The Ultimate Hong Kong Christmas Gift Guide for 2018
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.
We’re back again with more Hong Kong-themed gifts for the holiday season! There’s plenty to be had in our festive shopping guide, featuring presents to remind loved ones of this fine city, items by local designers, and products made right here in Hong Kong. We’ve thought of everyone, from close friends to fussy teens, so no one will be disappointed this year. Best of all, most of these great picks can be bought online (prices in HKD unless otherwise stated).
Browse for inspiration or follow the links below if you are looking for a gift for a specific person in your life.
Gifts for Friends and Family
A little bit of Hong Kong in a nicely-wrapped box, the BYDEAU “Just Because” gift set is perfect when you never know what to get that certain someone on your list. Simply hand over this handsome box with a soy candle scented with rose and sweet orange by local brand MYBU, a merry ornament from Lion Rock Press and a deck of Hong Kong playing cards illustrated with famous city landmarks.
These high-quality canvases by local favourite Biscuitmoon Designs are always a great choice, and you know they won’t get re-gifted as they’re truly special. Each one is bespoke, be it the “My Hong Kong” or “Special Memories” canvases, letting you customise the ready-to-hang wall art with places that you and your friends have lived, worked and played together in Hong Kong.
Where: Biscuitmoon Designs
Cost: from $980
There’s always someone to buy for who wouldn’t mind a cold one, and with Hong Kong’s craft beer scene bursting, beer made here is an easy gift. Young Master Brewery does Hong Kong-inspired beer, like the Cha Chaan Teng Gose made with local salted lime. Their essential box set is attractively presented (and priced), with a branded 330mL beer glass and three signature bottles of Classic Pale Ale, Island 1842 and Cha Chaan Teng Gose.
Black Kite Brewery in Wong Chuk Hang uses fresh ingredients to make their signature suds, like the Southside Ale brewed with jasmine tea. It handily comes in a mixed case for gifting, along with their IPA, Porter, Wheat and “Oh, Bacon!” (yes, bacon-flavoured) brews.
Cost: $150 and $540
You really can’t go wrong with candles – a unisex token of appreciation that smell and look good. Carroll & Chan make 100% beeswax candles by hand in Hong Kong (and matching ranges of reed diffusers and fragrance oils)with unique scents and eco-friendly packaging. Prices suit all budgets and gift types, be it votives and tea lights for the stocking, tin candles for travel fans, or beautifully designed jar candles for someone special.
Where: Carroll & Chan
Cost: from $15 USD
Like a lot of Hong Kongers, we enjoy popping by The Coffee Academics for their awesome, expertly-made coffee. How delighted were we to discover that we can bring home a bag of roasted beans to gift for a friend (and one for ourselves). The fusion of five single origin coffees, each with “characteristics to honour Hong Kong” has heavenly notes of dark fruit and chocolate.
Pair it with a local classic, a Camel vacuum flask to tote around the freshly-brewed coffee. Founded here in 1940, before anyone was talking eco take-away bottles, the virtually indestructible containers come in bold colours and limited edition styles like wood grain.
Cost: $128 (Coffee Academics) and from $248 (Camel)
It’s not just for granny. Oh no, knitting is hip and being discovered by people from all walks of life. These knitting kits by The Knitting Room are assembled in Hong Kong, using yarn imported from the UK. Whether it’s to de-stress or harness one’s creative skills, you probably know someone who would like one under the tree this year. The “Everyday Scarf Kit” brings hours of effortless and peaceful knitting for beginners, and special bundles and gift sets are available for Christmas too.
Where: The Knitting Room
Cost: from $200
Clearwater Bay mum Natasha Pedersen makes all the unique jewellery from Smallprint HK 100% by hand. You really can’t get more original than silver bracelets, necklaces, pendants, and keyrings featuring a loved one’s fingerprint, or a child’s hand or footprint. The handprint charms are adorable, and we doubt he has a set of cufflinks with his own textured fingerprint.
Cost: from $700
You have no desire to hit up the mall, and the person you’re buying for is difficult to please? Well, then, a gift hamper is the way to go. Gift Hampers HK has more than 100 eco-friendly (all packaging is biodegradable) gift baskets to choose from, each one bursting with wonderful goodies and delivered free. “Joyful Season” comes with luxury edibles like Crosta & Mollica hazelnut shortbread and Abbey Lane Christmas Pudding, and “The Really Big Christmas” is a basket full of decadence with Champagne, gourmet popcorn, fancy jam and plenty of other treats that no one would would turn down.
