce a non-physical gift option to each category in this year's gift guide!
This year, I will also be hosting a giveaway on Instagram to give readers the opportunity to try out some of the phenomenal brands included in this year's gift guide. The giveaway will be posted the first week of December on our SHOP page @shopmilesguide, so make sure to follow for more details (and good luck).
Welcome to A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide 2022! Going into my fourth year curating the gift guide, I always step away from it with immense pride at the endless amount of local brands I can choose from. There is such an abundance of talent locally that at times it can be difficult to only mention fifteen brands each year. These must-have gift ideas are truly so wonderful that you'll be tempted to add them to your own list. Please enjoy and make sure to also check out previous years of the gift guide for more inspiration!
FOR THE: It Girl
We all know her. The It Girl. She exudes the ultimate main character energy and naturally looks her Sunday best. Trends don't exist for the It Girl. After all, she sets them. I can't think of a better present for someone always on the lookout for their new favourite piece than a gift from a local designer.
Emunah is a luxury jewellery and accessory brand that describes itself as 'Caribbean inspired' - and rightfully so! They have captured and represented the unparalleled beauty of our islands through their colourful statement pieces. Emunah's handcrafted collection is delicate yet bold featuring freshwater pearls and tropical charms, including dainty seashells, complemented by touches of gold. Ranging from bracelets to earrings, necklaces and even polymer clay initial keychains, their pieces elevate any look.
Nowadays, trends move so quickly through fashion seasons. Just like It Girls, Emunah doesn't follow trends but defies them. Their long-lasting timeless pieces will easily become a go-to in your jewellery rotation, transitioning from day to night, no matter the occasion, with compliments guaranteed. Certain jewellery pieces possess the ability to turn heads and accentuate the beauty of the wearer. Emunah's pieces do this effortlessly. It's truly impossible to go wrong when gifting one of their pieces.
Where to find them: You can find Emunah on Instagram @emunahcollective to shop their line of Caribbean-inspired jewellery.
CROCHET BY SHADAE
Crochet by Shadae is a slow fashion brand specialising in handmade luxury crochet items, including accessories and apparel. Their versatile collection is entirely made to order, specially made for each customer. With so many crochet brands to choose from, Crochet by Shadae's items are unlike anything else you'll find on the market. Their beloved Primera bag is a testament to this. This gorgeous circular handheld bag is their most popular and sought-after piece for a reason.
The Primera bag features a crochet frame, with a variety of handles and colours to choose from - the possibilities are endless and you will want more than one. However, the highlight is the bag's clear sides which offer a glimpse into one's own 'What's in My Bag?' video. Crochet by Shadae even offers an option to customise and add one's name to the clear sides! An amazing gift for any It Girl, ideal for brunch with the girls, country trips or even running errands around town.
Where to find them: Check out Crochet by Shadae on Instagram @byshadae where you can find their 'How to Order' story highlight to get started.
Living in Jamaica, a solid swimsuit collection is essential and Chankir Swim's premium swimwear is a must-have to add to any It Girl's collection. Handmade in Jamaica, their swimsuits are guaranteed to become your new set of choice. They are stylish, extremely flattering and incredibly versatile - their classic 'Leo' top can tie in a countless number of ways! Available in an assortment of styles, colours, prints and accessories (including matching cover-ups), their swimsuits are perfect for beach days, pool parties and everything in between.
Now more than ever, it's important to support local designers, like Chankir Swim. Their swimsuits are original and high-quality, ultimately becoming a staple that will last longer than one fashion season. In a day and age where fast fashion hauls from brands - with questionably low prices - dominate the internet, it can be understandably tempting to buy or gift multiple pairs of swimsuits for the price of one made by a slow fashion brand. However, the difference is crystal clear and all the It Girls know it.
