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  • Writer's pictureSarah Miles

A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide 2023

After five years of showcasing Jamaica's finest locally-made brands, this year's gift guide might be the most special one yet!


When I curated the first ever A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide five years ago, I would have never imagined that it would turn into the phenomenon it is today. I am overwhelmed every year with the support and reception this post generates and it's an honour to have readers message me months in advance sharing how excited they are for the upcoming gift guide. More importantly, seeing the brands featured in past renditions grow and excel in their craft is inspiring!


For the fifth year of the gift guide, I was determined to make it the most spectacular one yet and it's safe to say that this year's post holds a special place in my heart. Believe it or not, preparation for the gift guide starts once the previous year's is published. I avidly keep an eye on local brands year-round and typically start writing the guide around September. However, when September arrived this year, I felt a bit hesitant.


Over the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to pinpoint what made curating this year's gift guide so challenging at first. There are so many incredible local brands available and I take pride in writing this post so what was preventing me from putting pen to paper - or rather fingers to keyboard?


Looking back, I can now reflect that it boiled down to a few factors. Firstly, I noticed that a lot of brands which I had hoped to include in future editions of the gift guide were no longer operational which was heartbreaking. Additionally, some newer brands still needed some time to flourish and come into their own while others seemed a bit too repetitive and similar, product and branding-wise, to other brands that I've included in the past.


I always strive to include brands in my gift guides that are truly one-of-a-kind, ones that are paving the way for our local industries and are, first and foremost, something I'd be excited about as a shopper! At first, I began to feel nervous that the locally-made options islandwide were starting to plateau but instead took this as an opportunity to push myself to go above and beyond to do my research and discover and uplift Jamaican brands that made me feel inspired - the entire premise of the gift guide since its conception.


That being said, I'd like to invite you to indulge in A Jamaican-Made Christmas Gift Guide 2023! For the fifth anniversary of our annual and beloved post, I took it back to its roots - fifteen proudly Jamaican-made brands that make me feel inspired. Please enjoy and don't forget to check out previous years of the gift guide for endless shopping inspiration and must-have gifts from phenomenal local brands.


This Christmas, indulge in gifts for the: Yaadie Living Abroad, Carnival Chaser, Minimalist, Recent Graduate and Secret Santa.

 
FOR THE: Yaadie Living Abroad

Christmas is that time of the year when we're finally able to reunite with friends and family who return home for the holidays - aka the Yaadies Living Abroad! While our time together may be short but sweet, make sure to gift them a present that will help them bring a piece of home back to foreign.


THE ARTISTIC MERMAID

Fall in love with The Artistic Mermaid, a brand quite literally sculpted by local artist, Anna-K Cuffe, that celebrates the splendours of our beautiful yet vulnerable marine environment through handcrafted ceramic pieces. From starfish to brain coral and sea urchins, the goal of their exquisite collection is to raise awareness about the threats that our ecosystems, specifically coral reefs, face. Their colourful clay pieces come in a variety of shapes and sizes perfect for any home - speaking as someone who has their pieces in my own home.

Personally, one of the things that I missed the most about Jamaica when I lived away was its natural beauty, our island's greatest asset. The Artistic Mermaid's ceramic pieces will help one feel connected to Jamaica and the magnificence of the Caribbean Sea even miles away. Whether it's an elaborate reef structure or a smaller but stunning sea anemone or starfish, this is a phenomenal present that any Jamaican, yaad or abroad, would be thrilled to add to their home and will cherish for years to come.


Where to find them: You can find Anna-K's work on Instagram @theartistic.mermaid or online at www.theartisticmermaid.com. Some of her smaller pieces are also available in-store at My Jamaica where she will also be part of their Support Local Saturdays pop-up series on December 2nd.


BUG

Rushane Drummond, known to many as Bug, is a professional sign artist based out of Westmoreland beloved for his selection of clever and quintessentially Jamaican works of art. His art can be found on paintings, wooden signs, ludi boards and more! Bug centres his iconic pieces around a variety of elements from our culture, incorporating our language, favourite drinks and quotes from local greats, such as Bob Marley, into his vibrant and eye-catching pieces.