Where: Gift Hampers HK
Gifts for Women
Hong Kong designers Popo Ho and Melancholiandy of Loom Loop make impressive creations influenced by Chinese culture, which is evident in their two-way “Green Wave” iPad Mini pouch. From their “JingZhe“ collection, the functional pouch with zip is inspired by the Chinese solar calendar and comes with a shoulder strap and hand loop, making it appear more like a fashionable handbag than a tote for one’s tablet.
Where: Loom Loop
Cost: $75 USD
Meraki’s “Oh Hong Kong” range of handbags will be appreciated by any fashion-forward female, if not for the fact that each bag is one of a kind. The attractive clutches and slings made by Indian folk artists sport the iconic HK skyline, like the leather crossbody in pretty mint green, which can be personalised with her name handpainted within the skyline.
Cost: from $200
Hong Kong icon Vivienne Tam is well known outside of these waters, as her fashions are spotted on many a red carpet in Hollywood. Her brand is inspired by Chinese culture and East-West fusion, boldy seen here in the “Hong Kong Neon City” crepe silk top or dress made from 100% silk. The coveted label (not to mention price tag) will tell her she’s worth it.
Where: Vivienne Tam
Cost: $1665 (top) and $2315 (dress)
Also for when price is no object, this “Hong Kong Calling” embellished Merino wool scarf will look gorgeous draped across her shoulders. Designed by Janavi India, the city’s famous skyscrapers are depicted on each end of the scarf for an elegant yet subdued look.
Where: Lane Crawford
For the woman who is constantly on her mobile (we all know one), this power charger in the form of a cute teddy bear should go down a treat. It’s equipped with a 4400 mAh-capacity power bank, LED indication light, keyring holder, and comes with three wee shirts, including an “I Love HK” tee.
Inspired by the natural beauty of Hong Kong’s iconic spring bloom, this beautiful oil burner in intricate bamboo and ginger flower design will look stunning in any room of the home. Any oil can be used, but keeping in theme, opt for Shanghai Tang’s Ginger Flower Home Fragrance Oil for a complete gift.
Where: Shanghai Tang
Bathe to Basics organic products are made locally without artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances, so she’ll happily breathe in and lather herself in the “Pomelo Leaf Body Soap”. Made with fresh pomelo leaf and enriched with an exotic scent from grapefruit, citronella and sandalwood essential oils, it comes in a useful pump design. Make sure to mention this little bit of Chinese tradition when gifting: a pomelo leaf bath or shower taken before the new year is said to wash away dirt and bring good luck.
Where: Bathe to Basics
The delightful “I LOVE HK” collection from Hong Kong designers FABcessories will suit the fun-loving female you’re shopping for. Each piece of jewellery is laser-cut and hand-assembled locally, like the quirky goldfish-in-plastic bag earrings, Mister Softee brooch, tram pendant or skyscraper necklace with dangling Bank of China, ICC and IFC towers.
Cost: from $209
A fragrance inspired by the Peak is certain to be something she hasn’t had before. The creation by HK-based brand JOSÉE by Cecilia Lok has light notes of jasmine and lemon, and is meant to make one “feel freedom…just like breathing the fresh air on the Peak”.
Gifts for Men
Luxury French swimwear brand Vilebrequin is behind these eye-catching swim shorts emblazoned with red sails and Hong Kong’s famous flower, the bauhinia. Bonus: for the man who doesn’t like to bring a bag, the style can be packed into its back pocket for easy storage.
Where: Lane Crawford
Sure, it may look like a fancy toy, but this sterling silver “Cantonese Rubik’s Cube” is also a language aid. However, it’s best saved for the more tenacious man in your life, as the user needs to understand a certain Cantonese proverb and get the correct three words in order to be deemed a success.
Where: Hong Kong Oapes
Our city has had a bit of a gin revolution of late, so get him on that booze train with his very own bottle of “Fragrant Harbour” gin. Not your average gin, this concoction features the requisite juniper berries but also ginger, Pu’erh tea and sichuan pepper.