NON-PHYSICAL GIFT OPTION
In retrospect, being an It Girl isn't all about material possessions or one's appearance. It's about prioritising yourself, putting yourself out there and romanticising your life! A great non-physical gift idea for the It Girl in your life is one that aligns with their hobbies and makes them the best version of themselves - and that you can enjoy together! This could vary from a ceramics class at Sanaa Studios, a pilates class at Body Forté or a dance class at Dance Jamaica Academy.
FOR THE: Eco-Conscious Soul
What better way to show your love for the Eco-Conscious Soul than a gift that will spark joy and enhance their lifestyle, all while giving back to our community and nature? These locally-made brands make a conscious effort to better Jamaica through their must-have sustainable products.
TRELAWNY HONEY HIVES
Trelawny Honey Hives is a staple in my kitchen and I could buzz all day about their line of eco-conscious, sustainable products. This small, family-run apiary in Martha Brae originally started as a hobby in 2018. Years later, they still are firm in their roots extracting and bottling their raw honey by hand and supporting local farmers along the way. From raw honey to marmalades, aprons, clothing pin hangers and more, I am forever thankful that they chose to share their products with us all!
Trelawny Honey Hives prides itself on its mission to preserve our island. This includes the reduction of waste with their use of sterilised, repurposed glass jars, the creation of low-waste products, such as tea towels, and their role in the growth and protection of bee populations in Jamaica. Personally, this is the kind of brand that I would gladly support. Plus, it helps that their products are delicious. While this is a very strong statement to make, I do say it intentionally - I think their Pepper Jelly is my favourite of all time...nuff said.
Where to find them: Keep up with Trelawny Honey Hives on Instagram @trelawnyhoneyhives and shop their products in stores, including My Jamaica and Jamaica Food and Drink. They will also be at many pop-ups this season, including My Jamaica's Support Local Saturdays on December 10th.
Revive turns your something old into something new with their line of upcycled glass products made from used bottles and jars! Their line features glasses cut from recognisable bottles from brands, including Red Stripe, Heineken and Wray and Nephew, alongside 'rare' items, speciality bottles of unique shapes and colours that are not as frequently donated. Their made-to-order products rely on donations from local bars, restaurants and customers themselves - so you never know what particular glass you may come across!
What I love about Revive's products is their versatility. The possibilities are endless! I use my upcycled Cavicchioli 1928 Prosecco bottle as a drinking glass while my upcycled Red Stripe beer bottle adds character to my workstation as a pen cup. Customers can also get involved and donate their used glass bottles and jars to Revive, which might have ended up in a landfill otherwise. Revive collects donations every Saturday at Ujima Natural Farmer's Market in Hope Gardens.
Where to find them: Follow Revive on Instagram @reviveja. A selection of their bottles is available at My Jamaica and Lemongrass Tea Room. They will also be having a pop-up at My Jamaica on December 3rd as part of their Support Local Saturdays series.
Veeva Home makes living sustainably accessible and approachable all while supporting and increasing local production. Their collection of high-quality products is truly expansive, made by independent artisans across the island. They even have collaborations with well-known artisans, such as Hune and Margaret McGhie. Ranging from wooden trays, bowls and utensils to ceramic mugs and plates, cement dishes, pouffes, tea towels and more- the list goes on and on!
Personally, Veeva Home's products have added to my life in the past year, creating sustainable solutions and products that I otherwise would have had to buy internationally. While they do have a line of European-made eco-products, they also try to find means to manufacture these products locally which shows how committed they are to their mission. One of my favourite items from their collection is their wooden drying racks, which helped with tricky-to-dry reusable plastic bags.
NON-PHYSICAL GIFT OPTION
A non-physical gift option is great for loved ones who practice an eco-conscious lifestyle as it is a low-waste option! An incredible idea is to make a donation in their name to an environmental project that contributes to the preservation of our beautiful island. Some options, if you're stuck, include the Oracabessa Bay Sea Turtle Project and the Alligator Head Foundation. Another extraordinary idea is to book them a sustainable experience, such as a visit to beloved Stush in the Bush for their famous ital farm-to-table lunch.
