2017 Hong Kong Christmas Gift Guide
The countdown to Christmas is under way. Along with the parties and the festive food, that can only mean one thing: presents. This Christmas Gift Guide will help you find unique and stylish, Hong-Kong-inspired, gifts for everyone on your list.
Honestly, we think Christmas gift-buying in Hong Kong gets easier each year. Gone are the days when all we could muster up for our friends overseas was a Star Ferry magnet, and we no longer have to give mum and dad dull matching silk slippers. There is so much choice here for all budgets and people on your shopping list, and it doesn’t involve haggling in Temple Market. We think you’ll find something you like for them, and for you, in our annual list of Christmas gifts with a Hong Kong theme. Enjoy!
Browse for inspiration or follow the links below if you are looking for a gift for a specific person in your life.
The gift of food is always a smart choice, and the savoury and sweet selection at Nicole’s Kitchen makes it easy. Beautiful jams with ingredients that aren’t run of the mill like kumquat and hawthorn, and honey fruit teas that are sticky instead of leafy, which come to life with hot water and a stir, are all handmade locally. The best part about the products, which also includes XO sauces, is that the ingredient list is short – everything is made without artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. If you can’t decide which jar of goodness to buy, go for a gift box with a bit of everything.
Where: Nicole’s Kitchen
Cost: from $80
Do you have a friend who loves to cook but finds shopping for ingredients a chore? This convenient “Brunch in a Box” checks off all the boxes, combining a top-of-the-line Cuisinart waffle maker with accompanying quality ingredients for an awesome weekend brunch: Noble’s artisan vanilla bean and chamomile blossom maple syrup, Teapigs’ Earl Grey teabags, and low sugar fruit preserves from East Van Jam.
Where: Crafted 852
Here’s a unique gift to record some special memories of your time in Hong Kong with a loved one. A personalized bus scroll adorned with names of the places you’ve travelled together, popular local sites you’ve frequented, areas you’ve lived in, and so on. The prints are bold and eye-catching, and the words pop from the canvas. Once you’ve chosen your desired colour and design, a final proof will be sent for you to sign off, and seven working days later your very cool print is ready for gifting.
Cost: from $650
Sweets needn’t just be for the kids on your list, so consider Mr Simms’ hampers: they come bursting with enough candy and chocolate to keep your family and friends on a sugar high until New Year. Choose from different sizes and gift wrap to suit your taste and budget, and maybe buy an extra one in case someone unexpectedly shows up at your place with a present, which you know is bound to happen.
Where: Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe
Cost: from $488
Here’s something completely different: MicroForests. Each miniature forest encased in a variety of open or closed systems is designed to bring peace and balance, a calming mini ecosystem for the home or office. The Japanese terrariums are made by local women who have learned floral art skills courtesy of social enterprise MicroForests, whose mission is to empower marginalized women who are new arrivals, single parents, or from low income families . These lovely little bowls of greenery are all handmade and one-of-a-kind, inspired by the Sogestu School of Japanese Floral Art.
Cost: from $190
When you see these handsome prints of Hong Kong scenes, you’ll want to bag a set for your own home. The collection of six prints contain black and white local images with splashes of colour, including an eye-catching tram in leopard print. Each one is made with pigment ink that’s designed to resist fading, resulting in sharp and crisp colours.
Let them watch the Hong Kong skyline glow from the comfort of their home with these striking limited edition votive candles from Lion Rock Press. Each glass candle, including a pretty “willow” one, is wrapped in rose gold red copper and hand-poured locally. The beautifully designed foiled gift box means all you need to do is add a ribbon, and it’s ready to put under the tree.
Where: Lion Rock Press
Shanghai Tang always delivers when we’re looking for a treat for that someone in our life who really has a bit of everything. An item like a decorative tray often comes in handy in one’s home, useful for serving food or holding personal items. This stunning bone china one with gold trim features a colourful portrait of a Qinq dynasty emperor, in a fusion of traditional and contemporary Chinese design.
Where: Shanghai Tang
These are amusing and make a great Secret Santa gift: Chinese fishermen teabag holders that sit perched on the cup, each “rod” dangling the teabag. They’re based on an old Chinese tale of the patient fisherman Jiang Taigong, who used a straight hook as he believed the fish would come to him when they were ready to be caught.
Perfect for a stocking stuffer, these adorable salt and pepper shakers are shaped as dumplings and come packaged in their own bamboo steamer. Throw in some equally charming dumpling-emblazoned silicone oven gloves for a useful unisex gift.
