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Kwanzaa Gifts for Kids, Parents, Grandparents and Caregivers

Kwanzaa gift ideas for all your VIP’s.
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profile picture of Ayn-Monique Klahre
Updated
November 24, 2021
Father and son lighting the Kwanzaa kinara
Image: Courtesy Getty
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Kwanzaa is a time to gather together, honor your ancestors and celebrate what makes a community strong. What better way than to exchange thoughtful presents with family and friends?

Handmade gifts may be encouraged, but if you’re not the crafty type, we’ve got plenty of shoppable Kwanzaa gift ideas that still pay homage to African and African-American traditions. From clothing and accessories in the Kwanzaa colors of red, black and green to beautiful books and tasty treats, here you’ll find tokens that capture the spirit of the holiday. Better yet, many of the presents on this list have been sourced from Black-owned businesses and baby brands, with prices starting at $6. Whether you’re shopping for your kids, parents, partners or care providers, we’ve got you covered with a roundup of the best Kwanzaa gifts for all the VIPs in your life.

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is an African-American and Pan-African holiday celebrating family, social and cultural values; it takes place from December 26th to January 1st. It was created in 1966, by Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana studies, author and activist.

How to Celebrate Kwanzaa

Like many holidays, people create their own Kwanzaa family traditions. That said, traditionally each day of the celebration is dedicated to one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith).

Each day, people come together and light a candle placed in a candle holder called a kinara before discussing one of the principles. On December 31st, families gather for a community feast and exchange gifts, enjoy music and tell stories. Finally, the last day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to reflection on the seven principles.

Kwanzaa Gifts for Kids

From informative books to wooden toys and traditional textiles, these sweet gifts will give your kiddos plenty to celebrate—and provide you with an opportunity to teach them about their heritage.

Image: Courtesy Square Fish

My First Kwanzaa, by Karen Katz

Books that teach kids about their culture are especially welcome during Kwanzaa. This one, from popular children’s book author and illustrator Karen Katz, is a rousing introduction to the joys of Kwanzaa and its rituals, complete with vibrant pictures.

Buy it: $8, Amazon.com

Image: Courtesy babyGap

babyGap 100% Organic Cotton Kwanzaa Print PJ Set

Crafted from cozy organic cotton, this PJ set is decorated with the symbols of Kwanzaa (think: corn, fruit and candles). Plus, they come in adult sizes too, meaning you can have a super-cute matching family pajama moment.

Buy it: $30, Gap.com

Image: Courtesy KidKraft

KidKraft Doll Family

Kwanzaa gifts that celebrate family are always winners in our book. That’s why we’ve included this sweet wooden toy set by KidKraft, which includes three generations of dolls for your kid to play with.

Buy it: $25, Maisonette.com

Image: Courtesy Little Likes

Little Likes Kids 48-Piece Musical Crossroads Memory Game

Next up is an educational Kwanzaa gift from the Black-owned business Little Likes. Designed for kids ages 3 and up, this beautifully illustrated memory game introduces kids to all kinds of musical instruments, accessories and dances.

Buy it: $16, Nordstrom.com

Image: Courtesy of Baby Okra Boutique/Etsy

Baby Okra Boutique Ankara Print Bows

This bow set—hand-stitched in 100 percent cotton African fabric—festively tops off any little girl’s holiday outfit. It comes with a clip as well as ribbon, so your sweetheart can wear it alone or as a headband. Feeling thrifty? Split the set up, and you’ve got two days’ worth of gifts. It also works as a bow-tie for boys.

Buy it: $50, Etsy.com

Image: Courtesy The Rooted Baby Co.

The Rooted Baby Co. Mama Africa Teether

The Rooted Baby Co. is a mom-founded business creating baby toys and gear that celebrate Ghanaian culture and craftsmanship. We adore the brand’s wooden Africa teether. It’s made from 100 percent Canadian maple wood that’s been pretreated with organic coconut oil to provide an extra layer of antibacterial protection for teething babies.

Buy it: $22, RootedBabyCo.com

Image: Courtesy Barnes and Noble

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

This beloved kids’ book would make an awesome Kwanzaa gift for littles. Tender and empowering, Hair Love is an ode to natural hair—and a celebration of the special bond between daddies and daughters.

Buy it: $18, BarnesandNoble.com

Image: Courtesy SewirREGularByGina

SewirREGularByGina Kente African Print Rolled Hem Romper

Kente cloth is a traditional African print that’s super-cute to boot! This unisex baby romper is perfect for family feasts and everyday rough-and-tumble activities.

Buy it: Starting from $35, Etsy.com

Image: Courtesy Little Muffincakes

Little Muffincakes Unisex Astronaut Backpack

Little Muffincakes is a great place to find Kwanzaa gifts for kids. The online marketplace is committed to empowering kids of color with products that celebrate the beauty of diversity. We like this unisex kids’ backpack decorated with stars, rockets and astronauts.

Buy it: $45, LittleMuffincakes.com

Image: Courtesy Darlyng & Co.

Darlyng & Co. ABC Jamaica Card

Kwanzaa is all about celebrating the people and traditions of Africa and the African diaspora, which is why we love these affirmation cards from Darling and Co. There are a few different sets available, including these alphabet flash cards that teach kids fun facts about Jamaican culture.

