12 Palestine-produced gift ideas from the place where Christmas started

Published December 6th, 2015 - 04:35 GMT

It's countdown to Christmas, with only 18 shopping days left.  Or maybe you don't celebrate Santa, but are still in the market for an unusual present. Take a tip from Al Bawaba and steer away from the malls. Instead look at these unique gift ideas that "keep on giving" by supporting artists and craftspeople and NGOs across Palestine.

Go old school this year and buy direct from the artisans of Palestine - the place where Christmas began.

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Marmoush poetry bangle

This chunky olive wood bangle features a snippet of wisdom from Palestian poet Mahmoud Darwish, "in accordance to your dreams, the universe expands" /على قدر حلمك، تتسع الارض Order from Nadya Hazbunova's Etsy shop called NH Fashion ($34).

silver olive leaf bracelet

Designer Nadira Alaraj and the Kattan family silversmiths create incredible jewelry in Bethlehem, selling online through their Facebook page, "Silver Zaytouna Jewelry". Designers cast individual olive leaves in sterling silver from molds that are only used once, rendering unique objects such as these delicate hoop earrings ($44.95).

silver olive leaf necklace

A single olive leaf, hand-carved in brass, is suspended from a black leather cord, making a stunningly simple necklace. The piece is part of a "back-to-nature" line made by a women's cooperative just outside of Jerusalem, and sold from online shop "Made in Palestine". Find them on Facebook ($42.95).

calligraphy t-shirt

Slap some Palestinian pride across your chest with this unisex T-shirt that comes in white or black. Designer Nadya Hazbunova collaborates with Arab calligrapher Kareem Dabbah on shirts featuring Palestine maze font. She sells her 100%-made-in-Palestine products at her Etsy shop called NH Fashion. Model not included! ($22).

keffiyeh dress

The iconic Palestinian keffiyeh becomes an elegant evening gown produced by Hebron's famed Hirbawi factory - the last local maker of the original headscarfs. (Most that you see in souks and touristic shops are now manufactured in China!) Why not make a political AND fashion statement? Sold via Disarming Design www.disarmingdesign.com ($45).

embroidered dresses

Little girls' sundresses hand-embroidered in a rainbow of colors are on sale at Jerusalem-based NGO Sunbula. The fair-trade group works with the craftswomen of the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children in Gaza. These limited-supply beauties are not yet on their online store, but contact them directly to arrange purchase and shipping.

olive wood bowls

New, and also at Sunbula, these beautiful bowls are carved out of local olive trees by artisans of Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative, their Bethlehem partner. Prices on request.

authentic keffiyeh

The Kufiyeh Project promotes the iconic headscarf as a symbol of national struggle for justice. In 2000, there were over 120 textile factories scattered across the West Bank, now only the Hirbawi Factory remains in Hebron, the last authentic Palestinian manufacturer. Go to www.kufiya.org to order from dozens of patterns and colors ($20).

subjective atlas of Palestine

Artists Annelys de Vet and Khaled Hourani invited Palestinian photographers and designers to map their country as they see it. Their impressions of the landscape, architecture, food, music and poetry give an entirely different angle on a nation under occupation. Sold via the Disarming Design website ($16.95).

palestine townscape scarf

Designer Tariq Salsa enters Palestine only with the occupier's permission, collecting images of checkpoint stops, settlements, and abandoned houses. He prints scrambled images of his country on scarfs, so people can take a bit of Palestine everywhere they go. Available on Disarming Design website and at their pop-up stores ($100).

sun

This pretty bag is made with hand-woven cotton from the Old City of Jerusalem by the Idna Ladies Assoication, embellished with traditional embroidery patterns. Its wooden handles are made by craftsmen from Bethlehem. See other styles on the NGO Sunbula website ($41).

trees for life

Skip the gift and donate instead. Since 2005, "Trees for Life: Planting Peace in Palestine" gives olive tree saplings to Palestinian farmers to offset the enormous olive grove destruction by the IDF, settlers and the illegal Annexation Wall. Growers near Jenin, Nablus and Salfit each receive 25 to 50 tree. Give at www.zatoun.com.