Where: The Bottle Shop
The best part about gifting books to your fella is you can borrow them after he’s done and have your own read. Coming soon to bookshelves (December 5) is Hong Kong Noir, an anthology of noir stories set in a distinct Hong Kong neighbourhood. Expect tales of ghosts, murder and cops-and-robbers.
Local history buffs will enjoy the vividly detailed interviews and imagery in Sunset Survivors, which tells the stories of Hong Kong’s traditional tradesmen and women. The book covers the curious and fading HK professions, from face threading to bird cage-making.
Where: Blacksmith Books
Cost: $140 or $290
He’ll look good and help the environment at the same time with Bamboa’s “Lion Rock Booshades”. Made with 100% sustainable bamboo – no plastic or metal – the lightweight glasses are handcrafted and will last longer than the cheap ones he picked up from Temple Market.
Obellery, a contemporary jewellery studio established at PMQ by Hugo Yeung and Belinda Chan, produces plenty of eclectic designs and a standout are these miniature mailboxes. The replicas of the Hong Kong cultural staple are available in copper and sterling silver to wear on a necklace or as a pin, in small or large sizes.
Cost: from $1250
Is he sick and tired of all those coins jingling in his pockets? Or maybe you’re fed up of finding them strewn across the flat you share? Well then, do pick up this cool “Lion Dance” leather coin purse to make both your lives easier. It flips open so coins are easier to sort through and select, and also comes in panda and lucky cat motifs, depending on his fancy.
Where: Goods of Desire
Gifts for Teenagers
Got something to buy for a teenage boy and girl who can’t be bothered with fashion? 8FIVE2 skate shop is the place to hit up for casual tees and caps, some that are Hong Kong inspired. The “HKG” cap comes in light blue or black, and for a devoted young Hong Konger, throw in an “Enjoy Causeway Bay” t-shirt.
Cost: $180 and $220
Girls will love the jewellery from Hong Kong’s Stella Rose, handcrafted with real gemstones and packaged in a charming box with a special card. The Chinese-themed “Gourd Charm” bracelet will look lovely on her wrist, and even bring good luck: it sports a green gourd (carved from aventurine stone), considered to have magical powers as it resembles the number 8, bringing good fortune to those who wear it.
Where: Stella Rose Charms
Cost: from $400
Your teenager is probably teaching you all about being eco-friendly these days, so show them you know what’s up with reusable food containers and lunch bags. These ones are anything but boring, painted with the mailboxes, lanterns and street scenes from the city, and are made with BPA-free plastic.
Get an equally fun lunch bag, made from neoprene (the same material as wetsuits) that keeps food colder for a longer time. The zipper-opening bags can be squeezed into their already-crammed knapsacks for easy storage.
Where: Petit Crayon Studio
Cost: $190 and $245
No teen would turn down a bluetooth mini speaker, handy for car rides, playing sports at the park or just chilling at home. The 2W wireless mini speaker comes decked out in various colours, or in the Hong Kong flag, and provides two hours of playing time, or up to five hours of aux-in playing.
Happy Lab has made the ideal treat for hashtag-happy teens with sweet tooths – test tubes stuffed with delicious jelly beans! Whether you #justwannasaythanks or #youmakemehappy, do so with a six-pack of “happy beans” in peach, grape, banana split, passionfruit, raspberry or strawberry smoothie flavours. Or, choose your own mix of the gluten and gelatin-free candy.
Where: Happy Lab
Cost: $28 or $168
Time to tear down those Cantopop posters and add some mature art to your teens’ walls. Mix up the decor in their rooms with some “Hong Kong Word Art” consisting of a series of neighbourhood names shaped in a circle or heart. For rugby fanatics, there’s a cute “Hong Kong Mini Rugby Teams” word art shaped like a rugby ball.
Where: Easy English For Kids (EEK)
Gifts for Children
Perfect for a little boy or girl, the “#MatterMini Weekend (Yumcha) shirt” from Little Islanders comes in three bright styles, so-called as it’s made with Matter fabrics: Mobi Pomegranate (82% cotton, 18% silk), Philippine Teal (55% linen, 45% cotton) and Vahi (100% cotton). They’ll be cute and comfy and you’ll be doing some good, as all Little Islanders’ clothes are produced in Hong Kong by a small sewing workshop, whose profits support grassroots and community work in Hong Kong’s poorer areas.
