6 Politically Conscious Palestinian Christmas Gifts

6 Politically Conscious Palestinian Christmas Gifts

During the Christmas season, we are often busy with family and friends as we prepare for the holiday. While it’s an important time where we recall and celebrate the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ, we should also remember that the same city Jesus was born into and the Christian descendents of some of his earliest followers are today under political occupation. As you shop this holiday season, consider supporting these nonviolent and creative Palestinian Christian efforts to raise awareness and support themselves this holiday season.

1. Nativity Set with the Separation Wall

This is a beautiful portrayal of the sad political reality in Bethlehem, a unique olive wood nativity scene with the wise men behind the separation wall. There are a number of versions of this set available online. You can find a few of them here .

2. Empty Tear Gas Canister Ornament

 

Israel routinely uses tear gas as a crowd control method.  These canisters litter the streets of Bethlehem, and some artisans have collected these and repurposed them as Christmas ornaments.  For more information about the artist and the idea, read more here

3. Glass Ornaments

When the Israeli military invaded Bethlehem in 2002, broken glass could be found littered on the streets. Poor people often gathered this glass and made it into art in order to earn money during this difficult time. This period inspired this project, to take that which is broken and refine it into something beautiful, a symbol of hope during difficult circumstances.  For more about these ornaments and the artisan family behind it, click here.

4. Keffiyeh Stockings

The keffiyeh is traditionally a square scarf that is worn as a headdress by Arabs and some other Middle Easterners. It was typical that Palestinian farmers would wear this, and eventually it became a symbol of Palestinian nationalism from the early 20th century.  This is a lovely way to merge Christmas stockings with the Palestinian scarf and embroidery. I am not aware of a site selling these at this time, but if you are interested in ordering a keffiyeh and taking it to a seamstress or making it yourself, you can find the material here.

5. Olive Leaf Sterling Silver Jewelry

The olive tree represents Palestinian roots and connection to the land, and in the Bible, an olive branch represents peace. These artisans have taken these beautiful silver-green leaves which dot our landscape and dipped their leaves into sterling silver, creating unique pieces of jewelry. For more information about this product, click here.

6. Marble Earrings

These earrings are made from marbles thrown at Israeli soldiers. From my understanding, instead of taking these marbles to use in further violent action, they were collected and repurposed into jewelry, so no further harmful action would be taken. This item is not available online, but available at local shops in Bethlehem. If you want to know which shops, send us a private email here


Whether by transforming a weapon of destruction into a work of art or finding humor in a serious and hostile situation, the Palestinian people find the light in the cracks of their injustices. As you remember the world Jesus came to, as you remember him as he was in his context at that time, also remember us, his followers in this land at this time. Pray for Bethlehem and pray for us.  

Merry Christmas!

 
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