Sign-making is such an important, and often overlooked, aspect of our culture - specifically, dancehall culture. It's not only a means of communication but also a medium where Jamaican artists have been able to express themselves in public spaces. Jamaican sign artists are masters at their craft, consistently producing eye-catching and captivating pieces, and Bug is no exception to this rule. A piece from Bug is a one-of-a-kind gift idea that any loved one living abroad would take pride in putting on their walls.


Where to find them: Keep up to date with Bug on Instagram at @bug_art_sav or on their website at www.bugartsav.com. You can find a selection of his bottle and quote paintings and ludi boards at My Jamaica in Liguanea Plaza.


LIKKLE TEA

Hush, drink Likkle Tea, a local tea company that captures the richness of our island's culinary culture and natural flavours through their loose-leaf teas and tisane blends. While Jamaica may be best known for its coffee worldwide, true Jamaicans know that a cup of tea is the cure to anything, including homesickness - and Likkle Tea is placing Jamaican tea on the map. Their exquisite teas are handcrafted in small batches with organic and locally sourced herbs and botanicals, such as lemongrass, sarsaparilla and vanilla beans.

While I've mentioned Likkle Tea on the blog in the past, they definitely deserve to be highlighted in the Gift Guide. As a picky eater, I was thrilled to fall in love with their teas in the past and would highly recommend their blends to anyone. Likkle Tea's teas are captivating not only in their taste but their lovely eco-friendly packaging including bags and canisters, featuring bright colours and truly Jamaican names such as Coconut Pone, Rock Steady and Portland Bliss.


Where to find them: Follow Likkle Tea on Instagram @likkletea or shop online at www.likkletea.com. A variety of retailers across Jamaica also feature their teas in store, such as My Jamaica, The Courthouse Gallery and The Life Store. They will also be at My Jamaica's Support Local Saturdays on December 9th.

 
FOR THE: Carnival Chaser

This year, I played mas for the first time in Trinidad and can finally attest to why revellers are addicted to that feeling. For some, carnival doesn't finish on Ash Wednesday but is a year-long - and very expensive - love affair. These gifts are essential in any carnival junkie's collection, must-haves on and off the road.


DESIGNS BY NNESSA

Designs by Nnessa is an up-and-coming Jamaican designer known for her work in collaboration with local carnival band, YardMas, on a variety of their costumes alongside her own collection of custom wire bras, one-pieces and even feathered wings. With so many designers emerging islandwide, what sets Designs by Nnessa apart? Not only is her craftsmanship and attention to detail spectacular but she works with her customers to execute their vision and see their designs come to life.

As a carnival chaser, it's safe to say that you can never have too many 'Monday Wear' pieces in your repertoire. Many carnivals, such as Trinidad, St. Lucia and Antigua, now have unofficial but widely followed Monday Wear days. Nowadays, these custom looks have also expanded beyond the road and there are now multiple fetes with dress codes designated to this look. Plus, we've all heard of carnival horror stories and it can't hurt to have an extra bra or piece on hand - especially one as jawdropping as one of Nnessa's.


Where to find them: Follow Designs by Nnessa on Instagram @designsbynnessa to get in touch to bring your own custom piece to life.


BEAU'AMORD COLLECTIONS

Whether it be a fete or on the road, having the perfect bag for carnival is crucial and Beau'Amord Collections' handmade clutches and purses are a go-to in my closet. From bright solids and versatile neutrals to exciting patterns that liven up any outfit, their bags are skillfully crafted and available in a variety of styles. My personal favourites are their gorgeous wristlets as they're the perfect size and weight that doesn't become a nuisance to hold onto two hours into a party.

One of their most popular products amongst revellers is their thigh bag, a hands-free option that comfortably hugs one's thigh thanks to its adjustable snap straps staying in place no matter how hard the fete. I love this product as its straps are so convenient to take on and off and its zipper makes it so easy to access but, most importantly, secure your items. A gift from Beau'Amord Collections will be used and last through thick and thin - speaking from experience with a foldover clutch from 2015 that's still going strong.