Where: Little Islanders
The bespoke dresses Chinadoll Kids creates are darling, each one a contemporary interpretation of the traditional qipao. Hand-crafted by Hong Kong-based founder and designer Amy Djokovic, these aren’t for playtime: pretty silks with traditional beading and embellishments make these stand out from other dresses.
Where: China Doll
Cost: from $1500
You’ll squeal with delight when you see these on the feet of your little one, as will everyone else. Hong Kong-based baby brand Pepper & Mint’s handmade baby shoes are decorated in dim sum, pandas and other adorable patterns. They’re shoes with a heart, as part of the proceeds from sales will be donated to a children’s charity in the Philippines.
Where: Pepper & Mint
Every year Lion Rock Press comes out with a new must-have for kids, and this Christmas it’s in the form of this sweet “Hong Kong Yum Cha Tea Set”. It looks like the real deal, complete with a pretend bamboo steamer filled with colourful dim sum, chopsticks, mini cups and teapot for a child’s yum cha playdate.
Where: Lion Rock Press
You should always include books in your Christmas shopping plans, especially when it comes to children. Encourage more reading and less iPad games with entertaining titles like “Found in Hong Kong”, a counting book with illustrations by award-winning illustrator Kori Song of egg tarts, lucky cats, lanterns and other sights found in the city.
Keep the kiddies well-stocked with other pleasing and educational reads via Bookwise’s soon-to-be-launched monthly book bundle subscriptions, for children aged 0-12 years.
Personalised books are another fun way to go, especially when they’re embedded with interactive features like zippers, lace, velcro and buttons! The “I love Hong Kong” activity book by Little Bean’s Toy Chest takes kids on a Hong Kong adventure, while celebrating our rich culture. Lovingly handcrafted, the book’s cover can be personalised with a child’s name and photo of your choice.
Where: Little Bean’s Toy Chest
These board games will keep kids entertained for hours while you clean up the post-Christmas dinner kitchen.
People on Board, a local social enterprise that develops fun and interesting board games, has three great ones to choose from: “Zero Pollution” promotes environmental protection (collect and classify different “trash cards” and bag an energy crystal to convert energy from waste); “Animal Rescue Team” is about animal adoption (be the player to collect the most “hearts” within the time limit by saving animals or finding adoption homes); and “Master Chef” reminds children of the importance of a balanced diet (who will be the fastest to create a lunch box made with fresh ingredients?!).
Where: People on Board (POB)
Here’s a gift they’ll tackle right away after it’s unwrapped. Unit Bricks lets them be budding engineers and build epic structures like bridges and cranes, no tools required. The brainchild of Hong Kong dad Timothy Scott Stuart, the modelling systems promote STEM-based learning, and are made of 100% sustainably grown wood, organic water-based colour and non-formaldehyde glue.
Where: Unit Bricks
Cost: from $49
Brilliant for a lazy Boxing Day afternoon, youngsters can sprawl out for hours (literally, this thing is huge) and colour a giant Hong Kong poster. Measuring 100x70cm, adults can also join in and bring city scenes to life, and keep it later for use as a tablecloth or wall art.
Where: The Moon and Back
Cards and Wrap
We can always rely on Lion Rock Press for helping make our gifts look snazzy, and for the sixth year in a row, they’re back with their charity gift wrap and cards.
Proudly supporting Mother’s Choice, 100% of the profits from sales of their amusing charity wrapping paper, gift tags and cards will go to the Hong Kong charity. The 2018 Christmas wrap and gift tag design features HK knits and wet market lamps, and the greeting cards will make your friends smile when they see Santa taking a skyline selfie with his reindeer, or delivering presents the Hong Kong way, climbing bamboo scaffolding.
Where: Lion Rock Press
Cost: from $5
More HK-centric festive cards, featuring Santa on the Star Ferry and tram, or flying over the iconic Hong Kong skyline in his sleigh. Alternatively, go the personalised route and make your own greeting card, with a photo and message of your choice against a variety of festive backgrounds.
Where: Biscuit Moon Designs
Cost: $100 (pack of 10) or $675 (minimum order 30 personalised cards)
For even more great Hong Kong gift inspiration, check out our 2017 Christmas Gift Guide and our Farewell Gift Guide.
Nancy Matos is a lifestyle and culture writer from Vancouver, Canada currently based in Hong Kong and London, who’ll be celebrating with cold craft beer this Christmas.