FOR THE: Coffee Addict
We all know that person who can't seem to live without their daily cup (or three) of coffee. As one of our island's greatest cultural products, it makes sense that coffee is such an important part of many Jamaicans' being. These locally-made gifts, if it's even possible, will help deepen their love for their biggest kryptonite.
Invite a taste of paradise into your once-mundane skincare routine with Paradise Child's line of luxurious coffee scrubs. Their clean, organic products are crafted with fine coffee grounds from the Blue Mountains; a gentle exfoliant that also cleanses and moisturises. Describing their products as 'effortless skincare backed by nature', their scrubs create a ritual and opportunity for some very necessary me-time - a new means of incorporating coffee into one's daily routine that isn't necessarily for a quick pick-me-up.
While it's hard to choose from their wide selection of enticing scrubs, know that your skin will thank you later. After all, it's always important to be intentional with what products your skin may absorb. The natural ingredients featured in their product range are beneficial to your skin inside and out, varying from oats to raw cane sugar. For example, did you know that coffee has anti-inflammatory properties? Their scrubs are also said to improve circulation and help a variety of skin conditions. Count me in!
Where to find them: Explore Paradise Child's product line via their website or on their Instagram page @shopparadisechild. They also have islandwide retailers, including My Jamaica, Cafe Blue and more.
ONE ONE CACAO
Discover One One Cacao, a small batch brand located in St. Mary creating mouth-watering bean-to-bar craft chocolate. Their team are experts in their craft, working alongside local coffee farmers to create unique chocolate bars that won't last a minute in your pantry. One One Cacao's artisanal products feature Jamaican favourites, including coconut and sorrel, to create a distinctive bar unlike any other. It is safe to say that they are undoubtedly creating a name for our island on yet another worldwide stage.
From farm tours to coffee tasting and chocolate making, One One Cacao offers incredible virtual and in-person experiences to fully immerse and educate oneself in the ins and outs of this process. Whether you gift an experience or an assortment of their chocolates as a stocking stuffer, it will be an incredible present for any coffee fiend (that isn't necessarily a bag of coffee). Personally, their award-winning bars have become one of my favourite gifts to bring for family and friends when travelling abroad. It never disappoints.
COLEEN HAJ CREATION STUDIO
As someone who is always on the hunt for a new candle to burn, Coleen Haj Creation Studio's must-have scented candles have been a favourite of mine this year. Their soy candles are hand-poured with premium fragrance oils with a variety of scents to choose from, including their rich Hazelnut Coffee candle - one that any coffee lover would naturally gravitate towards. Even as a non-coffee drinker, I can't help but fall in love with this aromatic candle that literally fills the room once you unscrew its lid.
Somehow, certain candles have the ability to conjure memories and even transport you. Coleen Haj's range of scents, from their relaxing, beachy 'Blue Lagoon' to their delicious 'Cinnamon Rolls', do just that. The first time I opened their Hazelnut Coffee candle, I was immediately brought back to café days in Montréal and cosy weekends in the hills. However, the most heart-warming aspect is the promise of creating new associations every time I light its wick.
NON-PHYSICAL GIFT OPTION
One of the best intangible gifts for a coffee lover is a gift certificate for an immersive experience in the Blue Mountains - the home to some of the world's finest coffee. There are a variety of coffee farms that offer educational and engaging tours to choose from. The Clifton Mount Estate tour offered by Island Outpost includes an additional coffee roasting session with Old Tavern. Another fun way to experience the Blue Mountains is via bike tour, which takes you through mountainous coffee fields and includes coffee samples.
FOR THE: First-Time Parent
This year was simply magical as one of my dearest friends announced that she was expecting! As a 'first-time aunty' (lol), I had no clue what to gift a first-time parent - a new chapter indeed. Luckily, these practical yet adorable gift ideas will put a smile on any parent's face and be adored by their bundle of joy.