Where to find them: Beau'Amord Collections can be found on Instagram at @b.a.collections. A variety of their purses are also available in-store at My Jamaica in Liguanea Plaza.


RELLINE CO

Shine bright with Relline Co, a beauty and wellness brand that boasts a variety of products that are the epitome of self-care. They offer a wide range of luxurious products for the body, face and hair, including scrubs, creams, masks and more! Their products make carnival prep easy, targeting a variety of problems, from razor bumps to discolouration. Beyond carnival prep, Relline prioritises holistic living and encourages self-love - something that we should practice at all times and not just in the months leading up to carnival.

One of my favourite products of theirs, which I think would be a great addition to any carnival toiletry bag, is their Soft Life Shimmer Body Oil. Talk about turning heads on the road or at a fete! This moisturising oil is lightweight, smells phenomenal, will soften skin and create an eye-catching glow wherever it's applied. It is available in three glistening scents and shades that complement every skin tone. Relline's products are popular for a reason so make sure to look out for restocks to beat the rush.


Where to find them: You can shop all things Relline Co on Instagram @relline.co and online at www.relline.co via their informative website.

 
FOR THE: Minimalist

Finding the perfect fuss-free present for the minimalist can be challenging, especially, when their first response is that they 'don't need anything'. These brands will take your gift-giving to the next level with their products that are simple but spectacular, complementary to any minimalist's lifestyle.


SUSANCIA

Susancia is a local jewellery brand whose dainty and simple pieces will undoubtedly become a go-to in any minimalist's wardrobe. Their line of earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings are skillfully handcrafted in Jamaica utilizing materials such as fine silver, sterling silver, 14k gold-filled and, most recently, solid 14k gold. Their collection includes clean, elegant designs which are versatile and always in style. From geometric shapes to subtle pops of colour from natural gemstones, a Susancia piece is an infallible gift for a minimalist.

My favourite Susancia piece in my collection is their Initial Necklace which I was able to personalise with my initials and a gemstone of my choice! This necklace like many of their other products is a fantastic layering piece allowing one to mix and match their jewellery without looking too cluttered. While I am a maximalist by nature, I gravitate towards more minimalistic jewellery and I can attest that my Susancia pieces are a staple in my collection that I love to wear for so many occasions.


Where to find them: Get in touch with Susancia on Instagram @susancia where they take orders via DM and shop their products on November 25th at Veeva Home's A Christmas Pop-Up.


CARIBBEAN BOTANIST

Choosing a gift for the minimalist's home can be intimidating but Caribbean Botanist's line of candles makes it approachable. Their soy wax candles are encased in simple cement vessels that are a piece of decor in itself and will match any home's aesthetic. Beyond their design, their candles exude tranquillity and luxury into one's home with relaxing scents, including Spice Rum Cake and White River, that are an ode to our island's many natural aromas using essential and fragrance oils, such as sandalwood, bamboo and vanilla.

Minimalism as a practice encourages being conscious about our consumer practices and values the simplicities of life and the purpose of objects that we use on a daily basis. At its core, Caribbean Botanist is a minimalistic brand. Their scents aren't by fluke but are intentionally curated to convey a calm and peaceful feeling whenever they're lit and their vessels are created with a durable material that can be repurposed and used around the home in a variety of ways.


Where to find them: Keep up to date with Caribbean Botanist on Instagram @caribbeanbotanist. You can also shop their candles in-store at KW Bloom Box, The Life Store and online at Carib Shopper.


TAYLOR NICOLE

In search of your new favourite swimsuit? Look no further than Taylor Nicole, a swimwear brand that is the place to go for a clean, seamless look that will transcend beach days. Their swimsuits are all handmade in Jamaica with Italian Econyl, a regenerated nylon fabric made from waste that is not only great for the environment but has a snug, flattering fit. Taylor Nicole's made-to-order swimsuits are often released in collections, each drop introducing new colours in a variety of their signature styles.

