15 Best Kwanzaa Gifts
If you’re not sure what to get that special someone for this Pan-African holiday, you’re in the right place!
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Find just the right thing
Before you start searching for the best Kwanzaa gifts, you might need a little primer on Kwanzaa itself. The holiday was born 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. Maulana Karenga, now chairman of Black Studies at California State University, created the holiday the following year 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 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 the Black community. Not sure what to buy? We’ve got some ideas!
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My First Kwanzaa
This sweetly illustrated children’s book helps pass the tradition of Kwanzaa onto the next generation. It uses bright, bold colors to discuss the origins of Kwanzaa, as well as explain the delicious foods and fun festivities that are 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. How else should you expand your kids’ library? With these 13 age-appropriate books about race.
Kwanzaa Celebration Set
The best Kwanzaa gifts are the ones that help you enjoy the season in style, and no celebration of Kwanzaa would be complete without a traditional celebration set. This one from African Heritage Collection is the perfect gift to buy someone who’s celebrating for the first time—or to buy for yourself. It not only includes a beautifully carved kinara handcrafted in Ghana; it also comes with a kinara cup, seven candles, a mat, and an information sheet. It’s literally everything you need all in one handy package. Here are more things you might not know about Kwanzaa.
Kwanzaa Countdown Wood Blocks
Countdown to December 26th! This festive wood block set helps build anticipation for Kwanzaa. It adds the perfect touch of holiday joy to your Kwanzaa home decor, and it makes a great tabletop centerpiece. It can also add a decorative look to any shelf or mantel. If counting down is your thing, you might also want to pick up one of these advent calendars.
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 her style, check out this elegant Africa outline map ring.
Crocheted Kwanzaa Mkeka Mat
The festive colors of red, black, and green add cultural flare to any home during Kwanzaa. In case you were wondering, here’s what these traditional Kwanzaa colors symbolize: The black represents people of African descent, the red symbolizes the struggle of the people, and the green represents hope for the future. Crocheted and constructed of acrylic yarn, this mat can be used to display the kinara, or you can buy a few and use them as placemats for the holiday or throughout the year to brighten up any dining table. Looking for something different? Check out these gifts from Black-owned businesses we really want.
Kente African Ornaments
Many families celebrate Kwanzaa as well as Christmas, and these ornaments are versatile enough to give as gifts for either holiday. They can be festively hung from the branches of a Christmas tree or showcased together in a glass bowl as Kwanzaa decor. You’ll get a set of three large ball ornaments covered in a colorful African Ankara print. To get creative yourself this season, try making these easy DIY Christmas decorations.
The Kwanzaa Coloring Book
Trying to decide if you should get this gift for a child or a grown-up? Get one for each! This super affordable and creative gift is less than $7, and it will keep the kids busy while teaching them about the holiday—and also help adults attain a little bit of zen. The pages are filled with Kwanzaa symbols and traditional African scenes and patterns. For other budget-friendly holiday ideas, take a look at these stocking stuffers under $10.
Kwanzaa Greeting Cards
Kwanzaa gifts are known for spreading love and joy, and these 18 greeting cards do just that. They feature glowing candles on the front and have a simple inscription on the inside: Rejoice: As your home softly glows with all the warmth and love that comes from sharing this special time. When writing your own personal sentiment, make sure to follow these holiday card etiquette rules.
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, a buffet table, a wall, or any other spot in the home.
150 Kwanzaa Recipes
What’s a holiday without some seriously amazing food? Acorn Squash Stuffed with Curried Meat, Blacked Catfish, and Luscious Coconut Cake are just a few of the recipes that you’ll find inside this comprehensive Kwanzaa cookbook. Salads, soups, and vegetable dishes round out the collection to make your mouth water. You’ll want to make these dishes all year long, not just for Kwanzaa. Now who’s up for some Spicy African Peanut Soup with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Coconut Banana Fritters? You’ll also be celebrating the new year during the tail end of Kwanzaa, so you might want to check out these 13 New Year’s Eve foods to eat for good luck.
Kwanzaa Garden Flag
Let the whole neighborhood know that your Kwanzaa festivities are about to commence! These celebratory flags are weatherproof and constructed of fade-resistant fabric that will not fray with continued use. Pick up a few for yourself or give them as a hostess gift.
Happy Kwanzaa Amazon Gift Card
There are so many Kwanzaa gifts to choose from, and it can be hard to select the right one for a friend or family member. To make your life easier, Amazon offers Kwanzaa-themed gift cards available in any denomination. They can help the spirit of the season last all year. Need a gift card ASAP? You can print out this one, or you can buy Amazon gift cards at these locations.
Kwanzaa Celebration Gift Basket
What’s more festive than a gift basket? This 18-piece Kwanzaa celebration gift basket includes a kinara and candles, a unity cup, a mkeka mat, an artificial muhindi (ear of corn), and a handmade wooden mancala game, as well as crafts for the kids to make and give to their family members as gifts. And it comes packaged nicely with pretty gold ribbon, so you don’t have to do anything except order it. If you had a different type of gift basket in mind, try one of these holiday food gifts everyone will love.
1619 Honor Our Ancestors T-Shirt
This tee emblazoned with 1619 in the colors of the African flag denotes the year that slaves were first taken from their homeland and brought to America. It acknowledges the unique struggle of African Americans throughout history and provides a starting point for discussion and greater understanding. Here are more gifts for men they’ll truly appreciate.
Kwanza 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.” They 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. Still looking for just the right thing for Christmas? Try these 105 unique gifts for everyone on your list—including the people who are impossible to shop for.
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