It’s been a few years since I’ve done one of these, but the holidays are upon us and I’ve found the perfect gifts for your amigos y familia. Here are a few of my suggestions! (Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation or samples of any of the gift ideas featured – I just love them and think you will too!)
“Bonita y Bien Cachimbona” post card from Yeiry.com, $1 (Check out the website for even more awesome items.)
De Centroamérica a Westlake Con Amor mug from Dichos de un Bicho, $15
Central American birds large canvas bag from Dichos de un Bicho, $20 each
La Horchata Zine is “a seasonal publication featuring artists of Central American ancestry.” So far they have published 4 zines which have all sold out, so keep an eye out for a new one! $15
Each of these Huipil Patchwork Cosmetic Bags from The Hunger Site are handmade from recycled cotton Huipil by women seamstresses in Guatemala. Fair trade, $18 each (and each purchase provides 50 meals for those in need.)
Nature and color mix in this sweet storage basket from The Hunger Site which you’ll want for your desk top or kitchen. Handwoven by women artisans in Nicaragua, this rectangular basket is constructed using fallen pine needles, bound into tight coils with colorful threads sourced from the local market. Each is a unique work of art, and your purchase helps preserve a timeless artistic heritage. Fair trade, $12 each (and each purchase provides 50 meals for those in need.)
Add a touch of color and originality to your personal style with this handbag ($74.99) or shoes ($50.99) inspired by Fernando LLort’s art. Both items are handmade by Coco Canela, a small family business from El Salvador, and are available alongside prints and other art at Fernando-Llort.com
By lending as little as $25 via Kiva, you can help people around the world create opportunity for themselves and their communities. Even better? Kiva is the gift that keeps on giving because every time the loan is repaid, you can re-lend it to someone else. My friend Ana once gifted me $25 to lend on Kiva years ago. I’ve now been able to re-lend it 13 times!
Have someone on your list who loves kids and cares about education? $15 on The Hunger Site buys three months’ worth of school supplies for children in Bolivia.
Here’s one for the boricuas! This “De La Isla” bracelet comes in gold, rose gold, or silver. Made in Puerto Rico by Aguja Local. $24.99 each
Mmmm. Are you ready for this guava fans? Palitos de Guayaba are “ultra-thin and very aromatic artisan made cookies prepared with a guava paste base.” Their texture is both crunchy, and at times chewy. Made in Puerto Rico by Enhorabuena Inc. $22.95
Look at these incredible handmade paper flowers! Made in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, these colorful “gigantic miracle flowers” are $32 each. Check out MexicanSugarSkull.com for other varieties including roses and very realistic looking Marigolds/Cempasuchil. Prices vary.
There are so many amazing books being published with Latinx characters that it’s hard to keep up with all of them. I wish there had been this many when my kids were young! And the really fantastic thing about more and more of these books by Latinx authors, illustrated by Latinx illustrators is that the diversity portrayed has started to reflect reality.
Check out the Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Picture Books featured above at the links below. (By the way, for each book purchased on Better World Books, they donate a book to someone in need.)
The Chupacabra Ate the Candelabra by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ana Aranda (Picture Book)
Lucia the Luchadora and the Million Masks by Cynthia Leonor Garza, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez (Picture Book)
My Big Barefoot Book of Spanish & English Words by Sophie Fatus (Picture Book)
Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López (Picture Book)
A Surprise for Teresita / Una Sorpresa Para Teresita by Virginia Sánchez-Korrol, illustrated by Carolyn Dee Flores (Picture Book)
Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (Middle Grade)
Lucky Luna by Diana López (Middle Grade)
The Moon Within by Aida Salazar (Middle Grade)
Blizzard Besties by Yamile Saied Méndez (Middle Grade)
The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez (Middle Grade)
Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes (Middle Grade)
Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya (Middle Grade)
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Young Adult)
Us, in Progress: Short Stories About Young Latinos by Lulu Delacre (Young Adult)
I don’t think you can go wrong with Chuao chocolate, at least I haven’t had a bar I didn’t like, and I’ve tried almost all of them. (Although I will say, the bars in the “salty” category are my favorites, and I prefer the ones made with dark chocolate over milk chocolate, but that’s personal preference.)