Buy it: $20, Darlyngand Co.com

Kwanzaa Gifts for Partners

Kids are generally the gift recipients during Kwanzaa, but everyone appreciates a year-end treat—especially if it’s presented as a token of love and appreciation for your other half. We’ve selected the best Kwanzaa gifts for moms and dads—from cozy socks to romantic scented candles.

Image: Courtesy Hot Sox

Hot Sox Happy Kwanzaa Crew Socks

Searching for affordable Kwanzaa gifts for your significant other? Check out this cozy pair of socks that boast festive colors and the words: “Happy Kwanzaa.”

Buy it: $7, Macys.com

Image: Courtesy Love Notes Fragrance

Love Notes Mini Candle Collection

Candles are a good gift for any occasion—and Kwanzaa is no exception. Love Notes Fragrances is a female, Black-owned business based in Brooklyn. The brand’s natural soy wax candles are oh-so-luxurious, making them a great gift for moms and dads in need of a little pampering.

Buy it: $40 for a set of 4, LoveNotesFragrances.com

Image: Courtesy Gifts with Humanity

Gitzel Bolga Pot Market Basket

Gifts with Humanity sells socially responsible products from artisans around the world, making it a go-to source for Kwanzaa gifts. These handwoven African baskets, made using techniques passed down through generations, are truly beautiful. Granted, they are a little pricey—but when properly cared for, they’ll last a lifetime.

Buy it: $80, GiftswithHumanity.com

Image: Courtesy SPGBK

SPGBK The Eagle Apple Watch Strap

Nordstrom has a whole section dedicated to Black-owned businesses—like SPGBK, a brand specializing in trendy, interchangeable watch straps. This Kente-inspired Apple watch strap is an awesome Kwanzaa gift for dads obsessed with all things tech.

Buy it: $40, Nordstrom.com

Kwanzaa Gifts for Grandparents

Of course, grandparents deserve a little love too! This year, spread the light of Kwanzaa with a lovingly chosen gift that celebrates their ancestral heritage. From practical presents to homespun crafts, our curated picks offer shopping inspiration that’ll make Kwanzaa gift giving a breeze.

Image: Courtesy Risa’s Pieces

Risa’s Pieces Beaded Mask Chain

This chic beaded mask holder—which celebrates the colors of Kwanzaa—ensures Gram or Gramps always has their mask handy during family celebrations and everyday activities. Talk about a practical Kwanzaa gift for grandparents!

Buy it: $35, Maisonette.com

Image: Courtesy Goodee

Goodee x Baba Tree Bolga Straw Fan

Created by Baba Tree artisans in Ghana, this gorgeous, hand-woven fan is a standout Kwanzaa gift. It can be used to cool down in the summer heat or as a decorative centerpiece on your grandparents’ wall. Plus, it’s made from ethically sourced straw, so it’s an eco-friendly option to boot.

Buy it: $55, Nordstrom.com

Image: Courtesy 7SymbolsofKwanzaa

7SymbolsofKwanzaa Kwanzaa Kinara Celebration Set

Set your holidays ablaze with this beautiful Kwanzaa gift set. It includes a hand-carved kinara and umoja unity cup—plus, seven candles, a kente cloth basket and a traditional mkeka mat.

Buy it: $73, Etsy.com

Image: Courtesy Amistad

The Cooking Gene, by Michael W. Twitty

This memoir explores a renowned culinary historian’s ancestry through food. Along the way, readers will discover the complicated roots of Southern food from Africa to contemporary America.

Buy it: $29, Amazon.com

Image: Courtesy of Harry & David

Dried Fruit Tray

Kwanzaa has cultural ties to Southern African first-fruits celebrations. Why not honor the holiday with a bounty of fruit then? This colorful mix of dried varieties is a crowd-pleaser and will last throughout the festivities.

Buy it: $30, Harryanddavid.com

Kwanzaa Gifts for Caregivers

Whether you’re looking to gift something to your nanny or day care providers, these affordable Kwanzaa gifts are sure to be a hit. Remember a small token of appreciation goes a long way.

Image: Courtesy Violet Clair

Violet Clair Happy Kwanzaa Greeting Card

There’s no need to buy extravagant Kwanzaa gifts—a thoughtful, handwritten card is a lovely way to spread some joy. This colorful option was created by Brooklyn-based illustrator Samantha Rothenberg.

Buy it: $6, Nordstrom.com

Image: Courtesy of Cookie Cutters

Kwanzaa Africa Cookie Cutter Set

This four-piece plastic set of cutters—which create cookies that piece together to form Africa—are a smart way to kick off the weeklong holiday. Give the set as a present or bake a tasty batch of treats and present them as a homemade Kwanzaa gift.

Buy it: $10, Amazon.com

Image: Courtesy Baskets from Africa

Bukedo & Raffia Bowl

Here’s something your child’s favorite teacher will love setting out on the table (or hanging on a wall) during Kwanzaa. Handmade by Ugandan weavers, this brilliant serving basket is crafted from banana leaf stalks and raffia from palm leaves, two renewable, plentiful resources.

Buy it: $35, BasketsfromAfrica.com

Image: Courtesy Greater Good

Global Girlfriend Haitian Papier Mache Bird Ornament

These colorful Haitian bird ornaments are made using recycled paper, and are individually hand-painted by women at the Dam Dam artisan collective. It’s a small token of love that has the added bonus of supporting local communities in Haiti.

Buy it: $8, GreaterGood.com

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