14 Best Kwanzaa Gifts to Give This Year
Not sure what to get that special someone for this Pan-African holiday? These Kwanzaa gifts are sure to be a hit.
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What is Kwanzaa?
Before you start searching for the best Kwanzaa gifts, you might need a quick refresher on the Kwanzaa holiday altogether. Kwanzaa was created in the aftermath of the 1965 Watts Riots—six days of civil unrest that occurred in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts, California, after two Black men were pulled over by a white police officer and violence ensued. Founded by Maulana Karenga, now chairman of Black Studies at California State University, the holiday was established to help strengthen the African American community and honor its roots in Africa.
The seven-night celebration begins on December 26 and is primarily celebrated by African American families. Each night, those celebrating light a candle in the traditional candleholder, the kinara, and discuss one of the seven Nguzo Saba, the Kwanzaa principles—unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
The best Kwanzaa gifts
The holiday is also filled with storytelling, music, food and, of course, gifts! The gifts are generally given among family members on the last day of Kwanzaa, January 1, and are typically creative, artistic, and often handmade items that focus on African heritage and promote the betterment of Black communities.
Are you unsure what to buy as a Kwanzaa gift? We’ve got gifts for her, gifts for him, gifts for kids, and everyone in between. In addition to including items from Black-owned businesses to this gift list, we’ve also included items that lend themselves towards self-care, beauty and comfort. Read on to make sure your whole family gets into the holiday spirit this year.
For the self-care queen: Buttah Skin Transforming Kit
Taking pride in one’s African ancestry is a big part of the Kwanzaa tradition. And honoring melanin-rich skin comes with the territory. The Buttah Skin Complete Skin Kit for melanin-rich skin is among the best Kwanzaa gifts because it includes products that are both organic and suitable for anyone.
For the self-care king: Leave-In Beard Conditioner
Building a stronger sense of community while strengthening the Black family dynamic is another cornerstone of Kwanzaa. And when it comes to self-care, we definitely want to include the men in our lives. The ScotchPorter Restorative Leave-In Conditioner is an ideal gift for men who are a part of the beard gang and love to keep their facial hair healthy and shiny.
For protecting Black hair: You Go Natural Bonnet
Taking pride in African ancestry is paramount to Kwanzaa. And traditionally, within many communities with descendants of the African diaspora, wearing one’s hair in its natural state is a signifier of Black pride. You Go Natural is known for its signature headwraps, turbans and bonnets like the Black Silky Bonnet. Now, your recipient can protect their natural hair in style.
For the home chef: Cooking From the Spirit by Tabitha Brown
It’s no surprise that one of America’s favorite vegan entrepreneurs, Tabitha Brown, has her own cookbook full of delicious plant-based recipes. Its more than 200 pages include easy, family-friendly recipes that work for both family dinners and a Kwanzaa celebration. It’s one of the best Kwanzaa gifts for just about anyone.
For the traditionalist: Kwanzaa 365 Candle Set
Burning candles on the kinara is part of the Kwanzaa tradition, and the Kwanzaa 365 Candle Set includes seven candles that are 10 inches long and have a burn time that ranges between six to eight hours. The candles are hand-dipped and are smokeless.
For teens: Blemish Chaser Facial Treatment
Kujichaglia in Kwanzaa is the principle of self-determination. Learning to build one’s identity as an individual as well as in a community lends itself to having more confidence to go out and attain goals. Skin by Brownlee & Co is a Black female-owned company founded by Sylvia Brownlee, a professional esthetician on a mission to promote confidence in her clients on their journey of achieving healthier skin. The brand’s Blemish Chaser treatment zaps blemishes and helps to control oiliness, so Black teens can see their confidence grow.
For barbecuers: Capital City Mambo Sauce
Home-cooked meals and Black culture go hand in hand. This variety pack of Capital City Mambo Sauce will delight foodies, cooks and those who love to indulge in savory holiday dishes. They’re versatile sauces that work well when whipping together recipes for chicken wings, ribs and even beef dishes, making them excellent Kwanzaa gifts for even the most seasoned chefs.
For beauty fans: Black Radiance True Complexion Creme Contour Palette
Finding makeup well-suited for medium to dark skin tones has been a long-standing issue within the beauty industry. However, the Black Radiance makeup line has long been a staple within many Black communities. And for the holiday season, the Black Radiance Creme Contour Palette in medium-dark is a definite must-have—because all holiday fashionistas deserve beautiful makeup.
For children: My First Kwanzaa
This sweetly illustrated children’s book helps pass the tradition of Kwanzaa on to the next generation. It uses bright, bold colors to discuss the origins of Kwanzaa, and explains the delicious food and fun festivities associated with this holiday. Written by Karen Katz, an incredibly popular picture book author, My First Kwanzaa isn’t just for those celebrating the holiday but for any family looking to increase their children’s cultural awareness and understanding. It makes a great gift for kids.
For fashionistas: Africa Map Pendant
The celebration of Kwanzaa is rooted in African tradition, and this Art Deco-inspired pendant showcases the elegance of the culture the holiday was meant to celebrate. Handmade from gold-plated stainless steel, this necklace might be the perfect gift for your best friend. Or if rings are more their style, check out this elegant Africa outline map ring.
For the host: Kwanzaa Decoration Banner
Celebration banners are a great way to get the whole family excited about Kwanzaa. These fun Kwanzaa decorations can be hung across a mantel, buffet table, wall or any other spot in the home. This would make a great gift for your mom who’s hosting the holiday!
For the scrapbooker: Kwanzaa Party Favors
These party favors, which you can get as buttons or magnets, are sold in 15-count packs and are imprinted with celebratory messages, including “Happy Kwanzaa” and “Joyous Kwanzaa.” These Kwanzaa gifts add a little bit of flair and fun to a family celebration, and kids and adults alike will love walking away with a memento of your celebration, which they can save and display for years to come.
For the decorator: Kwanzaa Reversible Learning Blanket
This soft and plush blanket makes a great Kwanzaa gift. It outlines the seven principles of Kwanzaa and their meanings on one side and displays a kinara on the other. It can also work as a tapestry or wall hanging and is perfect as beautiful, functional home décor.
For new parents: My First Kwanzaa Onesie
Have a little one celebrating their first Kwanzaa this year? Mark the occasion with this personalized onesie. Gift it to their adoring parents as a way to mark the memory, and choose from sizes newborn to 18 months and short or long sleeves.
With additional reporting by Dana Robinson.
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