For those who don’t know yet, Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture. It usually lasts for a week from December 26 to January 1. Kwanzaa traditions were based on an African festival that was originally held during the harvest season. In 1966, Kwanzaa was first celebrated and now it has become an annual tradition for the African-American community.
In the US, African-American communities celebrate Kwanzaa for seven days. They do it through several traditions such as lighting up Kwanzaa candles every single day throughout the week. Families decorate their houses with African art and decorations. They also celebrate it through dance, music, and most importantly, storytelling. On the sixth day, they hold a communal feast called Karamu. And on the seventh day, they exchange gifts.
Kids were the main gift recipient but families nowadays exchange gifts for the whole family member. The gifts should highlight creativity, hence handmade artistic African related items are preferable. People can also buy the gifts as long as it is not too expensive and still incorporates some kind of African cultural heritage on them.
With that being said, the following is a list of the best ideas for a Kwanzaa gift to get for the whole family.
1. Kwanzaa Candle Holder
The seven candles are one of the main symbols of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa candles consist of one black candle in the middle representing the people, the three red candles represent the blood shed in the past struggles, and the three green candles represent the earth and abundance. A candle holder can be a good idea for a Kwanzaa gift option, especially when it is made by an African artist like this one.
2. Giraffe Cuff Bangle Gold
Giraffe, with its long neck reaching into the heavens, symbolizes the ability to see the future and obtain things that seem out of reach. This Giraffe bangle is exquisitely brought to life by a detailed sculptured surface finely decorated with swarovski crystals and hand painted enamel. This wearable art makes a great gift to celebrate the Kwanzaa tradition.
3. Handmade Fulani Earrings
Adorn these gorgeous earrings to show off your loved one’s worth as the Fulani people of Africa used to. They originally designed bold jewelry to wear every time they go out to depict their worth. These earrings make a nice handmade Kwanzaa gift that can make a statement for everyday occasions.
4. Kwanzaa Mug
Whether you drink coffee or tea during the Kwanzaa celebration, you can do it with none other than a Kwanzaa mug. Hence, this mug makes a great Kwanzaa gift idea. Especially since it features Kwanzaa traditional art patterns on it. It looks great and can be used every day after the Kwanzaa celebration is over.
5. Kids Tee Kwanzaa Clothing
Comfy, cool, and fun, this Kids Kwanzaa Tee is perfect for day-to-day wear. Handmade with soft wear resistant fabric, it will give kids bold style during the Kwanzaa. It is carefully handcrafted to ensure the quality and you can expect kids to be utterly happy to receive it as a gift.
6. Kwanzaa Decorations T-Shirt
And for adults or older kids, you can get this comfy Kwanzaa t-shirt. It features the Kwanzaa symbols including Kwanzaa candles and unity cup. This t-shirt comes in unisex box style making it suitable for men and women at any age. You can even get a bulk for the entire family to match during the Kwanzaa festivities.
7. Olive Wood Communion Cup
The Union cup is also a symbol of Kwanzaa. Each day during Kwanzaa, water, wine, or juice is poured into the kikombe cha umoja, or unity cup. Everyone sips from the cup to symbolize the unity of the family and community. That is why getting a union cup is a great gift idea. You need to keep in mind that this cup is a miniature and serves the symbolism purposes only and not meant for the tradition itself.
8. Black African Doll
This doll can only amaze kids with its silky hair and adorable clothing. Your child will be so happy to receive it as a gift. The doll’s soft hair is manually fixed. Her body is flexible and resistant and made of PVC, making the doll harmless and environmentally friendly. It is a nice gift option for kids who celebrate Kwanzaa.
9. Dining Table Placemats
One of the main things to do in Kwanzaa tradition is having a community feast. And there is no better way to hold a Kwanzaa feast other than by using an African traditional dining place mat. These place mats feature dancing African women that look gorgeous and will make any dining table pretty.
10. Tapestry Table Runner
And why not match the table runner with the place mats? This table runner also features dancing African ladies making it match the place mats perfectly. It will make a fantastic traditional Kwanzaa gift for mom or other family members. They will be able to use it during the Kwanzaa feast or any other family dinner all year long.
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11. Umoja Soft Coasters
Umoja in Kwanzaa means unity. It is supposed to be a way for families and the whole community to unite together. It is usually done by sipping drinks from the unity cup. And how can we do that without an appropriate Umoja coaster? Get this soft coaster as a gift for family and they will be able to use it right away.
12. Kwanzaa Necklace with Pendant
Kwanzaa is about keeping the community together and growing stronger. And it can be represented by a Kwanzaa pendant as the one featured on this necklace. It is a gender neutral necklace and will make a great idea for a Kwanzaa gift for both men and women from younger kids to adults. Such a fun way to celebrate the Kwanzaa tradition while being fashionable.
13. African Throw Blanket
Even people who don’t celebrate Kwanzaa will love to get this blanket as a gift. Because yes, it is that gorgeous. It will make you feel like you are being hugged by a high art. It provides a warm cover while having a soft and gentle touch. Perfect as a cozy throw blanket for the sofa, office, couch, and bed.
