Header images courtesy of The Apt Studios and Ping 瓶．Bottled Cocktail (via Facebook)
Christmas might be a bit different this year, but that does not mean your gift-giving game has to suffer. Gift local this holiday season with our ultimate guide to Christmas presents from home-grown businesses. From handmade lifestyle products to interesting experiences and delicious edible presents, we’ve got it all—and everything’s handily broken down into categories for your convenience. Happy shopping!
Save the seltzer-loving person in your life from Perrier-induced debt with this water carbonator, which allows you to make the fizziest, bubbliest H2O of your dreams with good ol’ filtered water. Not only does it work out to be cheaper than constantly purchasing seltzer, it’s also more convenient and far better for the environment. Cheers to that!
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Da(i)re to dream with this cheese platter, which comes with enough Brillat-Savarin, Rove au Thym, Mont d’Or, Brie de Meaux, Olde Remeker, Fourme d’Ambert, and artisanal gingerbread to feed four to 10 people (depending on how hungry or lactose-intolerant they are). You can also pad it out with decadent upgrades like truffle Brillat Savarin as well as foie gras and Fine de Claire oysters. Bring this to a (small, safe) Christmas gathering—you’ll come off like the best dinner guest ever, and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get to enjoy the platter right then and there.
For the cook who loves making Cantonese food, high-quality sauces are a sure-fire win—we’re partial to the regular spicy soy sauce
from family-run saucery Tso Hin Kee, but they also have a triple-strength “chilli gaga” sauce for anyone who’s ever watched Hot Ones and thought, “Ooh, that looks fun.” Alternatively, give someone the gift of premium handmade XO sauce from Nicole’s Kitchen that’s packed full of Hong Kong’s famous hoi mei (海味; dried seafood).
For a healthier alternative to supermarket snack tubs, try Coco Paradise’s delicious coconut snacks—we like the toasted caramel bites and coco-cinnamon almonds, but you can also cover all your bases with the eight-pack bundle. If the person you’re shopping for doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, you can opt for the nutty coco-sesame charcoal butter or lightly spiced coco-cinnamon almond butter.
Nothing tastes like Christmas more than a steaming cup of fragrant mulled wine, but it’s always best when it’s fresh from the hob. This year, gift a loved one this ready-made vegan mulled wine kit—complete with wine, spices, fruit, and sugar—that will pull double duty as a warming winter drink and a delightful (if fleeting) home fragrance after just 30 minutes on the stove.
For a cute, giftable taste of Hong Kong mixology that won’t break any public gathering regulations, look into bottled cocktails—we like Ping’s seasonal Christmas cocktail set featuring the brandy-based Chocolorange, milky sweet potato-flavoured Purple Snow, and more. For a more spirits-forward, but distinctly festive take on the classics, go for the limited-edition Christmas Negroni box set from Tell Camellia.
For the wellness warrior with a sweet tooth, give the gift of locally produced raw honey—not only is it a delicious way to sweeten drinks, but it also has a slew of health benefits that you don’t get from commercial honey that’s been filtered and pasteurised. Take your pick from Hong Kong Raw Honey’s monofloral honey—the longan and lychee flavours are both popular—or opt for the lemon- and ginger-infused honey from ForMe for a throat-soothing treat.
If you’re not sure what the wine lover in your life likes—or, conversely you do know they’re open to anything as long as it’s good—wine not take the guesswork out of the gift-shopping experience with a sommelier-curated selection of vino? We like the offerings from Winerack, which are split by budget and varietal (great-value wines, mixed Sauvignon Blancs, etc), and the six-bottle mystery box from My Wine Guy, which makes pre-made sets sound like a collection of detective novels.
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For the person who thinks “death by chocolate” is a challenge, give the gift of bean-to-bar chocolate that’s handcrafted right here in Hong Kong. Local chocolatiers Conspiracy Chocolate are offering a Christmas blend for the holidays, which is embedded with orange peel, spices, and tea for added flavour and crunch, while Hakawa Chocolate is peddling sets of festive-flavoured bars from their Sheung Wan-based chocolate workshop.
Alternatively, since it seems like Christmas trees sold out within the first week of December, bypass the florists and flower markets and just gift someone a sweet and edible alternative from local bakers Little Miss Macarons.
For the beer-lover who’s dipping their toe into craft for the first time, the best way to get stuck in is to try a bit of everything. The mixed crates from Beerhound are a great way to sample a variety of best-sellers and underrated gems from top local and international breweries: the staff-curated Perfect Thirst Aid Box is an easy-drinking mix of pale ales, lagers, and IPAs, while the Hong Kong Local 24-pack is a perfect intro to the city’s best brews.
