By Briana Seftel
Looking for unique gifts this holiday season? Go global and buy someone special a gift from abroad. Whether you're shopping IRL or online, these 11 unique gifts are sure to put the "happy" in happy holidays!
The town of Grasse on the French Riviera is known as the world's capital of perfume. Among the many perfumeries, Fragonard is the most well-known. Visitors can tour the factory to learn about the process of perfume making, then pick up a bottle of
Buy here: Fragonard Eau de Toilette
Ireland: Aran sweater
Taking its name for the islands off the west coast of Ireland near Galway, Aran sweaters (or jumpers) are cozy sheep's wool sweaters traditionally in off-white. While hand-knit sweaters are the most authentic - and better quality, mass-produced sweaters still make great gifts for the whole family.
It's no secret: Colombian coffee is some of the best in the world. If you plan on traveling there, or want to get a coffee nerd something special, purchase a bag of precious beans. It's important to note all coffee is not created equal, so do your research before buying. Also, buying whole beans instead of pre-ground will ensure a fresher, tastier cup.
Buy here: Juan Valdez Antioquia Coffee
In addition to rugs, spices, and tagines, Morocco is famous for its ceramics, especially the blue and white ceramics from Fez. Local markets, known as souks, sell beautifully painted vases, pots, bowls, cups and more - upgrade your kitchen game with a set of artful and chic Moroccan dinnerware!
Buy here: Chabi Chic small ceramic bowls
Peru: Alpaca scarf
Similar to llamas, alpacas are part of the camelid family and prized for their warm, silky, and hypoallergenic fleece. Alpaca products from scarves to blankets can be found all over Peru, but vary in quality. Look for products that are 100% alpaca wool - for an even more luxurious product, look for vicuña, some of the most highly-prized wool in the world.
Belgium is one of the top producers of high quality chocolate, from pralines to truffles. Callebaut, Godiva, and Cote d'Or are just a few of the most well-known commercial brands, but if you find yourself in Brussels or Bruges, good chocolate can be found almost anywhere.
Italy: Leather gloves
Fine Italian leather wares can be found all over Italy, but for an easily portable gift, go for a pair of leather gloves. To test for quality, look for even stiching, a distinct leather smell, and a buttery softness. A quality pair of gloves will keep your fingers toasty all year long.
Mexico: Serape blanket
Traditional Mexican blankets, or serapes, make wonderful gifts. These brightly colored blankets are believed to have orginated in northeastern Mexico and are a great addition to a room, to drape over your shoulders, or even bring to a picnic! Look for blankets that are hand woven and are made of cotton or wool.
Buy here: Mexican Serape Blanket
Ecuador: Panama hat
This may come as a shocker, but Panama hats are not made in Panama - they're made in Ecuador! The hat made of toquilla straw gained popularity during the building of the Panama Canal, giving rise to the name. All authentic hats should have "Made in Ecuador" tag, otherwise they are not authentic hats.
Buy here: Cuyana Panama Hat
Bring the fragant scents of India home with you! Cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, turmeric, and cardamon are all popular spices grown in India, and heavily featured in Indian cuisine. Spice markets can be found all over the vast country, but if your journey is virtual, you can easily find a variety of Indian spices online.
South Africa: Shea and Marula oil
Locally-sourced oils like shea and marula (both extracted from indigenous trees) have been used by South Africans for centuries, either for well-being or cooking. You can either buy the pure oil or find beauty products with the oil as an ingredient.
Buy here: Skoon Solid Body Oil