Where: Pinyin Press
Cost: $240 (shakers); $160 (gloves)
Gifts for Women
Meraki makes wearable art and indeed, their items are good enough to be hung on a wall in admiration. Take these gorgeous handbags accented with the HK skyline, each one made by folk artists in India. The “Oh Hong Kong” wood clutch is particularly striking, bound to start a conversation at the office Christmas party.
Cost: from $200
Got a fashionista friend to buy for? She’ll love this Marc Jacobs graphic colourblock t-shirt, with panels of light lavender and yellow, and a mix of faded Hong Kong prints. It’s a splurge for sure, but she’ll know right away that you didn’t buy this Hong Kong tee at Ladies Market.
Where: Lane Crawford
A chic dressing gown that feels good against the skin will definitely be appreciated, unlike those big, fluffy ones your grandma wears. This pale yellow Chinese brocade robe in a bamboo and cotton mix is great for when she’s hopping out of the shower, or while drinking a cup of tea on a lazy Sunday.
Where: Goods of Desire
Based in Tai O, EARTH.er is an eco fashion label focused on doing business in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. A lot of their products rely heavily on bamboo or hemp, like these organic natural hemp flats. They come in white or blue and are comfortable and breathable, ideal for hot and sticky treks on Hong Kong’s streets.
Cost: from $310
We love this unique cheongsham pendant, and we’re sure she will too. The design of 10K gold and Nanjing Yunjin brocade (a traditional Chinese silk brocade from Jiangsu) will dangle elegantly from her neck, and is a lovely memento of time spent in China.
Where: Hong Kong Oapes
Hong Kong-born Shukyi Yun is behind the herbal skincare line Herbal Legend. The locally made beauty products are based on ancient Chinese plant herbology, combined with modern cosmetic science. While we’re not experts in either subject, some fresh-smelling ginseng and green tea herbal shampoo might be just what our winter locks need.
Where: Herbal Legend
You’ll want to buy one of these candles for yourself after you get a whiff of the delicate white tea aroma. The natural soy wax candle, also in fresh linen scent, is handmade by Rebecka Lundin, who makes all her organic products, from candles to shower gel, herself. Lundin uses only the freshest ingredients, using skills she learned in her native Sweden.
Where: Swedish’s Handmade Bodycare
MingCha’s attractive box of teas will surprise the girl who loves her cuppa, as these aren’t your average tea leaves. The local tea-maker’s “MingCha For Her” set includes rose buds and gungfu red tea, a fragrant and calming brew with some noted health perks too (gungfu tea aids in digestion and circulation).
Cost: from $188
For the woman who likes to stand out, this skinny silk scarf with illustrations of the Chinese zodiac will make her the talk of the town. The perky red and multi-colour silk twill scarf comes in a designer presentation box (dust bag included) and can be worn dressed-up or casually with a pair of jeans.
Where: Lane Crawford
Gifts for Men
Beer enthusiasts will happily swig this present down – a three-month subscription of beer. The HK Beer Club will send the lucky gift recipient 8-12 bottles of beer in various sizes per month. Rather than just pound them back, he’ll gain an appreciation for each brew, as a flavour and aroma profile is included in the pack. Each purchase also comes with a VIP membership to The Bottle Shop during the subscription period, along with discounts on products in store.
Where: The Bottle Shop
Pair the beer subscription with this token bottle opener with a call to get “chi sin” (crazy) in Hong Kong. But since the beer is being delivered to the home, there won’t be room for too many wacky antics…
Where: Cotton On
If you compete for bathroom counter space with your beau due to his thorough hair and body care regimen, a stash of goodies from The Handsome Factory will go down a treat. The hip Causeway Bay and Central barber shops have many fans who drop by for slick men’s grooming and quality hair products like pomade and shampoo, plus bodywash and soothing after shave with hints of tobacco.
Where: Handsome Factory
Cost: from $190
This sleek leather wallet embossed with a dragon design and classy red interior is a good option for the guy who shoves all his cash down his pocket, or, God forbid, has a wallet with a Velcro closure. Available in black or brown.
Where: Shanghai Tang
Has your man ever passed by a group of locals perched on plastic stools engrossed in a game of mahjong and said,“I wish I knew how to play that?” or “What on earth are they doing?”. Either way, he’ll be able to discover the ancient tile-based Chinese game with the book “You Too Can Mahjong!”. Make it a complete gift by hopping down to Jade Market and picking up an authentic mahjong set.
