Looking back on the tumultuous events of 2020, it’s easy to imagine that your loved ones are longing for something merry and bright right about now. It has been a rough one, to say the least.
The year was filled with nationwide protests against racial injustice. Meanwhile, reports have shown that the coronavirus pandemic crippling the country has disproportionately affected BIPOC communities. Many Americans began acknowledging the fact that the status quo has long excluded, muted, and underserved the country’s Black citizens.
With this shift in awareness came a concerted effort to amplify the voices of those who’ve been overlooked. Companies of all kinds pledged to boost diversity and inclusion in their business framework, hiring practices, and content. (Read The Spruce’s Pledge here.)
Black-owned businesses, creatives and artisans were thrust into the spotlight as publications, social media platforms, and consumers alike began focusing on representation.
Months of signal-boosting and mic-sharing have led to sales boosts for many Black-owned businesses. But with COVID-19 drastically changing the way consumers shop this holiday season, retailers of all stripes are bracing themselves for a sales slump.
As part of our commitment to highlighting BIPOC creators, we’ve compiled a holiday gift guide featuring homewares created by Black artists, sold at Black-owned stores, or both. Some products incorporate centuries-old African designs, while others take their cues from the current zeitgeist.
Everyone from toddlers to in-laws to co-workers is covered here. You’ll find artwork to make their walls Zoom-ready, throw blankets to keep them warm this winter, and tools to foster their latest at-home hobby. There’s something unique for every budget and aesthetic—whether your giftee’s style is minimalist, whimsical, or traditional.
By adding these items to your shopping list, you’ll be supporting Black-owned indie businesses and giving your friends and family the gift of some much-needed holiday cheer. And if you want to throw in one of these presents for yourself, that’s quite alright … you deserve some cheer, too!
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Brooklyn-based British designer Simone Bresi-Ando makes one-of-a-kind home decor pieces. Her West African-inspired cotton cushions are just the thing to liven up any sofa that’s gotten a little shabby after months of the shelter-at-home couch potato routine.
Buy: $180, Uncommon Goods
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The macrame trend is still going strong and Iowa-based textile artist Candice Luter is making the most of it. Her fiber wall hangings feature avant-garde shapes and configurations, while some—like her “fringe mirrors”—are practical to boot. She can also dye one of her natural cotton rope creations to the color of your choice.
Buy: $215, Etsy
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From old-school players to new-school fools, this playful print drops science by honoring some of the most elemental figures in rap. MC Lyte, The Roots, Tupac, and E-40 are just a few of the faces clustered together on this frame worthy grid.
Buy: $30, The Black Toy StoreContinue to 5 of 26 below.
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Founded by Sinan Franklin, San Francisco-based stationery company Under the Sunlight promotes practicing self-care and embracing joy, with products like a Habit Tracker journal and Art of Being mindfulness cards. Soothing and serene abstract images adorn every textured page of the brand’s spiral bound 2021 calendar.
Buy: $36, Under the Sunlight
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Artist Ama Schulman creates prints, bandanas, enamel pins and more in her Washington, D.C. studio. Her collection features a soul-stirring homage to traditional African motifs, as well as retro and futuristic African-American symbols.
Buy: $25, All Very GoodsContinue to 9 of 26 below.
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The Bella lamp is made by weavers in Burkina Faso, as part of the Weaving for Change initiative, and it’s just one of the socially-responsible, sustainable goods curated by GOODEE founders Byron and Dexter Peart. Made from straw, hand-dyed yarn and leather, it adds a pop of vibrancy to any room, whether the bulb’s switched on or not.
Buy: $395, GOODEE
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Candles have become a no-brainer go-to gift, the kind that easily fades into the background. Instead of giving yet another humdrum votive, opt instead for a candle so unique that it’s worthy of statement piece status. Shannon Maldonado’s Philly shop Yowie carries them in Nile (brown) and Black.
Buy: $34, Yowie
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This organic cotton runner was handmade in Mali and makes for a stately setting for any holiday feast. Each design is unique and the runner is machine washable, so you can rid it of turkey gravy or sweet potato pie stains and reuse it for many meals to come.