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Cleanliness is next to godliness, as the saying goes—so gift the hygiene-conscious friend in your life with Davisage’s divine “Handie Bottle,” which is currently available in limited-edition red packaging for a little holiday flair. The handy contraption features two tubes—one that contains hand sanitiser, and another with hand cream—as well as a ring compartment and a mirror for check-ups. For something that’s a little more splurge-y, plump for the “Face X’cercise Visager,” a sleek facial massager tool which you can use to stimulate cellular renewal and boost collagen regeneration in your face and neck by following Davisage’s video tutorials.
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For the friend who loves sustainable and organic beauty products, we have not one, but three home-grown natural beauty brands to recommend. For all things coconutty, check out Coconut Matter, which makes coconut-based scrubs, butters, and deodorants, as well as a tinted lip balm that doubles as a blush. Meanwhile, ZeroYet100’s Mini Me gift sets—particularly the All of It set—are a great way to try the brand’s sophisticated all-natural deodorants and skincare. Cruelty-free skincare brand Skin Need and its Carry Love Around gift set are also perfectly suited to promote that special sense of self-care we so sorely need at the end of 2020.
This year, give someone the gift of better periods with this Luüna Naturals gift set. The set, which comes in a beautiful storage box designed by local artist Ellie Suh, includes a pack of Luüna Naturals’ organic cotton day pads or tampons, as well as a festive chocolate bar and hand-poured candle from ethical home-grown brands Conspiracy Chocolate and Woodco Candles. But that’s not all—inside the box, you’ll also find stickers and a Christmas card designed by Suh, the latter of which contains a lifetime discount code to Luüna Naturals’ organic period products.
It’s just an accepted fact of life right now that masks, hand sanitiser, and various other pandemic-related accessories are essential in our day-to-day life. But essential doesn’t necessarily mean pedestrian—why not add a little Christmas joy to your loved one’s hand cleansing routine with this cute pack of pocket-sized scented sanitisers? The mini gift box, which contains three hand sannies—gingerbread cookie, chocolate marshmallow, and Christmas tree—is a great stocking stuffer, while the larger versions contain all of the above as well as a series of Hong Kong-themed sanitisers, which come in scents like white orchid and mandarin.
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For the yogi in your life who could do with a mat upgrade, look no further than the luxurious suede-feel Zohm mats, which come in four dream-inspired shades. These newly launched mats from Hong Kong-based Zinzi Yoga are constructed from a microfibre (read: manmade) suede upper and natural rubber base, making them feel velvety to the touch while remaining sturdy and supportive.
The Cheung Chau bun festival may not have gone ahead this year, but we can still enjoy some pillowy-soft buns in the form of these literal pillows from the Cheung Chau D&P souvenir store on San Hing Praya Street in Cheung Chau. Alternatively, if your giftee is good on the cushion front but loves stationery, check out this adorable set of bun pushpins, which come in a bun tower-shaped stand.
While it’s hard to tell how some gifts will be received, one easy crowd-pleaser that works year-round is the scented candle. Happily, Hong Kong has no shortage of artisanal candlemakers, including Sai Kung’s BeCandle, who makes minimalist glass candles, cute dim sum-shaped candles, and limited-edition products, including this pine- and balsam-scented candle that comes adorned with one of local illustrator Don Mak’s gorgeous Hong Kong landscapes. Alternatively, you can check out mother-and-daughter company Woodco Candles’ cute and calming portable tin candles or Michell Lie Studio’s hand-poured candles in one-of-a-kind ceramics. Lie, who is also a prolific artist, donates roughly 30 percent of her profits to charities that help the elderly, including St James’ Settlement, Helping Hand, and the Hong Kong Society for the Aged.
Give your loved on the opportunity to wear their Hong Kong pride on their sleeve—or rather, their Christmas tree—with these Hong Kong-themed ornaments from The Lion Rock Press, which come in heritage-, culture-, and even virus-themed sets. Alternatively, keep your friends occupied with this double-sided 1,000-piece puzzle, which features a Hong Kong collage on one side and a macro shot of a Tai O temple wall on the other, or this 1,000-piece “Colours of Hong Kong” puzzle. For the friends with young kids (or butterfingers), Wander With Nicole also makes wipeable Star Ferry- and red taxi-patterned silicone placemats.
If your friend is looking to fill out a gallery wall, why not gift them a gallery-worthy print? We like Hong Kong-based photographer Lee Mumford’s moody travel shots—this Tai O shot is a particular favourite—as well as Victor Cheng from The Apt Studio’s vibrant prints of the city, like this one of The Peninsula’s façade being dotted with festive red lanterns, or Sham Shui Po’s famous rainbow school.