Where: Goods of Desire
Whether he uses them at the gym or on the beach, his feet will get noticed with these slides featuring Hong Kong’s son, Bruce Lee. The yellow silhouette of the “flying kick” Lee was so famous for make the rubber sandals stand out, and the massaging footbed contours will make him very happy.
Where: Bruce Lee Official Store
Cost: $49.99 USD
On the higher end of the Christmas shopping budget, this whisky decanter set from long-standing HK brand Tequila Kola will definitely impress. The decanter with etched dragon comes with six tumblers for the seriously stylish whisky drinker in your life.
Where: Tequila Kola
An abacus, you say? Well, we don’t expect him to actually use it on a regular basis, but it will certainly be a conversation piece for the home. And, it looks impressive, with a Chinese dragon and phoenix design on a red leather case.
Where: Home Essentials
The guy that goes for jewellery will surely love this Victoria Harbour view ring in silver. The famous skyline pattern is bedecked with white Swarovski stones set in stars. It will conjure up warm memories of life in Hong Kong whenever he wears it.
Where: Hong Kong Oapes
Gifts for Teenagers
This may be the first time you’ll be happy to give them cookies and candy, as local brand Cloud Candy’s treats are made with natural ingredients and no artificial flavours or preservatives. Their cute bear cookies come in delicious flavours like green tea and pistachio, orange peel or double chocolate, and the chewy sweets come in little tubs of sea salt and banana-flavoured goodness.
Where: Cloud Candy
Cost: from $45 (candy); from $148 (cookies)
A lot of families nowadays learn how to care for the environment from their kids, and if you have one of those teens who refuses to tote around a plastic water bottle, these stainless steel tumblers will be warmly welcomed. They’re environmentally-friendly and fun, with the message “NO PLASTIC MM GOI” on the front of either a stainless steel tumbler with stainless steel straw, or a stainless steel bottle. Impress them even further with the fact that 10% of the retail price will be donated to Plastics Ocean Foundation, who work tirelessly to educate here in Hong Kong and around the world.
Where: Lion Rock Press
Cost: $225 (tumbler with straw); $250 (eco bottle)
Your teenager undoubtedly has a laptop (if not, get with the times, mum and dad) so help them spice theirs up with this Hong Kong MTR map laptop skin. With their fleeting likes and dislikes, they’ll probably change the cover down the road, and that’s no problem – it’s thin and easy to remove, leaving no sticky residue.
Cost: $25 USD
If your teen isn’t fussy about fashion and prefers to keep it laid-back, a simple t-shirt with a Hong Kong print will do, like this light and dark blue one from Bossini.
Keep the casual theme going with a Hong Kong University sweatshirt. All clothing is designed by students and made using sustainable and ethical production standards. The thick sweatshirts in green or white will keep them cosy during the chilly, but thankfully short, Hong Kong winter.
Where: HKU Apparel
A spare USB flash drive is always handy, and this pocket-sized “HK Boy” 16GB flash drive from Bizi Boy does the trick nicely. It includes a keychain string for safekeeping, and is presented in a small gift box for easy wrapping.
Remember board games? Those slim boxes containing hours of fun for the whole family? You may recall the simple entertainment they provided, but your teen probably has never played a game without a bright screen and game controller. Introduce them to what can be an enjoyable rainy afternoon at home with the classic Monopoly Hong Kong edition. You still collect $200 when you pass “Go” but if you land in jail, it’s in Stanley, and “Boardwalk” is “The Peak”. They’ll recognise several other place names and MTR stations, which replace the railway stations of the original version.
Okay, socks are usually boring, but these are cool! The quirky socks in soft combed cotton are decorated with dumplings and chopsticks. That expressive teen you know will happily flaunt their feet when they see these.
Where: Happy Socks
Gifts for Children
Suite Works is the brainchild of a husband and wife team from Hong Kong with a passion for creating handmade goods. They make a range of products, from bedding to bibs, and the designs are bright and cheery. The “Itsy Bitsy Dress – Panda Garden in Naptime” is darling, and equally cute is the “Baby Dragon Sweet Bib” in 100% cotton, with a snap closure for easy removal.
Where: Suite Works
Cost: $95 (bib); $430 (dress)
Lantau Ren has a range of delightful products with Hong Kong themes, many featuring Lantau Island, as you’d guess. These “clankets”, a combination of a blanket in a cushion, feature multicoloured patterns of Hong Kong taxis. The snuggly blanket stows away into a pillow that zips up, and is handy to store in the car or bedroom.
Where: Lantau Ren
Your child will look adorable in a Chinese-style padded jacket, designed and made in Hong Kong with the art of classic Chinese coat-making in mind. The comfortable and warm jackets are machine washable and come in 20 different patterns, so you can get one for each member of your brood.