Taylor Nicole's swimsuits are a perfect fit for any minimalist's life. Not only are they timeless but they are multi-purpose. Some of their one-piece designs, such as their Away suit, are designed to resemble and be close-fitting like shapewear and definitely could be used as a bodysuit! As a slow fashion brand that only creates its suits based on demand and chooses to use recyclable fabrics, they are also a great example of how minimalism as a practice can be incorporated into a business to generate real change.


Where to find them: Follow Taylor Nicole on Instagram @taylornicoleja to virtually shop their made-to-order swimsuits.

 
FOR THE: Recent Graduate

Congratulations! Now what? Speaking from experience, graduating from university can be one of the most exhilarating yet confusing times of one's life. Fall in love with these presents that will equip your loved one in this transitional period while simultaneously making them look forward to the exciting things ahead.


ROAST BY BRESHEH

What screams 'adulting' more than your very first work bag? Roast by Bresheh's handcrafted line of vegan leather bags is the ultimate work bag for a reason. All of Roast's bags are purposefully and functionally made taking its user into account. From padded shoulder straps to ensure maximum comfort to built-in compartments and water-resistant materials to protect one's personal effects, every element of their design is intentionally made - which is why they have a 10-year wear guarantee.

What sets their bags apart is their capacity to be used in both professional and personal means. Their products can be used on the go for any and every occasion, from knapsacks and backpacks that are great office bags to duffles perfect for country trips and pouches that can be used as an organiser for inside their bags. Their bags are available in an array of sleek cool tones and classic neutrals that will suit any wearer with the option to personalise some of their pieces, namely their pouch, with one's monogram.


Where to find them: Follow Roast by Bresheh on Instagram @roastbybresheh and shop their products, alongside e-gift cards, online at www.roastbybresheh.com.


SO YUH GOOD DOH?

So Yuh Good Doh? is a Jamaican mental health journal that is an essential in any recent graduate's life. Journaling can be intimidating but So Yuh Good Doh? makes it easy with their guided questions and prompts alongside heartwarming Jamaican affirmations that are so encouraging. The goal of this journal is not only to help one nurture and take care of their mental health but encourage mental health conversations islandwide - something that is so desperately needed in Jamaica.

Keeping track of one's mental health is always important but is also so crucial during a transformational time in one's life, such as the months following graduation and entering the 'real world'. Speaking from experience, I was thrown into days without a set routine for the first time in my life. I had a journal similar to the format of So Yuh Good Doh? and something as simple as journaling daily and reflecting on my feelings in a safe space made the world of a difference. I'm so thankful to now have a local alternative to grow with.


Where to find them: Check out So Yuh Good Doh online via their website and follow their author, Alicia Edwards, on Instagram @alicialedwards. Their journals are available in store at My Jamaica.


KINGSTON WOODWORKS

Curate the workspace of one's dreams with Kingston Woodworks, a self-taught Jamaican brand focusing on custom furniture and wooden products. Their pieces are skillfully handmade with locally sourced wood with a diverse and extensive product list ranging from home decor to signs and even giant games! The possibilities of what they're able to build are countless but their floating wooden shelves are definitely one of their most popular items - perfect to help organise the recent graduate's life.

Kingston Woodworks helps to bring your custom designs to fruition and offers a variety of products that will create an organised and cohesive environment to work from, whether one is settling into a new workplace or is remodelling one's work-from-home station. One of my favourite products of theirs is their wooden catch-all trays. They come in a variety of sizes and are an incredible way to declutter one's desk while still having everything within reach.


Where to find them: Follow Kingston Woodworks on Instagram @kingston_woodworks and check out their How To Order story highlight to get started.

 
FOR THE: Secret Santa

While Secret Santa is often proposed to ease the struggles of Christmas shopping, it can also create them - especially when you draw a name that you weren't expecting. Thankfully, these incredible brands provide a diverse range of gifts that will make choosing a present for any name in the pot effortless.


