Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Baltic Christmas Day 5 - Christmas Gifts Available Directly from the Baltics

Today on Day 5 of 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas we are joined by Elizabeth Georgian, with the annual Baltic gift guide!

Ethnographic mittens via Tīnes.lv

With such strong traditions of designing stunning handicrafts—be it woolen gloves, ceramics, or carved wooden decor—Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia show unparalleled dedication to craft making as well as innovative uses of local materials.  While making your holiday shopping lists, look towards the Baltics for unique, hand-crafted gift ideas that will even please the pickiest person.


Slurp soup served in a lime green anteater or sip coffee from an antelope with candy colored horns. With such creative ceramic designs, it is easy to spot Pho Ceramics in stores, restaurants, and cafes around Vilnius, Lithuania. But if your Christmas shopping doesn’t include a trip to the capital, Pho Ceramics sells their wares on Etsy, and the store ships to the US.

If you have a coffee-loving friend or family member to shop for this year, a BRO coffee maker along with a bag of his or her favorite coffee is a unique idea. The BRO coffee maker was recently designed by the owner of Crooked Nose and Coffee Stories, an excellent café in Vilnius, and incorporates natural products such as wood and linen from Lithuania.

To bring a cozy piece of Lithuania to your home this holiday season, Linen Tales, which ships to the US, is a high-quality purveyor of beautiful linen home décor. The Linen Cutlery Pockets have been a big hit with my family and all of their items make beautiful gifts for the home.

For those who’d like to bring the flavors of Lithuania to the holidays this year, the cookbook Taste Lithuania by Beata Nicholson is excellent. The little stories and anecdotes about Lithuanian life, food, and history is an added bonus to the excellent comfort food recipes in the book. This is my gift suggestion for someone who’d like to learn more about Lithuanian food culture.


Throughout the Baltics you’ll find beautifully knit goods in a wide range of colors and styles; however, two Latvian brands sell my favorite options for woolen gifts to give. Banish cold hands and heads with a gift from Mareshop, a knitwear shop based in Riga, Latvia that sells on Etsy. Mareshop sells incredibly unique designs, with gloves looking like scales. Another wonderful woolen option is Tines, another knitwear shop from Latvia’s capital city. Tines creates very eye-catching mittens with ethnographic designs as well as other knit apparel.

Perhaps my favorite gift from Latvia is a Pompidoo camera bag. This gorgeous brand creates handmade, very high quality camera bags in a variety of unique colors and styles. As I’ve had a Pompidoo bag for three years now, I can attest to their excellent craftsmanship and for the protection the bag provides my camera gear.

For children or the family pet, Klik Klak Blocks is a family business that produces beautiful wooden blocks, keepsakes, and cat beds. All items are handcrafted in the beautiful Latvian countryside by a husband and wife team.


Kihnu is an island off the Estonian coast that historically had a female-led society as most men spent long periods of time out at sea. Kihnu women are known for their colorful traditional dress, including beautifully designed tights with ethnographic colors. Kihnu Collection is a small clothing brand that produces and sells both tights and ties with designs inspired by Kihnu dress.

Toku is a brand-new company that handcrafts beautiful shoes and sandals out of buttery leather in Voru County, Estonia. Usually they are only sold in Estonia and at surrounding pop-ups; however, their webshop just opened in November, just in time for Christmas shopping. Toku shoes aims to produce beautiful yet comfortable shoes that are made to last.

If you’d like to surprised your loved one with a beautiful, handmade piece of jewelry, eMeraki Studio based in Laagri, Estonia is my pick. The jewelry maker here creates unique pieces inspired by nature, with a variety of metals and precious stones to choose from.

If you need even more gift ideas coming out of the Baltics, check the Made in the Baltics Instagram account, One of Your Kind, or the Estonian Design House Facebook Page.

Elizabeth is a travel writer and botanical editor currently based in Florence, Italy. She formerly lived in Vilnius, Lithuania and though she just moved away recently, is planning a return visit for 2018. You can follow Elizabeth's travels on her blog, Instagram, or Facebook Page. Thank you Elizabeth, for this fantastically curated collection of Baltic artisan-crafted goods, sure to help us with our Christmas lists!

For even more gift ideas that cover the entire Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian spectrum, please see the Yet Another Baltic Christmas gift guide, the 2015 BalticShop gift guide, and the gift guide from the first A Baltic Christmas! Stay tuned tomorrow for a trip to the Latvian Academy of Art annual exhibition...

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