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6 last-minute gift ideas from Ukrainian brands

December 23, 2021 5:46 pmby Agatha Gorski
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Holiday decor gifts from the limited collection by the Hey.Guide and Ukrainian Folks Instagram projects. (shop.hey.guide)

From traditional decor and cutting-edge art books to basic home wear and fragrances, Ukrainian brands have everything needed for perfect holiday shopping.

To guide you through the best Ukrainian goods available online, the Kyiv Independent has compiled some of its favorite picks this season.

Decor: Hey.Guide x Ukrainian Folks

For those looking for an original and festive gift, the Kyiv Independent recommends browsing a limited collection by the Hey.Guide and Ukrainian Folks Instagram projects. Created to bring traditional Ukrainian decor back into winter celebrations, the collection was designed with Ukrainian folk artists practicing their traditional craft all around the country. Among our favorites are the Didukh and the Star Rose Napkins. 

Didukh, an ethnic analog to the Christmas tree, is a straw amulet used to decorate the Christmas table. Symbolizing the memory of ancestors, Didukh brings peace, harmony to the home and prosperity for the coming year. Hey.Guide's Didukhs are handmade by a craftswoman in Ternopil, a regional capital in western Ukraine, who was taught the traditional craft by her mother. 

For a smaller gift, we recommend the Star Rose Napkins made from home-woven linen fabric, a Ukrainian tradition from pre-industrial times. The Star Rose is considered the holiest symbol visualizing the folding and unfolding of the universe. It is a great addition to the holiday table. 

A greater variety of holiday decoration is available on the Hey.Guide’s online shop with gifts ranging from $7 to $165. 

Illustrated English version of the classic by Ukrainian Taras Shevchenko "Kateryna" and art book "Orthodox Chic" by Kyiv-based Osnovy Publishing. (Osnovy Publishing)

Books: Osnovy Publishing

You can never go wrong with giving a good book as a gift, and Osnovy Publishing has many great options.

For Ukrainian art connoisseurs, the website offers a handful of original photography books. Our favorites include the “Ukrainian Railway Ladies” - a photo project consisting of over 50 portraits of traffic controllers and safety officers at Ukrainian railroads. Sasha Maslov, known for his social documentary portraits, documents the cultural and anthropological aspects of this profession which remains unchanged in Ukraine despite its lack of necessity today. 

For a gift to friends abroad or in Ukraine who are still exploring the country, Osnovy has English guide books published under the "Awesome Series." The guides, ranging between $22-$25, give a great introduction to the must-know facts and must-visit places of Kyiv, Odesa, Kharkiv, and Lviv. There are also two general guides on Ukraine for those interested in exploring the local culture and digital progress. 

Osnovy also offers a range of children's books and art books like “The Art of the Ukrainian Sixtiers,” as well as an illustrated English version of Taras Shevchenko's classic “Kateryna.” 

Many books are available in English at Osnovy Publishing’s online shop, ranging from $4-$99.

Decor from the Tiger collection celebrating the coming year by Gunia Project. (guniaproject.com)

Ceramics: Gunia's Tiger collection

Gunia Project is a decor and clothing brand that employs traditional craft with a modern twist. For this holiday season, Gunia has prepared a new Tiger collection celebrating the coming year of the Water Tiger. Among its wide selection of tableware, you'll find everything from plates to candles and vases in a hand-painted, minimalist style. 

It’s hard to go wrong with Gunia's Tiger tea cup as a gift. Priced at $48, it can be paired with a plate or teapot or be gifted on its own. Either way, it is a perfect kitchen accessory that can be used to enjoy mulled wine or egg nog on a frosty winter evening. The Tiger vase is another good pick for those with a bigger budget. Decorated with naïve-style embroidery, the piece is priced at $267.

More gift options from the Tiger collection are available at Gunia’s online shop for $44-$267.

Winter essentials by the Jul brand specializing in basic clothing. (jul.ua)

Home wear: Jul

Specializing in basic clothing, the Jul brand has recently dropped a new collection offering winter essentials.

We recommend Jul’s pajama set. The blue cotton button-up collar shirt and matching trousers with adjustable lacing belts are sold separately for $48 and $44, respectively. 

Our other favorites include the unisex green fleece zip-up Shchedryk Shchedryk anorak and the plushy green Galya Carries Water tote from Jul's collection with Ukrainian Folks, which integrates quotes from traditional Ukrainian songs into modern fashion. The anorak is priced at $70 and the tote at $59.

Jul's online shop offers plenty of cashmere and fleece sweaters, other cotton PJs, warm hats and gloves for $4-$227.

Ukrainian brand Poetry Home offers a wide range of home products like candles and perfumes. (poetryhome.ua)

Candles: Poetry Home

Like decorations, pleasant scents can make a home feel cozy during the winter season. Ukrainian brand Poetry Home offers a wide range of home products like candles, perfumes and air diffusers, great for readers looking for a simple and budget holiday gift.

Ukrainian Singer Tina Karol's Candle limited collection made with forest notes is an excellent addition to the smell of the Christmas tree and other festive decorations for friends and loved ones. The Home Green perfumed candle, priced at $22, gives off coniferous evergreen forest and tree terns, great for mediating calmness on evenings. 

Other gift options by Poetry Home are available online for $22-$257.

Textured woolen pillows by Ukrainian brand Gushka. (gushka.wool)

Pillows: Gushka 

Keep your loved ones warm and relaxed with home products made with natural wool from Carpathian sheep. The Ukrainian brand Gushka offers carpets, blankets, pillows and even poufs in custom sizes and colors. We recommend the small textured woolen pillows available for $30. These pillows come in white, brown and grey, and are a great home accessory for cold Ukrainian winters.

Shop for pillows and other woolen products for $30-$44 via Gushka’s Instagram account.

Agatha Gorski
Author: Agatha Gorski

Agatha Gorski is a contributor to the Kyiv Independent. She is the co-founder of the Shadows Project, a cultural initiative for young Ukrainians to interact with their culture and history in a contemporary way. She is currently finishing a BA in Political Philosophy and History at Sciences Po Paris in France.