There’s nothing quite like giving or receiving a thoughtful gift. The time and effort spent finding and purchasing something special is a great way to show you care about someone. This is especially true while traveling.
When on vacation, consider getting local gifts that signify your feelings and your trip at the same time. Hawaiian gifts that are made in Hawaii are culturally significant, beautiful, and meaningful.
Why We Give Gifts
There are many reasons to give gifts. Holidays, birthdays, travel souvenirs, and simply showing love and appreciation are just some reasons we give each other presents. In fact, several studies have shown that spending money on someone else promotes happiness.
Searching for the perfect Hawaiian gifts can be a thrill for the giver. Spending time and money on the perfect present is a form of showing love for many people. Whether looking for a souvenir from a memorable trip or finding the ideal way to express your feelings, gifts are a great way to show you are thinking of someone.
Even if gift-giving isn’t your default way of showing you care, it can be made easy by keeping the recipient’s interests or personality in mind when shopping for your friend, coworker, or loved one.
Choosing Gifts That are Made in Hawaii
Hawaiian gifts are great options if you are shopping for a gift to remember a significant vacation to Hawaii or searching for a present for someone who loves the islands. Look for items specifically made in Hawaii to support local people and businesses.
There are several reasons to shop local when searching for your Hawaiian gifts:
- Tap into local culture
- Support local economy
- Find authentic and unique items
As you can imagine, from an island state with a rich history, Hawaiian gift shops are full of beautiful items made in Hawaii. With a wide variety of gifts, it is easy to find something for everyone on your list in a Hawaiian shop specializing in local goods.
Hawaiian Gifts for 9 Types of Recipients
It is essential to think of the recipient when looking for a meaningful gift made in Hawaii. This may be easy or hard depending on how well you know the person and how easy they are to buy for. Some people seem to have it all, making it hard to find something unique, but shopping becomes easier once you identify their primary passion.
Consider the kinds of things that make the recipient of your gift excited. Do they enjoy cooking or nature? Or maybe they want to show off their newest unique piece of jewelry. Once you have that nailed down, you can easily shop for your Hawaiian gifts.
While there are many kinds of gifts made in Hawaii, check out this list of popular recipient types so that you can pick the ideal present for your loved one.
1. The Foodie
Just about everyone loves food, but some people take their passion to the next level. When your gift recipient is constantly looking for new flavors to snack on or creative ways to enhance their cooking, you might consider a food-centered gift to satisfy their taste for something special.
Exploring new cuisines may be right up your foodie friend’s alley. Keep this in mind while traveling, and try to find ingredients, spices, cookbooks, and cooking tools to give away.
Hawaiian gifts concerning food are as special as the islands themselves. Like dishes from any culturally unique area, food made in Hawaii has a specific flavor profile that is incredibly recognizable. Bring the taste of the Aloha State home to your friends and family with gifts contributing to a Hawaiian-inspired menu.
Gifts to Satisfy the Sweet Tooth
Your friend with an affinity for sweets will love the Cook Kwee’s Maui Cookies. Since 1981, the company has been developing cookie recipes with authentic Hawaiian ingredients, making this an ideal gift that is truly made in Hawaii. Mrs. Kwee started the business after immigrating from Indonesia and sold it to the current owners in 1986, staying on for an additional 10 years to teach the new owners everything there was to know about the cookies.
Cook Kwee Maui Cookies are made by hand in Maui. A true family business, at Cook Kwee Maui Cookies, Mom bakes, daughter packages, and Dad does a little bit of everything. They also have six local employees, which means supporting their company supports the local people.
The original cookie was shortbread, and more flavors have been added over the years. Cook Kwee’s flavors include:
- Original Shortbread
- Coffee Macadamia
- Chocolate Chip Mac Nut
- Chocolate Chip
- White Chocolate Mac Nut
- Macadamia Nut
Gifts for the Savory-Savvy
Of course, not every foodie has a sweet tooth. There are Hawaiian gifts that will satisfy the savory foodie in your life, too.
Maui Nui Venison makes all sorts of venison products made in Hawaii, including the original and peppered venison sticks. These products result from responsible control of the invasive axis deer population, which threatens the islands’ limited resources.
Your foodie friend who likes to cook might enjoy Maui Chili Chili Oil to add a kick to their homemade dishes. Another family business, Maui Chili Chili Oil was developed by a husband-and-wife team, Deron and Kit Furukawa, and is made in Hawaii. There are three spice levels of their chili oil: mild; medium, which has a hint of ghost pepper; and spicy, which has a lot of ghost pepper.
2. Wild About Wildlife
Did you know that Hawaii has more endangered species per square mile than anywhere in the world? Your conservationist friend will appreciate Advance Wildlife Education, a local Maui small business founded by wildlife biologist and illustrator Che Frausto, who is dedicated to educating people about the local endangered wildlife.
Advance Wildlife Education’s coloring books, stickers, and temporary tattoos make learning fun and accessible for all ages. These Hawaiian gifts address real solutions on how people can participate in conservation while providing an entertaining way to learn about Hawaii’s wildlife.
