It’s that time of year again! With Christmas just around the corner, here’s our ultimate list of our favourite products from the Middle East and North Africa, featuring gifts perfect for Arabic students and anyone interested in the region. There’s something for everyone on this list, so if you’re looking to buy thoughtful gifts from impactful brands this year, look no further!
As usual, we have highlighted our favourite social enterprises, small businesses, women-owned businesses and companies doing good in their local communities and the world.
Full disclosure: we’ve included a few of our own products from the Pink Jinn Souq on the list – we’re a business at the end of the day and we happen to think our products are pretty awesome! Not to mention they support local artisans, businesses and charities working with victims of conflict and vulnerable women and girls in the region. Of course, that will never stop us plugging our friends and fellow businesses and brands who are making beautiful products and doing good in the region and beyond. ❤️
Zaytoun is a Community Interest Company supporting Palestinian farming communities by helping to increase the market for their olive oil products internationally, and also by helping the farmers themselves improve the quality of their oil through training and equipment provision.
This gift set consists of Zaytoun’s delicious, best-selling Olive Oil from the land of olive trees in a beautiful presentation box with an added bonus – it comes with certification that a brand new olive tree has been planted in Palestine with the proceeds. The perfect gift for environmentally aware foodies!
This beautiful gift set contains Evelyn Naón’s signature scent, SALALAH, along with her magical Bakhoor for burning at home, incorporating the same gorgeous blend of fragrances. Tracing the trading routes of old, this 100% natural and organic, alcohol-free oil perfume and Bakhoor blend incorporates notes of Salalah frankincense, myrrh, Egyptian geranium, Moroccan rose, Seville lemon, cade smoke, saffron, sandalwood, amber and musk.
The scent was inspired by the ancient frankincense trade between two of the main perfume capitals of antiquity – Salalah on the Arabian Sea and Ibiza Island. 1/3 of the profits go to Saba Relief, which helps vulnerable children in Yemen by keeping them warm during the winter and providing critical access to education.
These simple and stylish dangling square earrings are handmade by Palestinian ceramicist Rania Makhlouf in her studio in Haifa. Each porcelain earring is freely hand-made, resulting in slight differences between the pair in colour, size and details.
Available for purchase from Palestinian lifestyle shop Al Bustan, which showcases the deeply rooted heritage and rich culture of Palestine and the Palestinian people, while making a positive impact and improving the livelihoods of Palestinians.
2020 has been a year of intense struggle, anxiety and division around the world. Turkish novelist and activist Elif Shafak’s recent book is the perfect antidote. In this powerful, uplifting plea for conscious optimism, Booker Prize-nominated Shafak draws on her own memories and delves into the power of stories to bring us together. In the process, she reveals how listening to each other can nurture democracy, empathy and our faith in a kinder and wiser future.
By Limala Amazigh Carpets | Price on request
By Limala is a cultural project and social enterprise selling handmade Moroccan carpets and traditional products made by Moroccan women in the Atlas Mountains. By Limala, founded by Moroccan-German model, performance artist, Postcolonial and Intersectional Feminist Scholar and social entrepreneur Samira Mahboub, uses storytelling and visual narrations to celebrate the art of traditional Moroccan crafts and the artisans who make them.
FALASTIN is a love letter to Palestine. An evocative collection of over 110 unforgettable recipes and stories from the co-authors of the Ottolenghi cookbooks. Travelling through Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, Nablus, Haifa, Akka, Nazareth, Galilee and the West Bank, Sami and Tara invite you to experience and enjoy unparalleled access to Sami’s homeland. As each region has its own distinct identity and tale to tell, there are endless new flavour combinations to discover.
On top of the glorious recipes, the cookbook is an ideal gift for 2020 as people who are unable to eat out as regularly are experimenting more with home-cooking!
‘Ard’ Face Masks by Rami Kashou | $12-$125 USD
Rami Kashou was raised in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, surrounded by traditional crafts such as Tatreez – Palestinian cross stitch. His new range of face masks are inspired by the geometric designs, lavish colours, laborious embroidery patterns and ornate designs that symbolise the different towns and villages of his home country.
As well as being beautiful and unique – and in the case of some of these gorgeous masks, straight up extra! – this range of Tatreez masks is supporting the artisans who make them while preserving an endangered and masterful art.
Language lessons with NaTakallam | Various packages available
Give the gift of conversation this year with NaTakallam – a social enterprise pairing language learners with refugee teachers for one-on-one online tuition. Choose from an array of languages including Arabic, Kurdish, Persian, French and Spanish and give your loved ones something practical this year which also makes an impact on a displaced person’s life. They have a number of different gift packages depending on how much you’d like to spend.
Sitti x Millie Gift Box by Sitti Soap | $60 CAD
Sitti Soap is a social enterprise based in Jordan that creates handmade, natural olive oil soap, inspired by traditional soap making in Palestine. The organisation brings fair-wage employment to Palestinian refugees in Jerash Refugee Camp in Jordan, with the aim of empowering and restoring hope to women refugees.
This Limited Edition Gift Box, containing a collection of Sitti Soap’s signature products, was launched on International Women’s Day this year to raise awareness of the importance of education for women and girls and to work towards Sitti’s goal of funding three university-level scholarships with Hopes for Women in Education. By buying the gift box, you directly contribute to the Hopes for Women in Education scholarship fund for refugee women in Jordan.
Ras Al Hanout is a deliciously fragrant spice blend used in Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine. It is a key ingredient in Moroccan tagines, soups, marinades and other recipes. The name Ras Al Hanout means ‘top of the shop’, which reflects the high quality of the spices – the most expensive spices are usually on the top shelf of the merchant’s shop.