For those of you hunting for the perfect kid-friendly gifts this Christmas, we have just the thing: sustainable, stylish swimwear from local brand Joe-Sun, as well as these sand-repellent quick-dry beach towels crafted from recycled plastic bottles by home-grown company Rupert & Bird. Now all we need is for the beaches to reopen in time for summer…
It’s not just humans who need chic, eco-friendly duds—grab some of Momotone’s gorgeous sustainable petwear for your favourite cat or dog to keep them fashionably warm this Christmas. The newly launched line comprises multiple collections, from the denim-and-gingham Bleu series to the hilariously named #FreetheNipple collection. Everything is made from ethically sourced sustainable Japanese fabrics and soy-based inks by local craftsmen, so you can rest assured that your furry (or hairless) friend isn’t accidentally supporting fast fashion practices.
For the jewellery lover whose style is more classy than flashy, the beautiful pearl jewellery from Made of Pearl’s signature TriO collection is a lifelong investment. Made from Japanese Akoya pearls and premium precious metals, these are pieces that they’ll treasure for many Christmases to come.
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For the Hong Kong millennials who still think Stephen Chow movies are the height of comedy (guilty!), we have the perfect thing: Carnaby Fair’s Post-90s collection of nostalgic embroidered hats. Our favourites include the Ho Ho Yeah cap, which references the classic karaoke scene from Shaolin Soccer (2001) and the Yu Fa cap, which references the recurring nose-picking character from Chow’s movies.
If your Secret Santa has a weakness for prints, then they’re sure to love the intricate patterns from Hong Kong-based artist Roong Suchinunkul, who runs Bymamalaterre. Suchinunkul—who specialises in watercolours, calligraphy, hand-carved stamps, and embroidery—makes all manner of printed goods from her art, including this beautiful Chinese porcelain-patterned tea towel, this dragon-printed silk satin scarf, and these Hong Kong-inspired bone china mugs.
If you have a Leslie Knope in your life who considers waffles to be a top priority, consider gifting them some snaccessories from local label Grew From Hands. The pouches and bags, which come in classic eggette and grid waffle shapes, are handmade from genuine leather and produced right here in Hong Kong. Prefer savoury foods to sweets? No problem—the brand also carries a bamboo steamer-shaped bag.
For leather accessories with a uniquely Hong Kong aesthetic, check out the handcrafted bags and pouches from Hebe Law, who finishes her one-of-a-kind pieces with authentic brass hardware sourced from vintage Chinese furniture. You can find Law’s creations, along with other handmade goods from local artisans, at her Sai Kung boutique Oelili.
For the fitness buff who always carries their own coffee cup, we recommend looking into eco-friendly activewear label Good Days. The Hong Kong-based brand’s muted palette and streamlined-yet-chic workout gear is perfect for modern tastes, but beyond aesthetics, Good Days also delivers on ethical practices, from using recycled plastics in its fabrics to packaging every product in biodegradable bags and mailers.
Instead of a set of pencils or paints, bestow the budding young artist in your life with a series of art classes in Nock Art Studio, where they’ll experiment with a wide range of media under the gentle guidance of a professional artist. For the artistically-inclined adults who have a bit of experience but want to take their skills to the next level, the oil painting workshop led by portrait artist Brendan Fitzpatrick is our top pick. During the three-day workshop, you’ll spend three hours per day painting, drinking, and chatting at Fitzpatrick’s southside studio, and produce a 1:1 scale portrait of a different model every day. Enquire here for more information.
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For the gig-lover who’s been missing concerts—or the kid who’s expressed an interest in music production—we reckon that learning how to spin the DJ decks would be a great way to spend the impending social isolation period. But you have to learn how to walk before you can fly, so to speak, so before you drop any dough on expensive gear, why not set them up with a couple of DJ classes with Audiomeleon? The classes are suitable for both kids or adults, and you can purchase a single class or a package, so there’s no need to commit (unless you want to!).
With all of us spending more and more time at home, it only makes sense to brush up on—or just pick up—our kitchen skills. Black Sheep Restaurants have always sought to deliver experiential dining in their restaurants, but they’re now offering the opportunity for you to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of their most popular eateries with their brand-new experience packages. Shake things up with this mixology class at Carbone, or learn how to roll with the best of ‘em at this pasta-making class at Associazione Chianti.
We’ve all got a couple of houseplant-hoarding friends, but Hong Kong apartments aren’t exactly known for their spaciousness, so it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to amass all the monstera, fiddle leaf figs, and snake plants that their hearts desire. Instead of gifting them a storebought plant, let your pal design their own miniature landscape with a terrarium-making workshop or a kokedama (苔玉; moss ball) class from Bonart.