Whether you are celebrating Christmas or the turning of a new year, this is the season of gift-giving. Many an expat will know that one of the main ways Christmas is celebrated is by enjoying a feast and giving gifts to family and loved ones. Well, in Turkey, the same can be said for “Yılbaşı,” which is what the Turks refer to as New Year’s Eve, a concept that is becoming celebrated more each year in Turkey, where a gift-giving tradition to mark the start of a new year has also begun. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, this year’s social gatherings will be put on hold, so one of the best ways to celebrate the holiday season will be finding and giving out the perfect gifts.
Now that many of us have become well-versed in ordering online, why not surf the web for the perfect holiday gift, all from the safety and comfort of your own home? Furthermore, when ordering online, you can have the gift delivered to the recipient’s door. The following are a number of creative and fun gift ideas for this holiday season.
While it would be great to aspire to making your own gifts this year, a project that would help while away those weekend lockdowns, do not fret as Istanbul’s expat community has a number of crafters on board that this year will be showcasing their talents online. Many an expat in Turkey is familiar with the holiday markets that would have been held this month had conditions prevailed. Instead, some crafters have chosen to go online, allowing shoppers to check out their handiwork from their telephones or computers.
The IWI Winter Festival, which is one of the major events held by the International Women of Istanbul, has gone virtual this year, and crafters and organizations that would have had stands to peruse are now posting to the association’s Facebook page. In a similar manner, Handmade Istanbul, an organization of crafters that would have held their holiday market this month, is also posting crafts on the group’s Facebook page.
The feel and scent of a new book always offer comfort and excitement, making it one of the most timeless and appreciated gifts out there. Luckily, Turkey has online booksellers such as Idefix and D&R. While you may be more familiar with the latter, as the book chain has shops in most shopping centers and airports in Turkey, Idefix operates exclusively online and has a vast range of products to choose from, including thousands of books in English. Day planners and journals, referred to in Turkish as “ajanda," have always been a traditional gift in Turkey, especially journals produced by the classic Turkish brand Ece. Fortunately, both Idefix and D&R have loads of options from the basic Ece day-planners to more artistic variations in sizes, large and small. There are also calendars available as well as other gift options such as pens, blank notebooks and art supplies.
In this unexpected and unfortunate twist of fate with the pandemic, it turns out the most in-demand accessory this year is undoubtedly a mask. Why not make the most out of the situation of having to wear masks outside and while socializing, and wear one or gift one in style? Çöp Madam, which is an initiative to recycle material based in the Aegean town of Ayvalık and pioneered by an expat no less, has been making the most attractive and comfortable selection of masks out there, from locally sourced and primarily cotton materials. If you want to wear a mask like a pro, Tissum Health has dozens of stylish designs, including masks based on designer Arzu Kaprol’s designs that are on offer in both “pro” and “lite” categories, and also offers a variety of mask accessories such as antibacterial mask bags and neck hangers.
Whether it is board games or puzzles, playing games is a great opportunity to challenge your mind while spending time with your family or even on your own. From Turkey’s legacy with backgammon and the recent comeback of chess, to popular board games such as Monopoly, Scrabble and Jenga, playing games pretty much ensures a good time is had by all. This year, games as gifts are trending, which means they are widely available for purchase online, starting from book retailers, which have hundreds of puzzles and classic board game options for all ages, including Scrabble and Taboo as well as others with a twist, such as Anti-Monopoly. Even the clothing and home decoration retailer Mudo has basic board games available for purchase online, such as GO and chess. For something a little different, check out Usturlab, which is an organization that leads science and art workshops for children and has a number of innovative and educational games involving the constellations and ecosystems.
With health being everyone’s priority at the moment, why not give a gift that can inspire people to move their bodies even if from the comfort of home? From pilates balls to yoga bands to balance boards, aka the “wooden wobble,” to badminton and even stylish meditation cushions, Tchibo has a wide selection of gift options at varied price points that can easily be ordered online for home delivery. Juggling, which is where games and sports collide, can be an exhilarating way to workout while gaining an entertaining skill. Based in Ankara, Parafinn.com is the ultimate website to visit for any item related to juggling.