Chuao is the first Venezuelan chocolatier based in the United States. They are ethically sourced, plus they are free of artificial preservatives, additives, colorings and flavorings. You can find the bars in a few locations, but in my experience the choices are limited in stores, so I recommend checking out the website, especially since they appear to be offering a deal right now that allows you to get 4 bars from the Signature Collection for $20 by using the code “4BARS” at checkout.)
I wish I had planted a nice, strong tree in my backyard years ago so I could hang up one of these hammock swing chairs. If you’ve got a spot for it, how can you resist?
Mirna Hernandez is the name of the Nicaraguan artisan who made this beautifully crafted hammock swing chair ($89.99) but if it’s sold out by the time you click, no worries. There are others created by this same artisan, and many more styles on Novica.com from Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, and El Salvador with prices starting at $39.99
I may have to buy a new jean jacket just to wear this “Pupusas Por Vida” pin by Mimster Shop Co. Get it on Etsy for $9
This Guatemalan Worry Doll Mirror is a best selling product for MayaWorks. “In the tiny Guatemalan hamlet of Comalapa, eight women of the Agua Caliente [artisan group] hand weave the colorful fabric and handcraft the Handmade Fair Trade Guatemalan Worry Doll Mirror. These skilled Mayan weavers create the colorful fabric of the worry doll mirror on the foot loom. The foot loom is handmade using local labor, and requires no electricity to run, saving precious resources.” Maya Works, $16 each
Amigas Leg Warmers are made in Peru of an alpaca blend. Hand knit in colorful Peruvian motifs, these do run small so you may want to order them for younger girls on your list. Fair trade. $24.98 per pair via serrv.org
Created by a father and daughter team after years of studying the flora native to their home country El Salvador, Shuchil soaps are handmade and fair trade. You can buy one of three scents for $5: Patchouli & Orange, Lavender & Vanilla, or Goat Milk, Honey & Vanilla. Or get the set of 3 for $14 via Global Girlfriend
For the traveler in your life: This handmade airplane charm bracelet is made by the artisans of Sapia in Colombia. $8.99 each via Ten Thousand Villages
This pretty pom pom garland is made in Mexico and is a must-have to cheer up your office space. Fair trade. $15 each via TEYSHA
Woven and hand-stitched in small Guatemalan home workshops supplying fair wages to skilled artisans, every Hiptipico collar is $59 and directly helps their street dog rescue efforts in rural Guatemala.
You can find Día de Muertos/Difuntos decor anywhere these days, but if you check the label you’ll find most of it is made in China. Why don’t you support artisans who are culturally connected to the tradition instead? These sugar skull ornaments are made in Mexico and are fair trade. $10 each on Lumily
I created these post cards which feature the national flowers of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The Pablo Neruda quote translates to “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” All proceeds I make from this post card will be donated to the organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras to help provide shelter and safety to refugees in transit from Central America to Mexico and the United States. $2.29 each via RED BUBBLE
Okay, I know I have a few Spanish teachers who read this blog. This one is for you. How cute would these canvas print slip-on shoes be for the classroom? Sure to get compliments from your students, no matter what age you teach. $39.99 via GrooveBags.com
Growing up I had penpals around the world, and seeing those airmail envelopes with the red and blue striped border in my mailbox when I got home from school would make even the worst day a little bit better. If you have a sweetheart who’s love language is letters, Letters To My Love is the perfect gift. “This innovative format invites romantics to declare their affection to their beloved in 12 fold-and-mail letters to be opened in the future.” Forget text and email, let’s get old school. $12.54 via Amazon
If you know someone who loves the Spanish language, (like, REALLY LOVES IT) and wants to know everything about it, ¿Por qué? 101 Questions about Spanish by Dr. Judy Hochberg ($26.95 via Amazon) is the book to gift them. I know Judy via her blog at spanishlinguist.us where she delves into some fascinating topics, using her PhD in linguistics to share her knowledge in a humble way that will appeal to linguists at every level.
Brown Sugar & Canela is your shop for Central American merch. I love this logo so much. Pictured is the long-sleeve shirt ($40) and the sticker ($4). They also have a selection of products to show your Afro-Latina and/or Garifuna pride. Limited stock, so get it now while you still can!
Last, but not least, I want to give a little shout-out to my friend Maricela’s new venture. It’s not quite open yet, but check out La Milagrosa Co. on November 11th when they launch for handmade items from her hometown of San Juan de Los Lagos, Jalisco, Mexico.