Your Holiday Gift Guide: 5 Traditional Mexican Gifts
Finding the perfect gift is never easy, and some people are harder to shop for than others! One of the reasons I love living in Zihuatanejo, Mexico is that beautiful handcrafted gifts are always just a short trip away.
I love giving people handmade pieces! There’s just something special about a unique, thoughtful gift you can keep forever.
But what if you live somewhere that’s not full of authentic artisan markets and shops?
That’s why I made this holiday gift guide. Here’s a list of my favorite handcrafted traditional Mexican gifts you can buy online. Some of these are world famous items that only come from Mexico, which makes them extra rare.
I’ll also include a rough price range estimate (not including shipping) for each gift idea. Enjoy!
1. Talavera Tile Mirrors
Approximate price range: $70 to $150
Photo:La Fuente Imports
Why Talavera tiles?
Talavera is a type of ceramic unique to Mexico, though it has a rich multicultural history. Talavera tiles were originally inspired by Islamic pottery in 12th century Spain. Spanish craftsmen from Talavera de la Reina in Castilla added their own influence and brought the style with them to Puebla, Mexico in the 16th century.
Aztec and Mayan craftsman had already been making ceramics for centuries. The blend of cultures, skill, and style all combined over several years to create what we now call Mexican Talavera.
Today, the best place in the world to find authentic Talavera is in Mexico. The tiles are most traditionally made in <a href="https://www most effective weight loss supplement.google.com/maps/place/San+Miguel+de+Allende,+Gto.,+Mexicofirstname.lastname@example.org,-100.739801,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m8!1e2!3m6!1s2350919!2e1!3e10!6s%2F%2Fstorage.googleapis.com%2Fstatic.panoramio.com%2Fphotos%2Fsmall%2F2350919.jpg!7i2272!8i1704!4m2!3m1!1s0x842b51af9871bc0f:0x653101031d07b0a4!6m1!1e1″ target=”_blank”>San Miguel de Allende, a picturesque city in Guanajuato, north of Mexico City.
You’d be hard pressed to find more beautiful ceramic or more detailed craftsmanship anywhere.
That’s why mirrors made with traditional talavera tile frames are such a unique and thoughtful gift.
Where to Find It: There’s an online store called La Fuente that sells gorgeous ones. They’ll even give you free shipping on certain items.
2. Wooden Alebrije Animals
Approximate price range: $25 to $500+
Photo:Waywuwei on Flickr
Animals play an important role, not just in silver jewelry, but in many other Mexican art forms as well.
Alebrije animals are beautiful wood carvings of real or imaginary animals. Artisans in the beautiful southern state of Oaxaca hand-carve them from copal wood, which grows nearby. Next, the artisans paint the wood carvings with brilliant colors in elaborate designs from their own imagination. Each animal is a one of a kind treasure, and a reflection of the artist’s time, skill, and creativity.
Where to Find It: Viva Mexico has a huge selection, with everything from adorable little armadillo carvings to intricately patterned 15-inch masterpieces. They even have a sorting feature that makes it easy to find something you like at the price you’re looking for.
3. Mexican Handcrafted Copper Sinks
Approximate price range: $200+
Because of the time and materials that go into making them, these are one of the spendier gifts on my list, but they’re definitely worth it. Here’s why:
It’s the absolute perfect gift for someone you live with. Not only will the whole house benefit from a beautiful, new sink, but it’s a great investment in your home, too!
Functional and artistic, these handcrafted sinks are a luxurious addition to any kitchen or bathroom. Each one reflects the painstaking skill and creativity of the craftsman who created it.
Where to Find It: Copper Sinks Online sells sinks made from second and third generation artisans in Santa Clara de Cobre (with free shipping on orders over $100).
Santa Clara de Cobre itself is worth a visit if you’re ever in southwestern Mexico. The town in the center Michoacán is a slice of Mexican history with its well-preserved colonial structures.
Curious how traditional copper sinks are actually made? Check out this short video for a peek into how the process works:
4. Blown Glass Art
Approximate price range: $20 to $100
Photo:MountainMade WV Handmade Art on Flickr
Blown glass art is one of my favorite gifts to give! Glass blowing is an incredible art form and each item is truly unique.
In Mexico, glass art is typically blown in Pátzcuaro in Michoacán, but the art form has become so popular in recent years, that you can find great pieces in many other parts of the country as well. Pátzcuaro is still famous for its incredibly precise and detailed glass art, though.
Depending on the item, shipping can be tricky, because blown glass that’s thin can be delicate. If you’re ordering online, make sure you choose a company you trust to get your gift from point A to point B without any damage.
Where to Find It: Novica is a great option. They help artisans around the world succeed at doing what they love. And they make it easy for shoppers to find the right gift for anyone.
I especially love their collection of handblown Mexican drinkware.
In case you’re curious, here’s how Mexican artisans actually create those glass blown works of art. Amazing!
5. Mexican Silver Jewelry
From Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Mexican jewelry. I love jewelry (so much, in fact, that I made it my job!). It’s one of the gifts I give most often.
Traditional Mexican silver jewelry is the perfect gift for anyone who’s into fashion or just wants a little piece of Mexico to wear around their neck.
Not sure what kind of jewelry to give? There’s really no right answer — it just depends on the style and preferences of whoever you’re giving it to.
I think vintage-inspired pieces make great gifts because they’re so ornate and timeless, like this amethyst and turquoise original painter necklace, for example:
Native Mexican jewelry, another one of my favorite styles, showcases pre-Columbian motifs and celebrates the rich and proud indigenous heritages of Mexico! This silver native tribal motif necklace is one of our most popular items:
Happy Gift Giving
No matter what you decide to give your family and friends this year, I’d like to wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!
What gifts are you planning to give your friends and loved ones? Do you have a great handmade gift idea that should be in this guide? Let me know in the comments!