Holiday Gift Guide: Handmade Ornaments from Around the World

Holiday Gift Guide: Handmade Ornaments from Around the World
November 29, 2022 Rachel Biel
Mayamam fair trade ornaments

Decorating for the holidays is a huge deal for many people, with many bringing out treasures that have been handed down for generations. Ornaments and stocking stuffers can be great small gifts that delight young and old. But, just because something might be small in size, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily “cheap”. The handmade community tends to have a great selection of lower priced ornaments, but small treasures can also reflect high skills that demand an investment. It all depends on the goal: to build an unusual collection or to find fun trinkets to give away.

I love watching the old British Pate movie clips and have seen lots of them shot in workshops from the early to mid 1900’s. I found this odd one of two women making ornaments for export:



And, here are some Christmas balls in the making:



It’s astonishing to watch the old footage and see how commercial these holidays have been for such a long time. And, yet, they are a time where many pass on traditions or create new ones. Covid continues to wreak havoc on gatherings, although now we have many more tools to deal with it. We are all sticker shocked by the rise in food and gas prices and there are horrific wars, natural disasters, and climate change effects happening that are affecting millions of people right now. The important thing is that even if our normal behaviors are disrupted, we can make this a season of love and peace. My father was a very poor farm boy when he was young, in post Depression USA. His Christmas stocking had an orange, a treasure and rarity back then. May we all appreciate what we have and learn to live simply!

Meanwhile, we also want to support our artists and fair trade groups. If you are sending out gifts this year, have a look at these treasures!

Guatemalan Fair Trade Embroidered Ornaments



MayaMam Weavers have a Holiday Collection which includes a beautiful woven stocking, ornaments and table top mats and napkins. They are a fair trade collective in Guatemala and have been able to improve their quality of life a great deal through the sale of their woven products. A couple of years back, each weaver was able to purchase a propane stove! Their children are going to school and they are all learning leadership skills.


Japanese Temari Balls


Temari Ball Ornaments

Temari Ball Ornaments by Yarndance

India practices an ancient Japanese art called temari which involves wrapping threads into beautiful designs. Any of her balls can be made into ornaments. Many people collect them and display them in a bowl for the rest of the year.


Carved Gourds from Peru

Lucuma Designs gourd ornaments from Peru

Lucuma Designs gourd ornaments from Peru

The Holiday Season décor is a big chunk of what Lucuma Designs sells during the year.  The gourd ornaments are wonderful! They also have ceramic ornaments and nativities. They are a fair trade group working in Peru and Costa Rica.

Felt Ornaments from Central Asia

HoonArts Fair Trade ornaments and gifts

HoonArts Fair Trade ornaments and gifts with owner, Rikki Quintana

Rikki Quintana works with several artisan workshops in Central Asia, including a felt project that makes Christmas ornaments in Kyrgyzstan.  There are so many cute designs, including musicians and activists! As you can see from the photo, she also has plenty of great stocking stuffers. Some of my favorites are the hand carved wooden combs and hair clips.


Embroidered Doll Ornaments from Australia

handmade cloth dolls from australia

Embroidered doll ornaments by AllThingsPretty


Debra Dorgan makes these cute little dolls from embroidery and textile remnants and they would look wonderful dancing on a tree! She also has a small pair of slippers in her shop, so make sure to look for them.


Woven Birds from the Peruvian Amazon


Woven bird ornaments from Amazon Ecology

Woven bird ornaments from Amazon Ecology


Amazon Ecology works with Native and Indigenous people on the Peruvian side of the Amazon. Craft production is just one of the projects they offer as they envision a wholistic approach to how all humans interact with this precious forest.  They have several different kinds of ornaments, including carved gourds, but their birds have really captured my heart!  They have so much character and are expertly made.


I hope you have enjoyed our little ornamental world tour!  The thing with these ornaments is that most can be used all year long as small decorations. And, they do not always have to do with the Christmas story. They could be used as Hanukkah or Kwanza gifts; as a thank you, a birthday gift, something for a teacher and so much more! 

If you are on Facebook, check out our photos on our page for more ideas!  Click here.

These are tough times for so many and we hope that all of you stay safe and find ways to celebrate and connect with those whom you love. 


vintage santa postcard


Our Ornaments Category

Here are some random products from the ornaments we have in our Market.

See more here.

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