Buy: $50, xN Studio
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Bibliophiles can keep their shelves, bookcases, or desktops in order with this set of bold, yet minimalist marble bookends. Brooklyn boutique peace & RIOT also sells books, if you’re looking to create a gift bundle.
Buy: $36, Peace & RIOTContinue to 13 of 26 below.
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Illustrator Taylor McManus has designed a cheeky collection of paper and home goods that are sure to make your sis or bestie crack a smile. Available in two different sizes, this whimsical throw pillow will serve as a visual reminder that she can always count on you for a helping hand.
Buy: From $45, UNWRP
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Award-winning children’s book author-illustrator Christian Robinson has poured his creativity into a whole host of colorful, thoughtful and uplifting books for kids. Each of his pages feels like a work of art, so it’s no wonder that they make for perfect prints, just right for a nursery or playroom.
Buy: $30, Gallery Nucleus
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TV actress Tia Mowry-Hardrict has been appearing in family rooms for decades, starring in sitcoms and films with twin sister Tamera. Now, she’s livening up homes with a different set of talents. This set of concrete coasters is part of her design collaboration with Etsy. They’re hand painted with metallic accents and lined with cork, to keep table-scratching to a minimum.
Buy: $30, EtsyContinue to 17 of 26 below.
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Nestled inside the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Sweet Home Café showcases the rich culinary legacy of the Black American diaspora, from traditional soul food to modern creations. The café’s official cookbook includes such map-spanning recipes as Hoppin’ John, Senegalese peanut soup, and barbecued beef brisket sandwich.
Buy: $30, Smithsonian Store
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Washington, D.C.-based Hortiki Plants offers a bumper crop of eco-friendly gardening kits for those who are eager to grow their own produce at home. This set includes arugula, kale and spinach seeds, as well as biodegradable pots, organic soil, a glass mister bottle, plus green thumb tips and post-harvest recipes.
Buy: $35, Etsy
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Illustrator Cannaday Chapman’s art work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone. Next up? The walls of some lucky person on your gift list. Select limited edition prints like “Boogie Down Barbershop,” and other portraits that stylishly capture slices of everyday life.
Buy: $20, From Here to Sunday
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Help wee ones learn to save up with this precious wooden piggy (er, bunny) bank. They can keep track of their dollars and cents, then access it by opening the magnetic door in the bunny’s tail. It’s just one of the adorable finds at Chicago black-owned children’s boutique, Kid O.
Buy: $20, Kid OContinue to 21 of 26 below.
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Lined with Ankara fabric, this mudcloth stocking puts a cultural spin on holiday décor. It makes a great stand-alone present that your giftee can hang from their mantle each year. Or, you can stuff it with one of Reflektion Design’s many African-inspired keepsakes.
Buy: $36, Reflektion Design
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Custom Family Portrait
Celebrate your loved ones—whether a revered ancestor or a brand new bundle of joy— with a personalized portrait from Frequency of Love. Just submit a hi-res photograph and choose from a range of African-inspired textile backdrops, then London-based artist Zoe Sinclair will take it from there.
Buy: $137, Etsy
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Here’s something for the gourmet-minded loved one. You know, the one who’s spent most of the pandemic binge watching cooking competitions and getting adventurous in the kitchen. This kit comes with a cheese and wine serving set, a hydroponic herb planter filled with cilantro, basil, or parsley, and a jar of artisanal flavored salt.
Buy: $85, EcoVibe
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If nutcrackers, elves and Santas aren’t exactly your style, switch up your holiday décor with less predictable fare. Haitian metal artists handcrafted this set of six ornaments as part of a fair trade partnership with import company Beyond Borders.
Buy: $72, Cultural InteriorsContinue to 25 of 26 below.
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Oakland-based artist Candace Cox created the abstract design on this reversible cotton quilt and it was handmade by Bay Area artisans. It can be used as a blanket or hung as wall art.
Cox’s Etsy shop, CanDid Art Accessories, also offers this same print on a reversible quilted jacket, for those who want to be chic and cozy.
Buy: $165, Etsy
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Artist Hilton Carter designed this apron with his fellow plant lovers in mind. It’s made with American Cone denim, and sturdy hand-worked leather pockets that can hold pens, tools, gloves, and more. Plus, the removable leather straps feature a sliding toggle for easy size adjustments.
Buy: $100, Things by HC