BLUE BANYAN BOOKS
Blue Banyan Books is an independent publishing house based in Jamaica, home to a range of phenomenal local and Caribbean titles. From their 'B is for Breadfruit' Jamaican alphabet flashcards to their uplifting 'Irie Morning' set in Negril, Blue Banyan has an endless variety of engaging titles for all ages, a collection that can grow alongside newborns - and that parents won't get tired of reading. The colourful, captivating illustrations by local artists, including Richard Nattoo, are a highlight complementing the enriching stories.
It's virtually impossible to go wrong with children's books as a gift for new parents - some may argue that you can never have too many. Reading is a ritual and bonding activity that parents will always return to at the end of the day. Stories are impactful and even over twenty years later, I still remember my favourite bedtime tales. It's important that the stories read to children, especially at such an important developmental age, are not only inspiring and educational but representative of their culture and heritage.
Where to find them: Shop Blue Banyan's books online and follow them on Instagram @bluebanyanbooks for updates regarding new releases. They also have a variety of retailers across the island, including My Jamaica, Fontana and more. They will be popping up at My Jamaica's Support Local Saturdays on December 3rd.
One of the most meaningful gifts is one that inspires and is made with purpose. Introducing Moni's Voice, whose charming one-of-a-kind crochet dolls are a beacon of hope for domestic violence survivors islandwide. Founded by a single mother and survivor herself, this incredible brand promotes awareness and donates a portion of its profits towards recovery efforts. They also partner will a local organisation to teach valuable skills, such as crocheting, to members of their community.
Moni's Voice's dolls are more than just 'toys'. They are comfort items that a newborn will cherish and can lean on for solace throughout their childhood. Intricately handmade with love, this precious gift will enrich a child's life through its message and mission - one that any first-time parent would adore. Their dolls are also customisable, from their skin tone to outfits! Their adorable and diverse product line even includes personalised crochet wall hangings and animal baby rattles, that will complement any nursery.
Where to find them: Follow Moni's Voice on Instagram @monisvoice to browse their lovely crochet pieces and learn more about domestic violence in their informational posts.
Earlier this year, Miles Guide launched our official shop with our selection of hand-painted, locally-made tote bags. While I'm biased, our custom Initial Tote Bag is an incredible gift for any first-time parent. This personalised gift is a keepsake and can serve as a multi-purpose bag (diapers, toys, you name it!) with three spacious bag styles to choose from. Made with a durable and lightweight canvas, our totes stand the test of time and can be passed down to their newborn in years to come.
As someone who is very meticulous about my Christmas tree, I treat my 'Baby's First Christmas' ornaments with special love and attention. This holiday season, I am so excited to introduce our clay Christmas ornaments to our shop! With a variety of shapes to choose from, including a baby foot, onesie and the entire alphabet, a personalised ornament is an irreplaceable gift. Customise with their baby's name, date of birth, weight and more! Custom orders for tote bags and ornaments close on December 14th.
Where to find them: Find us...here! Check out our shop and follow our Instagram page @shopmilesguide. We will also be having a pop-up at My Jamaica on December 10th, featuring a variety of our totes and ornaments. DM for any custom orders.
NON-PHYSICAL GIFT OPTION
What better way to show your support to first-time parents in this adjustment period than by lending a helping hand? Many local services can lift the weight off of their shoulders and also provide them with some well-deserved alone time. Grocery and meal prep services, such as Store to Door and The Healthy Chef Ja, will give parents one less thing to worry about and create space in their schedule. Even a gift certificate to a local spa is a great way to help them decompress and put their mind at ease!
FOR THE: Unexpected Gift Giver
We've all been there. You finally complete your holiday shopping when someone unexpectedly drops off a gift. While the whole point of gift-giving isn't to expect one in return, it's understandably awkward. These quick, versatile gifts are easy to grab around town and the unexpected gift giver won't suspect a thing.
