If you’ve got a co-worker from any one of the Caribbean Islands, who has family from the Caribbean diaspora, or you want to take him a piece of the Caribbean with you, absolutely do not purchase a floral print t-shirt or a beach board. There’s much more authenticity that the Caribbean has to offer that anyone, tourist or native, can appreciate during the season.
What most West Indians can agree on is that food brings people together. Caribbean food places great emphasis on togetherness and festivity and this increases ten-fold during the Christmas season. In most Caribbean countries, peas, ham, turkey, jerk chicken, curry goat and rice dishes along with sorrel, and black cakes for desserts, are usually common during the season.
Countries like Trinidad and Tobago enjoy traditional dishes like pastelles and chow-chow. Try sending a box of traditional ingredients that are easy to order online, procure duty free or purchase at any Caribbean supermarket to stay connected to the Caribbean.
An essential kitchen item in any Caribbean household is a single bottle of Angostura Bitters. It’s added in almost every dish, dessert and beverage in the Caribbean you can think of. Therefore you usually tend to suffer from Bitters withdrawal when visiting/immigrating to foreign countries. If you have a Caribbean friend that likes to cook, it’ll make their day to find a bottle of Angostura Bitters under their Christmas tree.
Alvin’s Hot Sauce
You have not had hot sauce until you’ve had Alvin’s. Caribbean people love a good pepper sauce that isn’t just hot (and trust me it’s hot) but also full of flavour. We don’t scrimp on spices and flavour. A good flavourful hot sauce isn’t easy to find in other countries so include a bottle of Alvin’s hot sauce to help home cooks and Caribbean chefs bring the heat of the Caribbean to their kitchens for the season.
Many Caribbean islands have a rich agricultural industry. Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago are particularly known for producing their very own top quality fine cocoa that is often blended into several aromatic local coffee flavours, or melted into delicious local chocolate. A delectable bag of Caribbean coffee or a couple melt in your mouth Caribbean Chocolate bars will make the perfect stocking stuffer.
The Caribbean has become synonymous with 3 things, sun, sea…and rum of course. A stereotype that no one has a problem with, Caribbean Rum has become one of the most famous exports that tourists and natives alike appreciate. Luckily different brands from the region are usually available in any supermarket or in duty free stores. Used in many traditional dishes or to entertain guests, a gift of Caribbean rum is truly giving a gift of Caribbean culture.
Can anyone say what’s more authentic to the Caribbean than it’s very original, upbeat music? For many West Indians, nothing says home like the sweet sounds of the Caribbean. Reggae, soca, dancehall, calypso and steelpan brings with it so much nostalgia and culture that will always be treasured. Choosing a favourite artiste may be difficult though as you’ll discover that the music is never in any shortage. Every year Caribbean music is full demand during their many Carnivals, Jazz Festivals and Reggae Fests. In the case of T&T, there’s even music for the Christmas season called parang and soca parang. Gift an album in any of these genres and we’ll guarantee you’ll be transported to the Caribbean in no time.
Handmade Flipflops/Sandals- What’s more authentic of Caribbean than a strong leather bound sandals? Bring the easy, breezy feel of the Caribbean to your recipient this season with beautiful handmade flip flops and sandals with intricate designs and prints that are handcrafted by local artisans made to be reminiscent of the very best of the Caribbean. They make for practical gifts that are essential for any Caribbean vacation as well as a great way to support local entrepreneurs. These can also be found anywhere, online, at local flea markets, at the beach, malls and even duty free shops.
8. Handmade Jewellery- Whether you’re a tourist or not, giving the gift of beauty is easy and affordable if you consider adorning your recipient with handmade precious jewels from the Caribbean. You’ll be blown away by what can be spun into jewellery from Caribbean jewellers. You’ll find authentic jewellery made of shells, calabash, cloth, wool, stone, copper and so much more, that are perfect for him and her.
9. Vacation- If you can’t bring elements of the Caribbean to them, take them to the Caribbean. Give the gift of travel and relaxation with a stay at a luxurious hotel or resort in any of the beautiful islands in the region or spark adventure with the gift of discounted travel tours for the outdoorsy type. It’s the ultimate way to enjoy all the facets of the Caribbean.