Another Holiday Gift Guide! But... Small South Asian Brands Edition!
I know you're probably sick of seeing these lists of holiday gift guides by now (especially if you're already done your holiday shopping during Black Friday sales), but for the sake of SEO and supporting small businesses owned by South Asians, please humor me and browse the guide below.
Ornaments, Kids Stocking Stuffers & Cards
The puns don’t stop with pjs – Pyarful offers holiday and New Year’s greeting cards with punny sayings such as “Kheers to the New Year” and “2020 Motto: You can Ladoo it.”
To put a desi twist on the more traditional holiday decorations, the smaller Baby Ganesh or Hanuman from Modi Toys can take center stage on a fireplace next to a wreath—or as a stocking stuffer, as well.
Los Angeles-based mehndi artist Neha Assar has translated her talent to creating gorgeous, personalized ornaments with your name or phrase and colored glitter. Bolo Bolo Baby also offers a great ornament to feature multicultural roots, with ornaments with names in English on one side and Hindi or Gujarati on the other.
Reshma from Hello Lavender has not only created affordable crocheted holiday ornaments, but she also knits eveything from sweaters, socks, hats and decor!
Adult Stocking Stuffers & Host/Hostress Gifts
Why should your kids and your home have all the fun?
Kitchen Guerilla, a line of marinades, hot sauces and dry rubs started in the kitchen of Toronto chef Roshan Kanagarajah and inspired by his Tamil roots, make a great stocking stuffer for adults.
Former MasterChef contestant-turned-cookbook author Hetal Vasavada of Milk and Cardamom has launched her 12 days of holiday desserts series, where she shares recipes for mouthwatering goodies such as rose shortbread cookies.
Austin-based Madhu Chocolate also offers chocolates, combined with Indian flavors such as saffron milk and masala chai, that are perfect for parties or stocking stuffers.
Long Beach-based artist Gopi Shah Ceramics’ mugs, bowls and planters are the perfect host gift – and each piece is handcrafted and inspired by the California landscapes, bringing a sunny vibe to wintertime.
Books & Experiences
If you prefer gifting experiences, there are still ways to support up-and-coming South Asian performers. The Bay Area is hosting a number of South Asian comics at two Desi Comedy Fest events in late January. Sri Lankan-British comic Romesh Ranganathan has a whopping 40 shows in the UK in 2020, and NYC-based singer, songwriter, composer and violinist Harini of Rini Music is performing in Chicago in January.
Rianjali’s EP, “Home,” is releasing on December 20th – just in time for Christmas! This singer, songwriter and composer has performed for the likes of AR Rahman and U2. No big deal.
For the active people on your list, ClassPass, founded by Payal Kadakia, is perfect for those who’d like to try out several workouts before settling on any one (or never settling!)
For gifting books by South Asian authors, the list is endless, from the more popular names, such as Rupi Kaur, Tanuja Desai Hidier and Jhumpa Lahiri, who often write about the unique South Asian experience (note: Unaccustomed Earth is my favorite book of anytime anywhere, ever), to authors writing about other things who happen to be South Asian, such as, Dr. Taz Bhatia’s health books and Priya Parker’s “Art of Gathering.” Other fun reads include Zara Raheem’s “The Marriage Clock,” which many can relate to and, of course, Mindy Kaling’s “Why Not Me?” and “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?”
Lark Adventurewear offers its breathable bamboo baby and toddler clothes in a holiday-inspired Let it Snow pajama set for children from 3 months until toddler.
Hava, a Chicago-based, Indian-inspired children’s clothing line, offers the perfect pieces for a family photo shoot, from its velvet Misha dress to its Sachi kurta and pant sets to its Kai vests.
Little West Street, founded by a NY-based Indian mom, offers an entire holiday collection, from Santa pjs and onesies to reindeer towels to themed throw pillows – and each and every item is totally available to personalize.
Paper Samosa offers its signature pun-wear in holiday themes, such as “Kal ho na ho ho ho,” “Om Santa Om” and “Dilwale Dulhania Sleigh Jayenge,” while Kushiya Designs offers its own punny Christmas sweaters with phrases such as “Jingle Balle Jinge Balle” and “Tis the Season to be Sharabi.”
While this list is certainly in no way comprehensive, I hope it reminds you all to shop small and shop brown this holiday season. Happy Holidays!
Avani Nadkarni is a former journalist who currently works in tech PR and is forever navigating the tricky balance of trying to raise her child in the U.S. while teaching him about his Indian and Sri Lankan roots.