Bring a taste of award-winning caterer Tooksie's into your kitchen with their selection of must-have sauces and seasonings. You can never go wrong with a food-related gift - especially when it tastes this good. An assortment of their best-selling products is a great last-minute gift. They even have branded boxes to tie it all together! I love that their products are great for both clueless and experienced cooks and can be used in a variety of ways, such as their Every Ting Scotchie seasoning that is incredible on bagels, salads and even meat!
As a craven gyal, Tooksie's makes eating even more exciting than it already is. Personally, I fell in love with their products because of their Sesame Please! dressing. As someone who has gone through multiple bottles, I can attest that it is insanely good. While I primarily use it on my salads, it is also amazing in stir-fries - or whatever your heart desires. I also love how many gluten-free and dairy-free options they offer, making their sauces and seasonings an easy, hassle-free gift for anyone on (or off) your list.
SEREEN SKIN & SELF-CARE
Introducing a brand whose products you will definitely want to keep for yourself - Sereen Skin & Self-Care. Handmade in Jamaica, they change the game with their line of divine body and skincare products. Powered by nature, their product range varies from body butters and washes to face masks and scrubs, which are made with natural ingredients, essential oils and sustainability in mind. If it wasn't evident from their stunning packaging, their products are the epitome of luxury.
It's impossible not to fall in love with Sereen's collection of artisanal products. After all, self-care is genderless and there's something for everyone. They have a variety of heavenly scents to choose from featuring tropical notes, including coffee, coconut and mango, that are an ode to our island's natural splendours. A matching set of their products, such as their Xanadu body butter, body polish and body wash, is a lovely gift idea that will feel very intentional despite being last-minute.
Milly-Zo Studio is a local brand specialising in gorgeous functional art pieces that add life and character to the home. While it can be tricky to gift homeware, especially since people have personal aesthetic preferences, their handcrafted line is fit for any space. They offer a diverse selection of products, including trays, coasters, charcuterie boards and planter boxes, made from locally-sourced organic wood. From mahoe to cedar, guango and mahogany, their products are made with undeniable quality and attention to detail.
Complemented by intricately hand-painted adornments, their pieces are works of art that, at times, feel too beautiful to use. Their pieces remind me exactly why I love gifting from local artisanal brands. They so effortlessly capture our island's beauty aided and inspired by its natural resources - something that can never be replicated or mass-produced. Milly-Zo's timeless Jamaica 60 collection is a standout, featuring odes to our likkle but tallawah nation, including stunning depictions of hummingbirds and popular Jamaican fruits.
NON-PHYSICAL GIFT OPTION
When in doubt, gift card it out! Potentially the easiest and least stressful gift in this scenario is a gift certificate to a local small business. So many shops and boutiques stock a wide selection of Jamaican-made brands that your unexpected gift giver can choose from at their convenience. Some options include My Jamaica, Things Jamaican and Craft Cottage. I love this idea as it encourages them to visit the store themselves - an opportunity for a small business to potentially gain a new customer!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading this year's gift guide! Make sure to check out other years of A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide below for more gift ideas.
Stop by these pop-up markets & shops happening this Christmas Season featuring many Jamaican-made brands, including many listed above.
» Mico's Art Craft & Things Pop-Up Shop on November 25th
» Christmas Pop-Up at 10A Kingston on November 26th
» Jamaica Art and Gift Festival on November 27th
» My Jamaica's Support Local Saturday Pop-Up Series on December 3rd, 10th & 17th
» SugaLifestyle's Christmas Connection on December 10th
» Christmas in the Garden on December 10th
» AISK's Holiday Craft Fair on December 10th and 11th
» AJP's Art & Craft Fair on December 10th and 11th
» Market at The Lawn on December 11th and 18th
» Merry Little Christmas Pop Up on December 17th & 18th
» Conu'co Market at the Cove on December 4th
» Harmony Hall's Ole' Time Country Christmas Fair on December 17th
» Treasure Beach Holiday Craft Fair on December 17th
» Black River Christmas Market on December 24th
» Market on the Dock at the Wharf House on November 27th
» Pinto Pottery's Open House on November 26th