Turkish Christmas gifts make wonderful presents which show you’ve put a bit of thought into it this year. So, are we all feeling festive yet? We’re going to be putting our Christmas tree up over the next couple of days to get ourselves really into the spirit – but we’ve already made the mince for the mince pies, the chutney’s all jarred up and we’ve allowed ourselves a little indulgent evening (or two) of homemade mulled wine, too. We bought a poinsettia ages ago (they’re sold for Republic Day at the end of October in Turkey as they were Atatürk’s favourite flower) so that’s been making the room a tad more festive, too.
So, now all that’s left is some last minute shopping for Turkish Christmas gifts. We like to do bits of shopping, but we also like to make our own gifts, too. So, if you’ve got people in your world who love Turkey as much as you do…or if you’re trying to convince them to love Turkey as much as you do…or even if you just want to treat yourself to some Turkish goodies, here are a few ideas for Turkish Christmas gifts.
Turkish Christmas Gift Ideas For You
First of all, let’s hit the kitchen and pull a few ideas from there…
Turkish Christmas Gifts For People Who Enjoy Cooking
Lots of people love to try and replicate the meals they enjoyed whilst they were in Turkey, whether in restaurants or the home of Turkish friends and family. Turkey has one of the world’s most varied cuisines. So there are loads of recipe books out there celebrating traditional dishes, regional foods and modern dishes designed by today’s top Turkish chefs. You just can’t beat a colourful cookery book packed with images and recipes that take you on a Turkish journey right from your own kitchen. Here are just a few suggestions for Turkish Christmas gifts for any of your friends and family who enjoy cooking:
We (successfully) follow and adapt a lot of recipes from The Sultan’s Kitchen (above) but we do have a bit of an addiction for cookery books (our shelves are packed with them) so our cookery book wishlist doesn’t end there. Ghillie Basan is on our radar with The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking and Classic Turkish Cooking.
But, with oodles of 5-star reviews and loads of Turkish regional recipes, this “Turkish Delights” book by John Gregory Smith looks like a great Turkish Christmas gift.
Well, we’ll certainly be treating ourselves to that one at some point, anyway…
Turkish Tea Glasses
Take yourself back to Turkey by sipping tea from these traditional tea glasses. Who doesn’t love a good strong class of çay? And if you’re a whisky connoisseur, this sort of tulip-shaped glass is allegedly perfect for sipping your whisky too; the shape of the glass best expresses the nose and taste of the whisky you are drinking. Hmm, so there you go. Maybe worth a try!?
Turkish Gift Ideas For The Coffee Lover
Well, what else but a Turkish coffee set. No excuses of, “I’ve not got the coffee, I’ve not got the cups.” This set includes those great little Turkish coffee cups and saucers, holders, the cezve and the coffee. Not just any old coffee, either. This is the famous Mehmet Efendi coffee.
Make Your Own Turkish Gifts For Food Lovers
Turkish foodie gift ideas are on our Christmas list every year, because, if you’re anything like us, you’ll know people who love their Turkish food but have absolutely no desire to make their own. We always like to make some goodies for Barry’s mum…and ourselves, too…for over Christmas and beyond.
Not really Turkish, but, using seasonal Turkish ingredients from the market, we’ve already gone to the effort of making chutney. Although it’s best left to mature over time, it’s still not too late to make your own chutney…you can enjoy it with cheeses and cold meats over Christmas and well into the New Year, then. Pickled red cabbage, hummus and spicy muhammara also make thoughtful Turkish Christmas gifts – dress them in a pretty jar and you’re away.
Or, if you’re too busy in the run up to Christmas to make your own delights, then, what’s a Turkish-themed Christmas gift list without some real Turkish Delight – or ‘lokum’ to give it its correct name – eh? Either as a gift or for nibbles out on the table on Christmas Day, this Turkish Delight Compendium with 10 different varieties should impress! Don’t forget to eat some along with your Turkish coffee, too.
Book Flights & Hotel Rooms As Turkish Christmas Gifts
Well, if you do know someone who loves Turkey (including yourself!) what better Turkish Christmas gifts could there be than treating them to a holiday there, or at least contributing towards that trip?
And, for the non-browsers among you, you can also go direct to Booking.com – which has probably the biggest selection of hotels in the country – to book accommodation at some of the best rates.
It’s also possible to book villas through Booking.com these days, too…
Turkish Gifts For The Home
We love our mosaic lighting and these cute little tealight holders make great table decorations when you’ve got friends over for food. Lovely just for lighting when you’re having a chill out, too, of course. If you’d rather go electrical, there’s loads of mosaic lamp choices, too.
Know someone who’s a hamam, sauna, beach, yoga type of person? How about buying them a Turkish Emporium organic cotton pesthemal? Multi-purpose Turkish bath towels like these are lightweight and they dry quickly, too. And, they just say, “Turkey!”
Turkey Guidebooks As Turkish Christmas Gifts
If you’re already a seasoned visitor to Turkey, you’ll know things don’t stand still for too long around these parts. Either for yourself or for your travelling buddies, get background info on your chosen travel destinations with the latest editions of Lonely Planet Turkey or The Rough Guide to Turkey.
