Alternative Christmas presents for friends and family
From jewellery to chocolates and cookware, there’s something for all tastes this festive season
As this year’s festive season gets under way, we’ve curated a hand-picked guide of alternative yet thoughtful gifts for friends and family of all ages. Our list includes Christmas favourites such as chocolates and grooming products, but also cookware and spices and chutneys for budding chefs. We have also selected children’s toys and hand-embroidered jewellery. All the gifts in this list are made by Muslim-owned businesses or social enterprises where profits directly benefit Muslim communities around the world.
Our Place has taken social media by storm in recent months, amassing more than one million followers across Instagram and TikTok following a collaboration with US actor and singer Selena Gomez. The range of kitchenware includes pots and pans in a variety of pastel hues, all of which have a non-stick ceramic coating that is free from potentially toxic materials such as PFOAs and cadmium. Of note is the brand’s Traditionware collection, which aims to celebrate and honour cultures from across the world. This includes a Moroccan tagine, the Flipping Platter — ideal for maqluba, a Middle Eastern dish with layers of rice, meat and vegetables, or tahdig, Persian-style rice with a crispy golden crust — and a hand-woven steaming basket.
Zaytoun is a UK-based social enterprise that sells a variety of foodstuffs and bath soaps that are ethically sourced from farmers in Palestine. The products are intended to showcase the rich heritage and culinary tradition of Palestinian people, and all profits are reinvested in the farms. Zaytoun is currently offering a range of Christmas gifts, including extra virgin olive oil, za’atar, bath salts and olive oil soap. The team at Zaytoun recommend their fudgy Medjoul dates, grown by farmers in the Jordan Valley.
Nadiya’s Simple Spices
Nadiya Hussain’s latest cookbook is the ideal gift for budding home chefs. The collection presents a series of easy-to-follow recipes for breakfasts, lunches and dinners, which the Great British Bake Off winner says are inspired by her mother and grandmother’s cooking. Highlights include Peshwari naan, “back of the fridge pakoras”, yoghurt chicken, crispy leek biryani, badam cheesecake and iced caramel bay tea. Staying true to the cookbook’s name, all the recipes require the use of the same eight spices: cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, chilli, bay leaves and curry powder.
Founded in 2015 by sisters Deena and Shazida from north London, Mubarak London sells more than 40 luxury food hampers for all your gifting needs. There’s hampers for chocolate lovers, newlyweds and new parents, and all products are either Halal-certified or suitable for Muslims. We recommend the After Dinner Delights hamper, which includes a selection of savoury biscuits, cheese, chutney, chocolate, nuts and coffee.
London-based brand Desi Doll sells a range of educational toys for young Muslim children. The brand stocks interactive dolls for both boys and girls, some of which are dressed in religious and cultural attire including thobes, abayas and hijabs. The dolls can recite verses from the Qur’an in Arabic, English, French, Turkish and Malay. Desi Doll also sells cushions and pillows that play bedtime and morning supplications, and puzzles designed to help children learn the Arabic alphabet.
Launched in 2017, Zousz specialises in oud-based beard products including oils, shampoos and fragrances. We recommend the Black Oud beard grooming kit which includes the brand’s signature oil and beard shampoo. The shampoo is free from parabens and SLS, which can be irritating to sensitive skin, and the oil is fragranced with oud sourced from Aquilaria trees in South-East Asia, and formulated with a range of nourishing ingredients including Argan, apricot and avocado oil.
S jo sells a large collection of jewellery, accessories and clothing. The brand was founded by textile designer and weaver Seher Mirza. Concerned by the deterioration of the traditional textile crafts industry in her home country of Pakistan, Mirza now employs a group of women from villages in Sindh who handcraft her signature jewellery in return for a fair-wage income. Pieces in the collection include statement pom pom earrings adorned with red stone and gold beads, and a choker with red and blue embroidered discs.
Get the Hyphen weekly
Subscribe to Hyphen’s weekly round-up for insightful reportage, commentary and the latest arts and lifestyle coverage, from across the UK and Europe