NATIVE DESIGNS

Spoil your secret Santa with a piece from Native Designs that will certainly become a staple in their day-to-day collection. This jewellery brand boasts a wide selection of luxurious bracelets, necklaces, earrings and more featuring durable materials, such as stainless steel. Native's most enchanting pieces, however, are those featuring earthly components, namely freshwater pearls, shells and gemstones - each of which holds its own special properties which benefit the wearer. For example, ametrine is said to relieve tension.

A gift from Native will impress any name that you draw from the secret Santa pot, including men! There are multiple options for men available, such as gold link bracelets and matte obsidian beaded stretch bracelets. They also offer an assortment of miscellaneous items, from wine bottle stoppers to tea strainers and keychains, adorned with their captivating gemstones and beads. However, my favourite thing about Native is that their collections all complement each other, making it so easy to mix and match their pieces.


Where to find them: Check out Native Design's work on Instagram @nativedesignsja. Shop a selection of their products in-store at My Jamaica, where they will also be part of their Support Local Saturdays pop-up series on December 9.


SHAN-QUILL DESIGNS

Introducing Shan-Quill Designs, a Jamaican brand specialising in quilled paper art that is crafted to perfection. This intricate art form utilises strips of paper which are skillfully manipulated into a variety of ways to construct elaborate masterpieces. Shan-Quill's handmade creations are bespoke pieces that add character and life to any space. From lifelike bouquets to marine life, it is truly amazing to see what ornate designs can be created from pieces of paper!

Each quilled piece is a one-of-a-kind work of art that is customised to each customer. One can choose to personalise their creation from a variety of themes and designs typically centred around one's initial, name, logo or even photo! Shan-Quill also offers framing for their pieces which adds a sophisticated and polished look that ties everything together. This is a phenomenal custom gift for any secret Santa as it feels special and tailor-made to their interests without requiring much information.


Where to find them: Find Shan-Quill Designs on Instagram @shan_quill where you can contact them via DM to create your own custom piece!


BIRD'S NEST

Elevate your next meal with Bird's Nest's selection of gluten-free dry rubs that will make cooking fun and hassle-free. Their delicious rubs are made with natural herbs and spices, including rosemary, thyme, scotch bonnet and more. From Smokehouse to Dockmaster and Jamaican Dry Jerk, each of their four rubs has a distinctive and addicting taste that can be used on a variety of meats, seafood and even vegetables - a versatile gift for anyone regardless of their food preferences.

Food items are such an amazing go-to when shopping for a secret Santa, especially if it's someone that you don't know that well - and you can't go wrong with Bird's Nest. Personally, I've gifted their rubs before and have only received positive feedback! The perfect addition to any pantry, their gourmet rubs are fun to experiment with in the kitchen regardless if someone is a beginner or an experienced chef. Their website includes a variety of recipes that go well with each rub and are definitely worth checking out.


Where to find them: Follow Bird's Nest on Instagram @birdsnestja or check out their website and find a variety of their spice rubs in stores islandwide, such as Butcher Block, and select supermarkets.

 

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 a plethora of Jamaican-made brands, many of which have been listed above.


KINGSTON/ST. ANDREW

» Veeva Home's Christmas Pop-Up on November 25th

» Ashley Variety Store Pop-Up Event on November 25th

» My Jamaica's Support Local Saturdays Pop-Up Series on December 2nd, 9th, 16th & 23rd

» Christmas in the Garden on December 2nd

» The Market on December 2nd

» AJP's Art & Craft Fair on December 9th and 10th

» SugaLifestyle Sip, Taste & Shop on December 9th and 10th

» Market at the Lawn on December 10th and 17th


ST. ANN

» Conu'co Market at the Cove on December 3rd


TRELAWNY

» Pinto Pottery's Open House on November 25th


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4 Comments


Eva Miles
Eva Miles
Nov 25, 2023

Fabulous as always, Sarah. It’s always a thrill to discover new Jamaican brands through you 😊

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Sarah Miles
Sarah Miles
Nov 25, 2023
Replying to

Thank you mum <3

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tyrapaynetap
Nov 25, 2023

So very well curated, every single year 😍

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Sarah Miles
Sarah Miles
Nov 25, 2023
Replying to

Thank you so much for the continuous support, Tyra! <3

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