Lots of little girls love to play dress up and be princess for a day, so instead of buying a cheap imitation outfit from the costume store, treat her to a quality, authentic tutu. All dresses are hand embellished, using the best soft tulle to avoid any complaints of itchiness. She’ll delight in twirling around under the many layers of fluffy tulle.
Where: My Little Princess
Cost: from $500
These board books are a great buy for any Hong Kong family with little ones, as you can read all about the city you call home in a fun and educational way. With “B” for “Beaches” and “S” for “Star Ferry”, they’ll enjoy spotting the sights and learning the alphabet, while the numbers book will teach them counting basics through city landscapes.
Cost: $160 each
With Hong Kong’s large global community, most households have kids who speak more than one language. Help them stay on top of their language skills with these personalised hardcover books created by two HK expats. The bilingual books come in two themes (“Swan Lake” or “Underwater Adventure”) with a choice of two languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish). You choose the child’s name and appearance as you want it to appear in the story, and write them a personal message, resulting in a cherished gift that’ll make them feel truly special.
When you see your toddler scampering about in one of these HK skyline rompers, you’ll squeal with delight, as you will when they prance around in a two-piece kimono set decked out in local transport. The playful clothing from Ganas Kids for 0-3-year-olds is made with super soft cotton, with designs inspired by “the beauty and energy of Hong Kong”. There’s also Christmas items available for festive giving, with the option to personalise selected clothing with custom embroidery.
Where: Ganas Kids
Cost: $228 each
There’s nothing flashy about the t-shirts Good ‘hoods make – simple shirts in grey or white with local place names like “Repulse Bay” in coloured lettering across the front. What sets them apart is their ethical footprint: the cotton is sourced from a small household community in Shanxi, the tees are made via a Fair Trade-certified manufacturer in Hong Kong, and each shirt raises funds for Enrich, a local NGO supporting migrant workers. As you can see, your kid will be wearing so much more than just a t-shirt.
Where: Good ‘hoods
There’s so much activity on these “Busy Hong Kong” pyjamas that they become a game of sorts, finding and naming the different local objects and scenes throughout. The long johns are made from soft bamboo fabric, and come in sizes for ages 6 months to 8 years. A pink “Oriental Girl” set is just as warm and cosy, as are the hoodies, shirts and blankets in other precious prints.
Cost: $350 each
Get them saving their money early with this wee wallet that features Lantau’s Big Buddha chilling out, and some monkeys hanging about.
Where: Lantau Ren
Cards and Wrap
Every year, Lion Rock Press is our go-to for making our Christmas shopping look Hong Kong-presentable. By this we mean wrapping paper covered in pandas, dragon boats and trams, vibrant matching gift tags, and fancy washi tape with city motifs to tape it all up. For those near and far, we send our good tidings and cheer through greeting cards illustrated with entertaining local sights. The best part is we know we’re supporting a local charity in a big way – 100% of profits from the charity line of Christmas goods go directly to Mother’s Choice, a wonderful group serving children without families, and pregnant teenagers in Hong Kong.
Where: Lion Rock Press
Cost: gift wrap $20 per flat sheet or $200 flat sheet bundle; washi tape $75; gift cards $25 each or $100 pack of 10; gift tags $5 each or $50 for 10
Another seasonal favourite from Lion Rock Press are these adorable Christmas cards which mix both nostalgic memories of Hong Kong with iconic Christmas characters. Not only will they put a smile on your face, but purchasing the cards will help someone in need. This is the fifth year that The Lion Rock Press has partnered with Mother’s Choice with 100% of profits going to charity.
Where: Lion Rock Press
Cost: $100 for 10 cards, $25 for one card
Send a personal Christmas card with a Hong Kong touch with Biscuit Moon Design’s popular skyline cards. Chose the wording on the front, add a festive photo along with a personal message on the back or inside the card, and you’ve got yourself a card that will take pride of place on your family’s fireplace mantel.
Where: Biscuit Moon Designs
If you’re after gift tags with a more understated feel, skip the snowmen and Santas and opt for these glam gift tags with gold background. The North Point-based business also produces elegant gift labels and place cards for Yuletide dinners.
Where: Printer & Co.
Cost: $160 set of 12
For something different why not gift an unforgettable experience? Find inspiration here.
Nancy Matos is a lifestyle and culture writer from Vancouver, Canada currently based in Hong Kong and London, who hopes for all the candy this Christmas (and world peace, of course).