Caribbean Journal’s Holiday Gift Guide

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By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor

‘Tis the season for giving. And in that spirit we’re sharing 10 things – all either Caribbean-made or simply Caribbean cool – that will make perfect presents for island travelers. So go ahead: make that list and check it twice. Then add a few for yourself (because we know you’ve been nice).

bamboo

Hammock & Palms bamboo sunglasses

Move over Ray-Bans, there’s a new aviator in town. Hammock & Palms’ modern riff on the classic sunglasses lenses style is fashioned in bamboo and designed to float so you’ll never lose your shades in the waves again. Polarized, impact-resistant lenses are practical; the frames look equally stylish on both sexes; and the bamboo carrying case makes a nifty holder for all your knick-knacks. From $125; hammockandpalms.com

myth

Story & Myth mala beads

I love this island-inspired spiritual jewelry line by Jamaican architect-turned-artist Kristie Stephenson. The bracelets and malas (necklaces with 108 beads) are hand-strung by physically challenged clients of Kingston’s Mona Rehabilitation center using local seeds called Job’s Tears combined with semi-precious stones and cast bronze icons. “My pieces are made with thought and intent,” Stephenson says of her feel-good accessories. “They’re designed to bless, guide and protect.” From $15; facebook.com/storyandmyth

passport

Hayden-Harnett passport case

So what if you’re seat in 28D? You’ll feel like a first-class flyer when you step up to the Immigration counter with Hayden Harnett’s handsome passport folio in hand. The textured leather is durable and three interior pockets corral credit cards, frequent flyer cards and ID. $78; haydenharnett.com

calabash

Jacmel calabash bag

Handmade in Haiti, these tote-ally cool bags are made from dried gourds that traditionally used for eating and drinking. Cleaned, dyed and polished and then embellished with leather straps and clasps, the lightweight slings hold your essentials in Caribbean style but look equally at home on city streets. Choose from three colors and seven styles, including my favorites, the Oriole and Cannonball. From $130; jacmelandco.com

abbey

St Nicholas Abbey rum

One of only four Bajan distilleries, St Nicholas Abbey makes rum the way it has for 350 years, using small-batch pot still distillation and aging in bourbon oak casks. Any rum connoisseur on your list will appreciate receiving a sample of the 10- or 15-year-old nectar, decanted into bottles that are numbered and dated then etched with a drawing of the Jacobean mansion and sealed with a mahogany-and-leather cork. And when the bottle’s empty, the lucky recipient has a built-in excuse to return to Barbados to have it refilled and resealed. From $80; stnicholasabbey.com

cuyana

Cuyana travel cases

I’m pretty tired of carting my cosmetics around the Caribbean in a quart-sized Ziploc. It does the job, yes, but it couldn’t be further from stylish. Which is why when I’m checking a bag I jump at the chance to stash my toiletries, jewelry, gadget cords and other accessories in these leather pouches. Practical (the lining is moisture-resistant) and pretty, they can also be personalized with monogramming. $95 (monogramming $10-$15); cuyana.com

handbottle

Spiritual Gangster water bottle

Sweltering island temps make hydration crucial, and I can’t think of a cooler way to carry your liquids than this stainless steel, BPA-free 27-ouncer. Drink up!

$20; spiritualgangster.com

solar

Q & Q Solar Watch

I prefer not to wear a watch on vacation but I have friends who wouldn’t be caught dead without one, even on the beach. But since a pricey timepiece, sand and saltwater really aren’t a great combination I’m gifting them one of these fun pieces of vacay-appropriate wrist candy. Q&Q’s lightweight watches are solar-powered and will run for up to three months with a single charge in the sun, no batteries or winding required. The minimalist and modern unisex designs come in several colors and at just $40 a pop, you needn’t limit yourself to just one. $40; thegrommet.com

galavant

Galavant Jewelry

New York-based Jamaicans, art student Summer Eldemire and jewelry designer Anna Ruth Henriques, have teamed up on this super-cool and affordable line of unisex jewelry inspired by the irrepressible Jamaican spirit. Their signature word cuffs (in silver and gold plating) are stamped with local phrases such as “One Love,” “Rude Gyal,” and “,” and coordinate with a collection of necklaces and rings. The “Walk Good” cuff is a particularly appropriate gift for stylish travelers. From $40; galavantjewelry.com

islandcompany

Island Company’s Quit Your Job collection

It’s the ultimate Caribbean fantasy: Quit your job; Buy a Ticket; Get a Tan; Fall in Love; Never Return. So tell everyone what your priorities are without speaking a word when you wear Island Company’s signature tanks and T-shirts, which sport the beach bum’s manifesto. Not into T-shirts? Other QYJ merch includes cellphone cases, luggage tags and keyrings, so there’s something to please every would-be islander on your list. From $32; islandcompany.com

 

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