Looking for the perfect gift from the Holy Land? With so many options you see while you wander in the Old City markets, it’s not easy to choose! Whether you’re looking for a loved one or yourself, here are some of our best gift ideas to take home, no matter what your budget is. It might give you an inspiration to ditch the airport souvenirs and opt for something handmade and thoughtful. Let’s just hope you have room in your bag!
Olive wood carving is an ancient tradition in the Holy Land that continues until today. The vast majority of the wood used for carvings comes from the seasonal clippings of olive branches that are pruned annually. Being handmade, each piece has a distinct character all its own. For many centuries, the Christian artisans in Bethlehem have relied on this art form and its trade for their livelihood. What could be more special than purchasing a hand carved Nativity set from the place where it all happened! You do not only possess a unique reminder of the Christmas story that will remain in your family for generations, you also help preserve the ancient tradition of olive wood carving and support local Christians in the Holy Land that make them.
In the heart of the Armenian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, you’ll find a beautiful selection of hand painted ceramics made by the Armenian community. This ancient art and craft was first brought to the Holy Land around 1919 when several Armenian master craftsmen came to Jerusalem to renovate the ceramic tiles of the famous Dome of the Rock. They remained in Jerusalem developing the art of Armenian ceramics and until today, they continue to make beautiful ceramic pieces with the same authenticity and originality. From the oldest hand painted tile stores in the Middle East, you will definitely find the right item to decorate your home or to give as a gift!
Jewelry made of mother of pearl is also very popular in Bethlehem. This traditional handicraft has been brought to the city from Italy in the 15th century. Whether you are looking for a necklace, earrings or a brooch for yourself or a loved one, you will find something right for you. You can also find some of the trendiest and most unique jewelry in the Holy Land. For example, in Bethlehem, handpicked olive leaves are transformed into unique sterling silver pieces. This process makes each piece a one of a kind. You can also meet with the local jewelry designers and find pieces that reflect the culture and heritage of the country. If you like distinctive designs of accessories, you’ll definitely find this as a perfect gift.
Hand embroidery is a beautiful art that has always been pursued by local women. Its root is ancient and the earliest forms of embroidered cross stitch in the Holy Land were found around the 11th century. Artisans continue to create traditional folk embroidery with colors and patterns where each piece reflects remarkable beauty and tells a story of identity. Today, you can find beautiful designs of cushions, table runners, bags, shawls and other accessories embroidered by hand. You will not only take a piece of culture back with you, you will also support local women to sustain themselves.
Hand-blown glass makes a beautiful and special gift. You can watch local artists in Hebron make it in front of your eyes or you can enjoy the experience of trying that yourself! Hebron has been famous for its traditional glass-blowing for centuries and in 2016; Hebron has been officially awarded the title of World Crafts City by the World Crafts Council. All items are original hand blown creations by local artists and we are sure these unique glass art designs will be a great thoughtful souvenir.
In the Holy Land, you will find amazing and natural cosmetics of great quality that can be used on all skin types. One of the unique products is soap made with olive oil, olive seeds, almond oil, sage and other herbs that are native to the land. These soaps are handmade and free from chemicals, artificial colors, and preservatives. Other kinds of soaps contain natural ingredients with healing properties such as mud from the Dead Sea, lemon, honey or even camel milk. If you are looking for beauty and skin care products, the Dead Sea provides essential minerals that are vital to your skin. From bath salts to mud masks, you’re not only getting products to nourish the skin, you’re also giving a feeling of relaxation as a gift.
After visiting the Holy Land, you would wish you can bring our cuisine back with you! But, since there can be restrictions on what food you can take with you, you can never go wrong with spices. From the market of the Old City of Jerusalem to Machane Yehuda market, you will find mountains of traditional spices of all kinds and colors with a smell hard to miss. With an endless selection of spices, Za’atar is our all times favorite. This well known spice is thyme mixed with toasted sesame seeds. It is perfect with toasted bread or in salads making this the perfect thing to bring home and share with loved ones. You can taste Jerusalem even if you are not there.
Dates are considered the oldest cultivated fruit in the world and they’ve been cultivated for about 6,000 years in the Middle East. It is grown, harvested, packed and distributed in the ancient city of Jericho. Dates are probably one of the best tasting fruits ever. In addition to being healthy, they are prized for their rich flavor, large size and chewy texture. Take a sweet taste from the Holy Land back with you. But, make sure to check what food items are permitted to enter your country.
It is no surprise that a city with a history that dates back thousands of years, Jerusalem has always been a source of inspiration for writers. In the heart of the city, there are many bookshops selling a great selection of books on Middle Eastern history, Israeli-Palestinian relations, culture and politics. You can also find collections of maps, travel guides and books on Arab-Israeli history as well as numerous antique editions of scholarly works. You can find academic books in English, Hebrew, German and French that you can take home with you as a souvenir.