Marmoush poetry bangle
silver olive leaf bracelet
silver olive leaf necklace
calligraphy t-shirt
keffiyeh dress
embroidered dresses
olive wood bowls
authentic keffiyeh
subjective atlas of Palestine
palestine townscape scarf
sun
trees for life
Marmoush poetry bangle
This chunky olive wood bangle features a snippet of wisdom from Palestian poet Mahmoud Darwish, "in accordance to your dreams, the universe expands" /على قدر حلمك، تتسع الارض Order from Nadya Hazbunova's Etsy shop called NH Fashion ($34).
silver olive leaf bracelet
Designer Nadira Alaraj and the Kattan family silversmiths create incredible jewelry in Bethlehem, selling online through their Facebook page, "Silver Zaytouna Jewelry". Designers cast individual olive leaves in sterling silver from molds that are only used once, rendering unique objects such as these delicate hoop earrings ($44.95).
silver olive leaf necklace
A single olive leaf, hand-carved in brass, is suspended from a black leather cord, making a stunningly simple necklace. The piece is part of a "back-to-nature" line made by a women's cooperative just outside of Jerusalem, and sold from online shop "Made in Palestine". Find them on Facebook ($42.95).
calligraphy t-shirt
Slap some Palestinian pride across your chest with this unisex T-shirt that comes in white or black. Designer Nadya Hazbunova collaborates with Arab calligrapher Kareem Dabbah on shirts featuring Palestine maze font. She sells her 100%-made-in-Palestine products at her Etsy shop called NH Fashion. Model not included! ($22).
keffiyeh dress
The iconic Palestinian keffiyeh becomes an elegant evening gown produced by Hebron's famed Hirbawi factory - the last local maker of the original headscarfs. (Most that you see in souks and touristic shops are now manufactured in China!) Why not make a political AND fashion statement? Sold via Disarming Design www.disarmingdesign.com ($45).
embroidered dresses
Little girls' sundresses hand-embroidered in a rainbow of colors are on sale at Jerusalem-based NGO Sunbula. The fair-trade group works with the craftswomen of the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children in Gaza. These limited-supply beauties are not yet on their online store, but contact them directly to arrange purchase and shipping.
olive wood bowls
New, and also at Sunbula, these beautiful bowls are carved out of local olive trees by artisans of Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative, their Bethlehem partner. Prices on request.
authentic keffiyeh
The Kufiyeh Project promotes the iconic headscarf as a symbol of national struggle for justice. In 2000, there were over 120 textile factories scattered across the West Bank, now only the Hirbawi Factory remains in Hebron, the last authentic Palestinian manufacturer. Go to www.kufiya.org to order from dozens of patterns and colors ($20).
subjective atlas of Palestine
Artists Annelys de Vet and Khaled Hourani invited Palestinian photographers and designers to map their country as they see it. Their impressions of the landscape, architecture, food, music and poetry give an entirely different angle on a nation under occupation. Sold via the Disarming Design website ($16.95).
palestine townscape scarf
Designer Tariq Salsa enters Palestine only with the occupier's permission, collecting images of checkpoint stops, settlements, and abandoned houses. He prints scrambled images of his country on scarfs, so people can take a bit of Palestine everywhere they go. Available on Disarming Design website and at their pop-up stores ($100).
sun
This pretty bag is made with hand-woven cotton from the Old City of Jerusalem by the Idna Ladies Assoication, embellished with traditional embroidery patterns. Its wooden handles are made by craftsmen from Bethlehem. See other styles on the NGO Sunbula website ($41).
trees for life
Skip the gift and donate instead. Since 2005, "Trees for Life: Planting Peace in Palestine" gives olive tree saplings to Palestinian farmers to offset the enormous olive grove destruction by the IDF, settlers and the illegal Annexation Wall. Growers near Jenin, Nablus and Salfit each receive 25 to 50 tree. Give at www.zatoun.com.

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