7 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Culturally Curious (Each for $20 or Less)

photo by mysza831

Looking for a holiday gift that’s fun and fosters cultural awareness?

Look no further! Here are 7 ideas for the culturally curious kid, teen or adult on your gift-giving list, each for $20 (US) or less.

Gift idea #1: Putumayo World Music

Travel the world with Putumayo! Kids, teens, and adults will be tapping their toes in no time to the likes of African Party, Celtic Crossroads, Tango Around the World, Arabic Groove, or even World Playground (click on the links to listen to clips of each CD, $14.95). Be sure to check out their great holiday specials.

>> For more information about Putumayo, watch this video or visit their website.

Gift idea #2: Fair trade items by World of Good

If you’ve shopped at Whole Foods recently, you’ve probably seen a World of Good display. Fair trade bags, jewelry, t-shirts, housewares, notebooks and journals — there’s something for everyone.

Here are some of my favorite items: (yes, this is a hint to my husband 😉 )

>> Learn more about the World of Good organization.

Gift ideas # 3, 4, 5: Three options for Three Cups of Tea

I’m half-way through this book and recommend it to anyone who likes being inspired by amazing people who are changing the world (and doesn’t mind feeling really lazy in comparison to “Dr. Greg”). If you by some chance haven’t heard about Greg Mortenson’s book, here’s a synopsis:

Some failures lead to phenomenal successes, and this American nurse’s unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world’s second tallest mountain, is one of them. Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town’s first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Here are the three options for Three Cups of Tea:

1. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time
(Adult Version, $8.51
on amazon.com)

2. Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Journey to Change the World, One Child At A Time
(Young Adult version, $8.99 on amazon.com)

3. Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea
(Children’s version, $11.55 on amazon.com)

If you click through to amazon.com through the Three Cups of Tea website, up to 7% of the proceeds will benefit the Central Asia Institute.

Gift idea # 6: Help US students learn about the world with DonorsChoose.org

A Kindergarten class would like a world rug for their classroom. Seventh graders want to build a Ugandan stove in their science class. And a group of elementary ESL students hope to create picture books to exchange with students in another country through Kids to Kids International.

And they need our help funding these projects.

Why not make a donation in your gift recipient’s name and at the same time help students learn about the world. Just go to DonorsChoose.org and search for an international project that catches your fancy. This is a perfect gift for that person who has everything.

Gift idea # 7: Art in History

I learned about Art in History a few years ago at an international education conference. At their session, they handed each participant a replica of an earthenware drinking vessel from Ancient Greece, a paint brush, and a cup of paint.  As we sketched and then painted our designs on the vessel, we learned how it was created, decorated, and used in Ancient Greece. I had so much fun painting my vessel that I snagged a couple for gifts for my nieces and nephew.

Not interested in a drinking vessel from Ancient Greece? Well, then, how about an African Kuba mask, a 19th century Japan Ceremonial Tea Bowl, a Mughal Empire India Khurja Box, or one of their many other world history projects.

Projects cost around $8.50 and contain paint pods, a code for a downloadable lesson plan that explains the history of the artifact, history of the time period, full color motifs, and decorating instructions.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

What are your holiday gift ideas?

About the Author: Cate Brubaker

Dr. Cate Brubaker is a re-entry/repatriation coach, consultant, and author of the Re-Entry Roadmap creative workbook and the Study Abroad Re-entry Toolkit. Cate has lived in Germany, worked and traveled in 36 countries on four continents, and has helped all kinds of globetrotters successfully navigate global transitions for over 20 years.

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