1/3 of the profits of every pack of our Ras al Hanout go to Project Soar Morocco, which works to empower vulnerable and marginalised adolescent girls, providing programs that help girls understand their value, voice, body, rights and path.
#DropEarringsNotBombs Earrings by Muhra | £30 GBP
These stunning earrings from the ‘Drop Earrings, Not Bombs’ collection are handmade in Istanbul using locally sourced materials. They were designed by Pink Jinn in a special collaboration with Muhra, a Syrian women’s social enterprise based in Istanbul which celebrates the growth, strength and resilience of women and provides employment to refugees and women displaced by conflict.
We donate a third of the profits from these earrings to the Hands Up Foundation. They provide education for refugee children in the Bekaa Valley, salaries for health workers at a clinic in rural Aleppo, and prosthetic limbs to amputees on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Hand-Carved Olive Wood Boards – Hilweh Market | From $20 USD
Hilweh Market is a local artisanal boutique and concept store featuring handmade housewares, textiles, and other curated contemporary items from Palestine and the Arab World.
Their olive wood pieces are crafted in Beit Jala and Beit Sahour in small family run carpentry workshops that have been in operation for over 40 years. Each board is expertly hand-carved from solid olive wood, making a durable, multi-functional, and beautiful addition to any kitchen.
Mtallat is a Lebanese artisanal anise flavored beverage, triple distilled from neutral grape spirit in a process that dates back to a 120 years out in the Smar Jbeil area, carrying a soft and exquisite taste.
Choose Lebanon is the world’s first online marketplace and mobile platform created to offer quality Lebanese products across the globe. Choose Lebanon is a non-political, nationwide initiative put together by a diverse team of Lebanese entrepreneurs.
Argan Oil – known as Liquid Gold of Morocco – is produced from the nut of the Argan tree, which grows in the southwest of Morocco. Pink Jinn’s Argan Oil is the purest and highest grade on the market and is certified organic by EcoCert.
The oil is extracted by hand by local Amazigh women working in fair-trade cooperatives. 1/3 of the profits of every sale go to Project Soar Morocco, which works to empower vulnerable and marginalised adolescent girls, providing programs that help girls understand their value, voice, body, rights and path.
This beautiful illustrated hardcover edition of Khalil Gibran’s classic philosophical work is the perfect gift for anyone seeking a little wisdom and optimism this Christmas.
First published in the 1920’s, The Prophet is perhaps the most famous work of religious fiction of the twentieth century, and has sold millions of copies in more than twenty languages. Gibran’s Prophet speaks of many things central to daily life: love, marriage, death, beauty, passion, eating, work and play. The spiritual message he imparts, of finding divinity through love, blends eastern mysticism, religious faith and philosophy with simple advice.
Black Kuffiyeh Socks by Habibi Worldwide | $13 USD
Socks are a classic Christmas stocking filler, but these aren’t just any old socks. Bearing the traditional Palestinian kufiyyeh print, they are an iconic symbol of freedom and resistance. Not only that, but a portion of the proceeds will go to support training and development for budding Palestinian entrepreneurs.
Habibi Worldwide is a social enterprise selling products inspired by the Arab World and designed by Arabs in the Middle East and the diaspora. Their mission is to support entrepreneurial growth in Palestine and the Arab World.
The perfect gift for any coffee lover (particularly if they’re not getting their fix from their favourite coffee shops as often this year!) this collection takes coffee right back to its roots – namely, Yemen. The collection includes three 4oz bags of Yemeni coffee from Al Durrar, Al Wadi, and Al Jabal. They also offer cheaper products if this gift set is outside of your price range!
Port of Mokha was founded by Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni-American from San Francisco who travelled across continents in the face of civil war to revive the ancient coffee trade of his ancestral homeland. Read Mokhtar’s amazing story here. Port of Mokha coffee is among the best in the world and supports the livelihoods of farmers and communities in rural Yemen.
This e-Book by Omani-Zanzibari food blogger Dine with Dina – the self-styled Pomegranate Queen – includes five recipes exploring the flavours of her ancestral homeland, including vegan-friendly, dairy-free and gluten-free options. Her recipes include Omani favourites with modern twists, along with modern favourites created with classic Omani flavours and ingredients such as cardamom and dates.
Nöl Collective Garden Notebooks | From $10 USD
These beautiful notebooks feature stunning designs inspired by a Palestinian garden – figs, olives, pomegranates and tangerines. Nöl Collective is an intersectional feminist and political fashion collective based in Ramallah, Palestine. Nöl is the arabic word for “loom” (نول). A loom is a device used to weave cloth and tapestry. This manual instrument was a crucial element in Palestine’s textile history.
Not only does it smell sacred and luxurious, but Frankincense is a natural remedy used to treat insomnia, anxiety, depression and stress. Omani Frankincense (known locally as Luban) is legendary, and is widely believed to be the highest quality frankincense in the world.
These beautiful, ornate jars contain a mixture of the highest quality pieces of Hojari Frankincense sourced from the Boswellia Sacra tree in Dhofar, southern Oman. A third of the profits from our Frankincense go to Saba Relief to support their humanitarian work in Yemen.
Moor Morocco Babouches | From £75 GBP
Moor Morocco’s Babouches (the quintessential Moroccan shoe) are made in Marrakech using the finest leather. Their beautiful shoes are created according to the traditional Moroccan design, often with a modern twist – perhaps a leopard print tassel or pretty moon and star print.
Moor Morocco was founded by Kate Maryam, who moved to Morocco, fell in love with the country, converted to Islam and later returned to the UK to bring Moroccan designs to a new market. Her business aims to support local artisans and celebrate Moroccan craftsmanship.
Have we missed anything?! We’d love to hear your recommendations for gifts inspired by the Middle East and North Africa. Let us know your favourite products and brands in the comments below!
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