The wonderful thing about living in the Middle East is that we have so many holidays each year. But we like to celebrate the earth-friendly way, so check out our suggestions for good places to buy sustainable gifts.
We know most of our readers are unlikely to buy into the mad consumer rush that Christmas has become and our Christmas wish list is also quite simple, but giving away thoughtful, socially-conscious gifts that tell the people in your life how special they are definitely makes the season warmer. We have compiled a list of 6 stores throughout the Middle East that offer everything from natural beauty products and local crafts to the most beautiful recycled glass art – all of which are reasonably-priced and both earth and people friendly. If you’re looking for gifts that you can be proud of, come on in to see what our region’s talented artisans have to offer.
Why would anyone give people they care about beauty products that are full of nasty chemicals? Nobody would, not knowingly anyhow. And now there are other options. Bahrain’s Green Bar is run by Reem Al-Khalifa, who sells wonderful lotions and potions filled with local floral oils and natural ingredients. Her exotic ingredients are sourced from different parts of the world and are available both online and in retail outlets throughout Bahrain.
Etsy Online Art Cooperatives are gathering steam in the Middle East – especially in Dubia, Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. If you want a sweet gift or jewelry that you know benefits an artist who works hard to create unique items that are local and sustainable, then you need look no further. Hi from Dubai, Made in Israel, Enchanting Egypt, and the Etsian Jordan Team offer all kinds of beautiful crafts that the women in your household will especially appreciate.
Anu Agarwal and her husband have been blazing a green path for quite a while by bringing some of the latest eco-friendly products from around the world to Dubai — seemingly an unlikely place for such a venture. In large part because of places like Ekotribe and their online presence The Green Eco Store, Emiratis and expatriates are slowly beginning to move past the age of excess to something a little bit more sustainable.
We have a small soft spot for this family-own venture lovingly tended by Sabeen Ahmed. At the first Market at Masdar earlier this year, she and her husband spoke with us about the difficulties of getting a fair trade organization off the ground. But the couple have persevered and continue to bring lovely accessories, apparel, crafts and jewelry made my members of disadvantaged communities around the world. These fair trade projects ensure that the profit goes into the maker’s hands, and you get to keep the love with which the products are infused! Visit The Little Fair Trade Shop online.
We realize that the name Reversed Garbage doesn’t sound like the perfect destination for wonderful Christmas gifts, but you would be amazed what these people can create out of discarded glass waste. Chafic Abi Abdallah started the company in order to convert unwanted items into an expanding line of quality, functional, handmade products. These amazing candle holders, glasses, and vases encourage residents in Lebanon to reconsider the amount of types of waste being produced. If we hadn’t told you they were recycled, you’d never know. Take a look at the Facebook profile for more information.
This last destination may be a little risqué but Christmas is a time for loving and we want to make sure you’re covered here too. El Asira is a lovely, discreet online store that sells halal products that enhance the sexual experience. Although they offer products that are designed to respect Islamic tenets of sexuality, everybody can benefit from the store’s earth-friendly sex aids. Separated into two different “rooms” for men and women, some products include quality massage oils and safe lubricants.
Happy Holidays everyone!
lead image via Morguefile