Turkish Christmas Gifts For Other Bookworms
A current book that is being mentioned a lot by Turkophile friends on Twitter is Midnight at the Pera Palace. It’s highly recommended by all – and is high up on our reading wishlist. We’re really excited to read it so we thought we’d recommend it to you, too.
For good old whodunnit reads, I’ve delved into the Barbara Nadel collection of Inspector Ikmen novels. Classic detective tales set in Istanbul – a fun, easy read with a bit of gore and grit and she has a great knowledge of Istanbul, too. The first in the series is Belshazzar’s Daughter…and if you get hooked, like me, there’s another 16 in the series to go at to keep you occupied.
And we can’t not mention Turkey’s Nobel Prize winning author, Orhan Pamuk. Snow and The Black Book are on our bookshelves and have been read. If you love an easy page turner of a book that doesn’t mash your head, then Orhan Pamuk doesn’t really help you on that score. He doesn’t help you at all on that score, actually! But, occasionally, when you’re up for delving into complex characters in equally complex situations – that’s when Orhan Pamuk is a rewarding read.
The easiest Orhan Pamuk read – and it’s a fascinating read, too – is his ‘Istanbul: Memories and the City.’ Orhan Pamuk is from Istanbul and this is a type of memoir; a memoir of his younger life and of his city. Istanbul fans will love this book.
Also check out Turkish author and columnist, Elif Şafak, who has written some great English language novels set in Turkey.
Reading Your Turkish Christmas Gifts
Some people still love to hold a beautiful book in their hands but you can’t ram your suitcase full of books to take on holiday. The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon’s best selling Kindle and makes a great Christmas gift. Or to help protect your gift-recipient’s Kindle while they’re relaxing on Turkish beaches, this leather case should do the trick.
Turkish Christmas Gifts For History & Culture Lovers
Founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, has been the subject of various biographies. We’ve read Andrew Mango’s acclaimed Ataturk which gives so much insight into the man who was a true visionary. Next on the list to read is the very popular, Atatürk: The Rebirth of A Nation.
And, for context as to how Atatürk and his followers came to create the Turkish Republic, The Fall of The Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East should help you out there. As well as the modern history of Turkey, getting lost in the world of the Ottomans is easy to do. Caroline Finkel will carry you through six and a bit mesmerising centuries of the Ottoman Empire in Osman’s Dream. There’s nothing tedious about this book (I’ve read it) and what’s great is, when you’re in mosques and historic buildings around Istanbul and Turkey, you know you’re stepping into the world that belonged to the sultans.
Turkish Christmas Gifts For Film Fans
We’re huge, long time fans of photographer and film director Nuri Bilgi Ceylan. If you’re a film fan, you’ll know he won Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival for Winter Sleep. We’re yet to watch that film but we have seen Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, along with his earlier films Uzak (Distant) and Iklimler (Climates).
You’re seeing the big photo above as a result of a quick discussion between me and Barry and we decided (quickly and indecisively) that this is our favourite Nuri Bilgi Ceylan film…but I’m soooo torn. So, yeah, we’re biased when it comes to these films. When he accepted his 2008 Cannes Film Festival ward, there’s debate as to whether he said, “I dedicate this award to my lovely and beautiful country,” or, “I dedicate this award to my lonely and beautiful country.” Whichever the case, both sentiments are reflected so beautifully in his films.
Turkish Christmas Gifts For Music Fans
No apologies for including this one – the Istanbul music documentary Crossing The Bridge really deserved much more recognition than it actually received. It introduced us to so much music (of all types) and so many artists – and, in the documentary, you’ll see certain sectors of Istanbul life, too.
Amongst other artists, it’s thanks to this film that we were so excited to go and watch Baba Zula when they played in Kayaköy during summer 2015. It’s also the reason why we’ve watched the Turkish rock band Duman live so many times too.
And, as we mentioned Nuri Bilgi Ceylan in the section above, we should say, too, that Crossing The Bridge is directed by Turkish German director, Fatih Akin, himself a Cannes award winner for film, The Edge of Heaven.
Practical Turkish Christmas Gifts
Well, okay, we know these are not Turkish but they’re very handy for your trips to Turkey or anywhere else you may travel to. And who doesn’t love a practical gift?
Don’t run out of space on your camera when you’re taking all those oodles of photos and videos of all the amazing scenery in Turkey. Memory cards with lots of space are great! And very practical but very useful is this 100-piece First Aid kit. Really compact for your suitcase or backpack and perfect for minor injuries. Seriously, we wouldn’t be without ours.
Turkish Christmas Gift Shopping In Fethiye
Yeah, as well as sending people Turkish Christmas gifts online, we’ll be doing some shopping around Fethiye in the usual high street shops, in Erasta shopping centre. We’ll also be no doubt bobbing into the Fethiyespor Store for little stocking fillers. Can’t see us not getting some little festive goodies from Baba Fırın, either…
If you’re like us and haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, good luck! Hope you find some easy ideas for Turkey fans on our list. Happy shopping, wherever and however you end up completing it…