Consider pairing a coloring book or set of stickers with a genuine fossil or shark tooth. Partnering interesting information with real evidence of these magnificent creatures will help the nature lover in your life respect and protect the incredible wildlife in Hawaii.
3. The Tea Sipper
Tea is a versatile drink loved by people worldwide. Hot, cold, sweet, spicy, light, robust — there is a tea for every palate. When shopping for the tea-drinker in your life, look at a tea made in Hawaii like the kind you’ll find at Polipoli Farms.
Polipoli Farms sit on the same ‘āina momona — or fertile land — that supplied food and resources for Native Hawaiians for generations. The Māmaki + ‘Ulu Herbal Tea is one of many unique Hawaiian gifts, offering a sweet and slightly earthy flavor. It features māmaki, which is only found in Hawaii. While ‘ulu originally came from Polynesia, it is a spiritual crop that has made its way in and out of Hawaiian lore.
Teas made in Hawaii at Polipoli Farms are harvested by hand and prepared in small batches. Each tea is good served hot or cold and can nourish the drinker’s body and soul with its flavors.
4. The Art Aficionado
Local art is an integral part of any culture. When looking for Hawaiian gifts, ensure that your pieces are made in Hawaii and try to connect with the artist if possible. A unique item may make a striking part of your collection, but it will be even more special when you have met the artist and heard their story.
Choosing local art is more meaningful than snagging a mass-produced trinket from the airport or gift shop. Your search may even heighten your own travels as you step away from tourist traps to find authentic gifts for your loved ones. Find new ways to support the local community while you hunt for the perfect gift.
From paintings to jewelry to useful items, you might be surprised to find a wide variety of artistic items made in Hawaii that would be a great gift while supporting locals.
5. The Woodwork Enthusiast
An art in itself, woodwork pieces make great gifts for those who respect the value of beauty and hard work. Charlie Zender, for example, has worked around everything from home construction to artistic mediums, finally settling on woodworking in 2019. Zender Wood Creations is based in a small shop in Makawao on Maui, creating these works of art that are authentically handmade in Hawaii.
When hunting for Hawaiian gifts, consider something your recipient can use. Zender Wood coasters, for example, are both beautiful and functional. Each set is unique and handmade by Zender himself. The coasters feature maple, walnut, paduk, and purpleheart wood fashioned together and backed with cork.
6. The Fossil Fan
Collectors and history buffs might enjoy an authentic fossil as one of your Hawaiian gifts. Be sure you purchase a real fossil and not a replica or imitation by buying from a trusted store or vendor, like Whaler’s Locker.
A fun activity might be to gift a fossil and then work together to learn more about that fossil and the prehistoric time it came from. For example, gift a trilobite and learn more about the complex fossil and the time period it came from. As a bonus, trilobite fossils are considered lucky charms.
Other popular fossils include sea biscuit fossils and ammonite fossils. Consider what your recipient already has, or help them start a fresh collection by gifting them several fossils. You might help them begin a new hobby with your Hawaiian gifts.
7. The Crystal Collector
Collectors, healers, and religious observers have been using healing crystals for centuries to heal the mind, body, and soul. Not only are these pieces beautiful, but they are known to promote positivity and healing by connecting us to the earth.
Popular healing crystals you can find at our Maui store include:
Special healing crystals can be connected with specific desires. For example, many crystals are helpful when searching for love. Your Hawaiian gifts can be more than pretty trinkets for decoration — they can help your loved one manifest a specific need or healing in their life.
Think about ways your friend’s life can improve and use that need to pick the perfect healing crystals as special Hawaiian gifts. You might even find something you need as well.
8. The Maritime Decorator
There are many beautiful Hawaiian gifts and pieces of art that fit within the nautical theme. Many people love decorating with maritime pieces that are made in Hawaii, and that passion can often bleed into different collections of artifacts.
Scrimshaw art, for example, is a beautiful art form that is often made in Hawaii. Originally, scrimshaw was the common way to pass the time for sailors, and they used whale byproducts to create their designs, but over the years, it has become a form of art that is easily identifiable and enjoyed by many.
There are many options for those wanting to give nautical scrimshaw designs as a special gift made in Hawaii. Whether put to use or put on display, any piece will be a treasured gift for the maritime enthusiast in your life.
9. The Jewelry Lover
For some, wearing a gift and showing it off is important. That’s where jewelry comes in. Many jewelry pieces made in Hawaii are as unique as the islands themselves and make stunning gifts for loved ones around the world.
Colorful and intricate, butterfly wing jewelry makes a special gift for a special someone. Sourced from butterflies that have died naturally, these sterling silver earrings and pendants are Hawaiian gifts that stand out.
When looking for more traditional Hawaiian gifts, check out Maui hook necklaces. Long before Disney’s “Moana” made Maui’s hook an important plot point, these necklaces were an intricate part of Hawaiian culture. Legend has it that the wearer of a Maui hook necklace transfers a piece of their spirit to the jewelry, making it a link from generation to generation over time.
Whether shopping for a jewelry fan, healing crystal enthusiast, or foodie friend, gifts made in Hawaii will be the best way to let them know you were thinking of them during your visit. Hawaiian gifts celebrate a special culture and are often beautiful and unique treasures any recipient will appreciate.