7 handcrafted gifts with beautiful stories
The best gifts always have the best stories. It might be an in-joke, something nostalgic, or a reminder of good times. It might also be a gift that you just know they’ll love, something with a story behind how it was made or where it came from. A gift they can think about, appreciate, and treasure.
#JustFriday is all about making conscious shopping choices – thinking about the impact of what we buy on the makers, the earth, and the people we’re buying for. We want to gift good feelings, not just more clutter or throwaway novelties.
So, if you’re planning to start Christmas shopping around Black Friday, why not choose a handcrafted Christmas gift with a powerful story behind it? Everyone deserves a space curated to be the most beautiful it can be. A home highlighted with pieces full of meaning, heart, and soul. The best gifts last forever, just like the best stories.
Need some inspiration?
Sometimes the most special gift is a gift you can share together. Romantic nights in, family parties, happy memories. And these handcrafted asymmetrical glasses are designed to defy gravity – they’re perfectly imperfect, full of character, and nuzzle cosily in the palm of your hand.
These handcrafted wine glasses have been mouth-blown into a mould by expert glass artisans at Ngwenya Glass in Swaziland. Their ethical workshop is an environmentalists dream – they shape the glasses by melting down waste jam jars and soft drink bottles they gather themselves from the four corners of Swaziland. Ngwenya Glass also work with local schools to empower children with a sense of environmental mindfulness.
This handwoven alpaca throw is the equivalent of giving the gift of a hug. It’s the home furnishings that add the personal touch to a room, after all. Maybe you can't be together this Christmas, or you're thinking of spending the festive season snuggling on the sofa, you can't beat the feeling of curling up with a soft, all-natural blanket.
This alpaca throw has been handcrafted by traditional weavers in Peru. Creating these throws is exceptionally time consuming. The first step is to spin the yarn from locally-sourced alpaca fibre. The weavers then spend two days preparing the warp and setting the loom. Once this is done, the artisans weave the throw into one long strip of fabric, before creating the fringed edges. Though there might have been a few upgrades in terms of health and safety, this process has remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
When you’re looking for a piece of jewellery for someone it can be difficult to know where to start! What’s their style? What colours do they like? Choosing jewellery or fashion for someone can be a confusing, and while a classic pendant necklace might be a safe option, you want it to be special too. This handwoven sisal and silver necklace is a miniature work of modern art with a rustic twist. Only 1% of the woven pieces are judged to be ‘gallery worthy’ and made into these pendants. It’s like carrying a little tapestry around with you, wherever you go.
This necklace (and the co-ordinating earrings too) has been handmade by expert weavers in Swaziland. At Tinsaba, a group of 20 master weavers develop and support over 1,000 local weavers in artisanal jewellery-making and basket weaving. The women work their magic in close-knit groups throughout Swaziland, weaving their stories, experience, and character into every piece.
Good gifts really do last forever, and this eco-leather satchel is designed to accompany you on all future adventures. It’s this sort of timeless bag that’s ideal for the commute, seeing the world, and all your everyday adventures. The leather’s designed to age with you, so no-one’s satchel will age the same way as yours. If you’re looking to gift the perfect piece of handcrafted fashion, you can’t get more personalised than this.
This eco-leather laptop satchel has been handmade by artisans at Sheong Shi Tannery, who’ve designed every aspect of their process to be as natural, sustainable, and kind to people and the earth as possible. Their workshop is even designed so that they can let in as much natural light as possible from dawn until dusk! These artisans are experts in avoiding the use of harsh chemicals, using natural tanning methods, and minimising their emissions and energy consumption, meaning that this satchel is as natural and kind to the earth as can be.
Looking for an extra special gift for children that won’t be a throwaway fad? Traditional toys take us back to our own childhood, while connecting all the generations of a family yet to come. Crafted to last, these vintage-inspired toys should last for years, lighting up a playroom or toybox with their timeless design and hand painted details. Where will the bus take you?
It’s the expert toy makers at Gospel House Handicrafts in Sri Lanka who’ve handcrafted this traditional wooden bus. Breathing life into ancient Sri Lankan wood carving traditions are only part of the organisation’s aims. They also provide safe employment and learning opportunities to young adults in the local area, nurturing their self-belief and confidence.
Recycled Bicycle Bookends
Buying for a book-lover or steampunk fan? Looking for a gift for the man who has everything? These recycled metal bicycle bookends symbolise all the journeys in the books and novels between them. Each bicycle chain has already seen miles of adventures, and now they’ve travelled around the world to meet you too.
These eco-friendly recycled bookends are handcrafted by expert artisans at Noah’s Ark in Moradabad in India, a region renowned for its long history in metalwork. The artisans work on the ground, welding the old bike chains into quirky sculptures and homewares. Noah’s Ark are all about sustainability – repurposing scrap materials and showing local craftspeople that their skills and experience is appreciated all around the world.
Crewel Work Cushion Cover
Give the gift of thoughtful home décor with a piece of handcrafted home furnishings that also happens to be a piece of original art. This crewel work cushion cover is an ideal gift for an embroidery enthusiast, cultural buff, or someone setting up a new home.
Crewel work is an ancient form of embroidery which has been practiced for over 1,000 years. A crewel needle is used to free-stitch a design with wool yarn, creating bright and beautiful timeless tapestries.
The women who embroidered this crewel work cushion cover are members of traditional small crafts communities in India. These intimate gatherings of craftspeople collaborate with Sasha Handicrafts, a fair trade organisation found in Kolkata. Sasha always put people before anything else, and support the artisans to make real treasures which reflect both the rich embroidery history of India as well as the character of the artisan herself.
Explore our range of handmade Christmas gifts to discover a whole new world of stories, creativity, and culture. This #JustFriday, remember to buy with thought, shop with love, and take home some new stories.
After all, the best stories last forever, just like the best handcrafted gifts.