More than the shopping mall skating rinks and the Christmas markets, we love the little things about the holidays: the crackling sound of a fire, the dash of cinnamon on our cocoa, the card from loved ones far away…
And sometimes it’s the little things in wrapping paper that make our hearts skip a beat. While we’re all for shopping responsibly, and less, we also love spoiling our dear ones with a few well-chosen gifts at Christmas. That’s why every year, we create a list of items made in Greece that we would love to find under our trees on Christmas morning (or, as is the custom in many Greek households, on January 1st).
This year, we made a Covid-friendly shopping guide, with mostly items that can all can be purchased online, so you can get a little bit of Greece for your loved ones for Christmas, no matter where you are in the world.
Alchemia Dove Soaps
These dove-shaped soaps from Alchemia were designed in collaboration with the Museum of Cycladic Art, and inspired by ancient Cycladic marble art.
The sea salt-scented white dove, made with donkey milk, contains fatty acids which help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and regenerates damaged skin. The black dove, on the other hand, contains activated charcoal, which cleans the skin of dirt and blackheads, and aloe vera, which moisturizes and nourishes.
Ancient Kallos Bouboulina Collection Sweater
This beautiful Merino wool sweater with gold embroideriy from Ancient Kallos is part of their Bouboulina collection, dedicated to the 200-year anniversary of the Greek revolution. The designs feature elements from the costumes, embroideries, and patterns worn by Greeks at the time. The pattern on the sweater on our wish list in particular, is inspired by the traditional “fermeli” vest worn by the presidential guard.
“Fotinoula and the Christmas Goblin” by Robert Fraser-Green
This book is a perfect gift for any child aged 9-12, who likes a slightly scary story. Set in Athens, it tells the tale of a girl’s battle to save her little sister from the “Kallikantzaros”, an infamous goblin which, according to Greek myth, lives underground but comes out during the twelve days of Christmas. With plenty of references to Greek holiday customs, such as the “kalada” carols, Christmas treats and the smashing of pomegranates, this book also provides a healthy dose of nostalgia for expat parents who wish they were spending the holidays in Greece.
The Wandering Workshop stacking toys
These minimalistic stacking toys from The Wandering Workshop are handmade from FSC-certified European beech wood in the company’s workshop on Crete. There are many designs available, but we particularly love the boat and waves, as well as the cloud and weather toy for young toddlers, and the versatile fruit bowl and swinging umbrella for slightly older kids. They arrive to you gift wrapped in recyclable materials.
Tip: Your toy can be personalized with the name of the child upon request.
Ergon Mykonos bookend
Clothing brand Ergon Mykonos also creates a selection of home design items inspired by Greek tradition and history. This stylish bookend, available in light and dark grey, is inspired by the traditional antefixes (or “akrokeramo”) you’ll see on buildings all around the country.
Currently number 3 on the Worlds 50 Best Bars list, a visit to The Clumsies is a must when you’re in Athens. But you don’t actually need to be there to sample their cocktails anymore. Five of their most popular concoctions, the perfect Clumsy negroni, the sparkling blue Aegean negroni, the Nostalgia, the Forbidden fruit, and their Strawberry daiquiri, are also available bottled, and can be delivered to you wherever you are. Each bottle contains enough for two to share, and is the perfect gift for the drink connoisseur in your life.
My Greek Games 1821 Board Game
A special board game, created by My Greek Games for the bicentennial of the start of the Greek war of independence, “1821 Journey to Freedom” is the perfect gift for someone you plan to spend many evenings with this holiday season. Recommended from 8 years and up, it can be played by 2-4 people.
Zolotas Cosmos charm
Lucky charms are traditionally gifted at the end of the year in Greece to bring good fortune, prosperity, and health in the next, and many designers create new charms for each year. Jewelery brand Zolotas’ charm for 2022 features symbols of ancient Greek astronomy; they described the orbits of celestial bodies as perfect circles, representing wholeness and perfection. The charm’s description reads: “The radiant Cosmos charms, bearing the symbols of the circle of wholeness, the sun and the moon, will light our new year up, bringing to 2022 fullness and harmony, balance and peace.”
The charm is available in silver and gold, with or without precious stones.
Helessence GE Concrete Candle
As taught by Netflix’s most popular holiday production this year (“Love Hard”), scented candles aren’t just for girls. This pretty candle from Helessence comes in a hand-carved, anthracite concrete cup, and has a delicious masculine smell, featuring sandalwood, leather, tobacco and honey. It’s made with vegetable wax and has a burning time of 50 hours, so it will definitely last you through new year’s.
Kooreloo Olympia Bag
The name of this popular brand, the Greek word for rag rugs, reflects its story; first turning heads with their bags made out of colorful rag weave. This was designer Leila Karr’s way of honoring tradition and marrying handmade, locally-sourced materials with modern design.
Many bags are still made with textile weaves, and all of their handbags come with their trademark lining, a depiction of the goddess Athena. Meanwhile, the designs are also unapologetically trendy. Their limited edition “Olympia” bag combines several of the season’s trends, including a chain detail, a curved bottom, and bright, popping colors (it’s available in emerald green, royal blue, black and ivory), while also incorporating traditional braids made by The Benaki Museum in Athens.
Madame Shoushou Scrunchies
Every garment from Madame Shoushou’s F/W 22 collection resembles a love story from the past. A lace blouse brings to mind promises of love on the porch of a farm house, the rosy flower prints the innocence of a first love, the velvet a mature second love. There’s the prom dress, the black dress of the young, beautiful widow, and then there are the scrunchies – once the epitome of innocence, now back in vogue. These hair accessories are perfect for turning a simple bun into a statement do.
Aesthet Eye Ring
Eye charms, meant to deflect the evil eye, are popular charms every year. Many gift wall decorations with the eye to protect a home during the new year, but we prefer the kind you can wear, just to be on the safe side (read about the custom here). This dainty little ring from Aesthet is made with 14 karat gold, and embellished with a glass eye bead. Contact the store to get your size made.
Ode to Socks Evil eye design
Socks may be the traditional fallback gift for when you can’t think of anything special, but socks from this Greek brand are actually fun to get. The socks on our wish list this year are their evil eye design. After all, after 2020 and 2021, we need all the good fortune we can get, and if these colorful socks help ward off evil eye, bring it on. As an extra plus, they’re unisex.
Eleni Kanellopoulou Pitcher
€67.50 (on sale, down from €75)
This handmade ceramic pitcher by Eleni Kanellopoulou was inspired by motifs seen on items in the Benaki Museum’s exhibition 1821 Before and After, celebrating the bicentennial of the Greek revolution. A beautiful gift, we imagine it on our garden tables this spring, filled with water or lemonade.
Acropolis Museum Decorative Dove
Designed by Treis Grammes Ceramics, this delicate hanging dove was inspired by the bird sitting on the hand of the “Lyon Kore” (nicknamed so because the original upper part of her body is currently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon in France since 1810), which stands in the museum’s Archaic Acropolis Gallery. It’s a great gift for anyone who loves archeology and art.
Shop at the museum gift store.
Featuring images from all around Greece which highlight the country’s diversity, from the dragon lakes of Mount Tymfi to the Cycladic islands, this 2022 calendar made by travel photographers Maritina Laskaridou and Konstantinos Pappas, is the perfect present for a friend who loves to travel. Measuring 47,5x32cm, the almost mythical landscapes depicted become an impactful statement piece, and once the ear is up, they can easily be transferred into frames to be used as permanent wall art.
Shop via Etsy here.