Christmas is a time for sharing and spending time with loved ones and friends. In Uganda expats and locals alike celebrate Christmas reflecting their own culture and traditions during this special time of the year. Whether you are from Holland and eagerly await the arrival of Sinterklaas on St. Nicholas Day on December 6 or you are from Australia where December
25 falls during the long summer holidays, Christmas is a time for giving.
Whether you are on a tight budget or can splurge on an adventure, shopping for your significant other, your children, or friends and colleagues, we have gift ideas for all tastes and all ages. Ourgiftideascan is found around town in Kampala, from one of the numerous online shopping sites now available in Uganda or at one of the many Christmas markets happening throughout December. Everything from food, home, and design items to sport, travel, and leisure for adults, children, and families.
We also have lots of fun, easy and economical handmade and DIY gift ideas for those wanting to be a bit more creative.
Once you have done your shopping, think about packaging and wrapping. There is something heart-warming about receiving a gift that has been wrapped creatively with extra loving care. The time taken to wrap a gift beautifully, with added personal touches, is almost as important as the present itself. Get the children involved, make it a fun family activity and use local products and ingredients where possible.
Gifts for Foodies
Gifts for the home are especially fitting during the holidays when many of us open our doors to welcome family and friends. Put together a gourmet basket made up of local or imported treats. Chocolates, cheese, and crackers, cured meats, wine, or whatever takes your fancy from the supermarket or farmers’ market. Arrange all the ingredients in a bag or picnic basket. For tea lovers, wrap an attractive packet of herbal tea in a Christmas napkin with a teapot and teacup and a handwritten note.
Take inspiration from so many wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables available in Uganda and access to all manner of baking goods and make delicious jams, preserves, chutneys, herb oils, and curry pastes or sweet treats such as biscuits, cookies, and pastries for the festive season. Don’t forget to include a handwritten recipe and instructions on how to cook or use your homemade product.
Think about packaging and embellishments. Once you know what you’ll be making, consider how you want to package and adorn any goodies you plan to give as gifts. Paper boxes, Christmas twine, mason jars, clear wrapping bags, and a variety of tags and labels make pretty packaging for just about any kitchen gift you can dream up. Line boxes in African material or tie biscuits and cookies up in a local basket or ceramic bowl.
Home and Hearth (the Danes call it Hygge)
Simple pleasures and creature comforts are what we all seek during the holiday season.
Gift a piece of local art. Uganda has a vibrant and eclectic art scene. Printyourfavoritephotosfromevents or holidays in the past year and have them framed actively. Arrange flowers in a glass or pottery vase from a local artist and give to a host. Pot a plant for nature lovers and decorate it with Christmas decorations. For bathroom ideas, wrap a fragrant soap, face mask, and bubble bath in a towel with a candle and a list of relaxing music to enjoy while taking a bath.
Books can transport us to exotic lands, make us laugh, or learn new skills. Visit a bookshop and look through the selection of art books, nonfiction books, and novels, one of which might just be the right fit for someone on your list. Couple it with a homemade goodie or a packet of Ugandan coffee wrapped in a homemade book bag for that little extra touch. A book (ebook or audiobook), magazine (hard copy or online), or music subscription is a great home gift for the whole family or avid reader or music buff. Research what’s available online and in Uganda.
A diary or agenda, notebooks with special messages for Dreams or Secrets, Recipe folders or journals with family favorite recipes inserted, or photobook. These can be purchased from bookstores, craft shops, or online using one of many online photobook-making sites.
For those who love to Travel
You may not be able to afford to send everyone on a safari or a trip to the Kenyan coast but you can put together a stylish travel kit of toiletries and travel needs. Purchase small jars and bottles of goods and repackage in stylish, age-appropriate kits. Add a crossword or Sudoku book for adults or a coloring book and pencils for children.
For the Little Ones and Families
Board games are always a hit with kids and families. Cards, word games, puzzles, and jigsaws are available in bookshops and supermarkets all over Kampala. For children put together a themed activity box packed with activities that will keep little people busy and happy throughout the holidays. Themes such as science, craft, sewing, painting, or sketching are popular.
Sport and Fitness
Give the gift of fitness! For those who love to exercise and keep- ing fit surprise them with a gym membership. There are numerous gyms all over Kampala with excellent facilities and friendly and knowledgeable staff to get you fit. Home fitness equipment is another great idea, whether you splurge on a running machine or bike or put together a home gym starter kit with weights and dumbbells, a yoga mat and towel, a Swiss ball, and a how-to fitness, exercise, or yoga book. Sporting goods stores offer a full range of small and large sporting accessories to surprise your fitness enthusiast this Christmas.
Travel, leisure, and Pampering
Experiences make unique gifts, especially for those who are hard to buy for or already have everything! Day trips in and around Kampala are great gifts for couples or families and don’t forget to pack a picnic basket. A gift voucher for a massage, manicure or pedicure, or even a yoga or art class are all thoughtful gifts for those who prefer an experience over “things”
Gifts that make a Difference
Donations and ethical gifts have grown in popularity and there are several ways to give a unique and ethical gift this year. Knowing that you are supporting those in need is a wonderful way to spread the joys of Christmas. Donate to a local charity on behalf of a friend or colleague or order an ethical gift online from an international NGO.