14. Kwanzaa Party Candy
Putting a Kwanzaa gift basket together? You shall not forget the candies. And these stickers will help you to achieve the ultimate Kwanzaa party candies that can be served during the feast or as gift basket filler. Both kids and adults will love to have these candies as desserts or to take home for later.
15. Kwanzaa Coloring Book
Keeping the tradition fun and entertaining for kids can be done through a fun coloring book. It can be a fun way to educate children regarding the tradition and its importance. You can spend time with your kids to create a better family bond while they color the pictures in this book. They might ask questions regarding the holiday and it can be a great opportunity for you to give them the information they need.
16. African Print Aprons
And for people who love to cook, these traditional African printed aprons can be a fantastic gift idea. It is made with 100% cotton African Ankara wax fabric. It features a front pocket that provides functionality they will find useful in the kitchen. With the bright color, each piece will add spice to their culinary life especially when they are preparing Kwanzaa food.
17. Wooden Bead Necklace
If you opt for a traditional Kwanzaa gift idea, you can get this wooden necklace that looks so stunning by combining both traditional and modern design. The neutral colors make it suitable for any occasion and will make its wearer appear more stylish and carry good vibes everywhere they go. It is enough as a statement while keeping it low profile and not too much.
18. Trinity Wooden Cuff
Another statement jewelry piece that looks so cool yet keeps it neutral. The interlocking bands get their distinct colors from the varieties of wood that are used: Cherry, Maple, and African rosewood. The bracelet flexes to slide onto your wrist, and naturally relaxes with the warmth of your body to provide the perfect fit. A perfect gift option for men and women of any age.
19. Black Celebrations Cookbook
Got a friend or family member who loves to explore black recipes or just wants to cook some special Kwanzaa food? This book will get them covered. Food writer and author Nicole A. Taylor brings readers a first-of-its-kind cookbook melding the traditional African American table with modern flavors, stories, and dishes. It includes more than 75 mouthwatering recipes, essays, and personal anecdotes. She even includes a resource list that guides readers to BIPOC-owned sauce, spice, and mix companies.
20. African Fonio Pilaf
An ancient grain from West Africa, fonio is a delicious, nutritious addition to just about any meal. This gift set will make any family member or relatives day. It cooks into a light and fluffy pilaf in mere minutes and pairs deliciously with just about anything making it a nice gift option for both professional cooks or people who barely master the art of cooking.
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21. African Wall Decal
Spice up any room before the Kwanzaa celebration with these colorful decal stickers. It can be a nice gift option for interior design enthusiasts, especially those who are intrigued by the traditional African culture. These decal stickers feature bright colored stickers in dancing African ladies style and will turn any boring wall into a statement wall with ease.
22. Traditional African Pillow Case
Spice up the room with some African traditional vibe with these pillow cases. It will make a great traditional Kwanzaa gift for literally anyone. The pillow cases feature bright colors highlighting the traditional African characteristic while the base color remains neutral allowing it to go with any interior design. It is a nice gift idea alternative, and they will be able to put it on every corner of the house.
23. Traditional African Dashiki Shirt
Looking for a true traditional Kwanzaa gift? This dashiki shirt can be a nice option to get. It will be so perfect to wear on the big day celebration. It highlights the traditional pattern while also keeping up with the modern style. A man in your family can wear it on the big day and the other guests will be jealous of hw fabulous they look.
24. Woven Tapestry Throw Blanket
Woven tapestries haks become a part of African tradition from a long time ago. And getting some kind of woven tapestry can be a great gift option for Kwanzaa celebration. This tapestry is made out of high quality material making it super great as a gift. It can be used as wall tapestry as well as a throw blanket and it will make such a huge difference in any room.
25. Celebrate Kwanzaa Book
Understanding a tradition can’t be done without intensive reading and research. And this book is a great start for people who are just about to learn the Kwanzaa tradition. It is a great gift for younger kids to start learning the tradition. With lively text and beautiful photographs, this book celebrates African-American culture and helps us to understand and appreciate this special holiday.
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What gifts do you give for Kwanzaa?
Maulana Karenga, the founder of Kwanzaa, states that Kwanzaa gift ideas should include two items: a book and a heritage symbol. The gifts are given based on commitments made and kept. Buying gifts is also an option, but they should be inexpensive, culturally themed products and purchased from black-owned businesses, which satisfies another principle, Ujamaa, cooperative economics.
Do you give gifts each day for Kwanzaa?
No, gifts are usually exchanged on the last day of Kwanzaa. Each of the 7 days of Kwanzaa focus on 1 of 7 core values, also known as Nguzo Saba and the gifts are meant to be exchanged on the last day of January the 1 or after the family enjoys the Karamu feast.
What are gifts given on the last day of Kwanzaa called?
The gifts given on the last day of Kwanzaa are called Zawadi (the gifts). It is one of the seven symbols of Kwanzaa and represents the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children. The gifts are meant to boost creativity, empower the community and not as a way to substitute the parents’ love towards their children.
What do kids get for Kwanzaa?
According to Karenga, kids are the main gift recipient in Kwanzaa. The gift should incorporate something that is educational and includes African traditional symbolism such as African tapestry, books, or African dolls. It is preferred that the gifts are handmade. But nowadays, parents can also give kids store bought gifts as long as they are not overly expensive and still carry African tradition and also empower former African-American business owners.