5 Arab Inspired Gift Ideas
By: Arab America Contributing Writer / Mariam Alyakoob
Gift giving and finding the right gift can sometimes be harder than expected. It can be even harder when thinking of a meaningful cultural gift to give to someone that makes them feel close to home. You can either give it to someone from that culture who will understand the significance of it, or to a friend from a different background who is eager to learn more about the Arab world. Here are a few suggestions of some fun Arab inspired gift ideas that can be given to family and friends.
Evil Eye/Nazar Pendants
You will see the evil eye or Nazar pendants and amulets in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. The use of the amulets stems from a belief that when someone achieves great success, this can attract great envy and jealousy as well. The envy is then believed to come to life and do harm to those who have achieved the success, in some cases even reversing the achievement. In order to retaliate against this envy, the evil eye amulet is used to ward off any malicious glares. The evil eye has been used for thousands of years across many different cultures for this purpose, and is still used to this day.
A great cultural gift idea to give someone would be an evil eye pendant or amulet that one can either wear or hang up in their homes as a form of protection.
Arabic Name Bracelet/Necklace
Arabic name bracelets or necklaces are jewelry, usually in gold, that contains one’s name written down in beautiful Arabic calligraphy that can be worn for any occasion.
Arabic writing dates back to 500 BC and is an incredibly important aspect of culture and history for Arabs across the world. In recent years, it has also become a trend across the world to wear such jewelry with many celebrities such as Rihanna, Beyonce, and even the Kardashian sisters having these accessories. This would be a great gift, not only because of how trendy it has become, but because it can connect one to their culture and show off their pride towards their heritage. One place you can purchase this jewelry is on the online store Nominal, where you are able to customize any necklace with Arabic writing.
Tea is an incredibly important drink in the Arab world. It is a beverage consumed daily for Arabs, and is very popular after meals to aid with digestion. If invited to dinner at an Arab household, you will surely be served tea after finishing your meal. Many popular flavors of tea include sage tea, thyme tea, cardamom tea, mint tea, and many more.
The tea is also usually served in smaller tea cups than those served in Western countries, and in some cases, may not have handles to hold them up. They are also served with a mini plate underneath.
A teacup set, along with some tea bags, would be a great cultural gift that one can use on a daily basis to enjoy their warm beverage.
Arabic Coffee Set
Similar to Arabic tea, coffee is also a very common beverage within the Arab world. Drinking coffee is common within social settings and serving it is associated greatly with generosity and hospitality. Traditionally, the coffee is also prepared and brewed in front of the guests as well.
A great gift idea would be an Arabic coffee set that would include the cups, which are even smaller than Arabic teacups, and a coffee pot or “dallah”.
Oud is an Arabic word meaning “agarwood” in English. Agarwood is a type of bark found in the Aquilaria trees that originate in Southeast Asian countries and is known as the “wood of gods”. It is common specifically in the Khaleej, or Guf, countries and is used for incense, perfume, oils etc. The oud scent is stronger than floral and citrus scents, and is often described as having a deep and woody fragrance.
Oud perfume or oud oils would be a wonderful gift that one can spray or rub on their wrists, neck and behind their ears, and would make whoever wears it smell amazing!
Check out Arab America’s Blog!