Beirut’s best social impact Christmas gifts

Love the giving spirit of the holidays but bored by the impulse to amass more meaningless stuff? We’ve compiled a short list of fabulous gifts made by social impact businesses. Like Jaleesa, all of these organizations are founded on principles of giving back to their communities. And also like Jaleesa, their products are cleverly designed to make your life easier, during the holidays and all year round.


Two bottles of Lebanese olive oil in GGIL recycled glass bottles

Ziad Abi Chaker and his Green Glass Initiative has struck gold again– liquid gold that is– with this gorgeous case of olive oil. Everything in the package is locally produced or recycled: the oil is made by an elderly farmer in the Saida region, who tends his orchards in a traditional way, without the aid of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. The dark green glass bottles are made from recycled wine bottles from Abi Chaker’s street recycling bins project, and are sealed with recycled wine corks and locally tempered safety seal. Finally, the wooden box is made from recycled wine boxes and shipping palettes.

The pack is 65,000 LL, and is sold at Abi Chaker’s stand every Saturday at Souk el Tayeb. For an additional 9,000 LL, you can have yours delivered by bike messenger. For more information send Abi Chaker a Facebook message here, or email

Abi Chaker’s Green Glass Initiative vases and tumblers also make fabulous gifts. They are available at Souk el Tayeb, Plan BEY, Tawlet, and other classy establishments all over Lebanon.

Ghar Collective Aleppo laurel soap

Want to smell like a queen and put money directly into the pockets of Syrian craftswomen? Of course you do. Aleppo laurel soap has been made the same way for millennia, and counts the Queen of Sheba and Cleopatra among its famously beautiful fans. Today, batches of the soap are made by Ghar, a cooperative of 50 women in Aleppo, many refugees from other parts of Syria. Proceeds from sales in Dubai, The US, and Hong Kong are enough to pay each woman $150-$200 per month.

To snag a bar, pass by the Syrian Christmas Craft Fair on 7 December at AUB’s West Hall, or Mansion in Gemmayzeh in the evening between 9-15 December to pick up some of the soap that made Aleppo famous. Can’t make it in person? Reach out to the collective via Facebook or Instagram.



Art.Cages antique bird cage lamp

Light up your house (and conscience) with an Art.Cages lamp fashioned from upcycled birdcage. “We chose the cage as a medium because we believe in liberty,” says founder and CEO Ruba el-Amine. “We’re against captivity,” she continues, “for animals and for the human mind.” To that end, 15% of the profits from each sale will go toward Animals Lebanon.

Check out Art.Cages’ pieces, starting at $60, at their pop up shop at the Beirut Souks, in the alley behind Balthazar. Art.Cages is also hosting or attend a sneak preview screening of the new Jessica Chastain film Molly’s Game on 19 December at ABC Achrafiyeh. Tickets are 20,000 LL.

Koullouna gift box

Want to send a little bit of Lebanon to someone abroad? The Koullouna Box is just the thing. Lebanon-themed books, decorative items, food will be delivered to their door in a monthly themed box. The first box’s contents fell under a coffee theme, including a bag of Cafe Najjar coffee, a rakweh, traditional ceramic coffee cups, orange blossom water (for white coffee), and other goodies. 10% of proceeds from the coffee box went toward The Nawaya Network; future boxes will go toward other initiatives in Lebanon “doing the country good,” says founder and CEO Marielle Khayat.

Check out Koullouna’s Indiegogo page to learn more, and to place your order for the next box, to be delivered in March 2018, for €34 plus shipping.

Inaash Palestinian embroidery serving tray

The Inaash serving trays ($50-75) embellished with Palestinian embroidery are the perfect combination of modern and traditional. Amazingly, the Inaash Association has worked in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon for the past 50 years, sending designs and materials to Palestinian women who then work on pillow cases, cushions, and other textiles. The women are paid, then Inaash works the textiles into pieces like these trays or sleek stools.

The pieces are sold at the Inaash Association shop in Ras Beirut near the Saudi embassy. For directions or more details, call 01 744 609. The shop is open from 8 AM to 3 PM Monday through Friday, Saturday 8 AM to 1 PM.




Jaleesa gift card

We at Jaleesa also offer gift cards good for child care in any amount you’d like (starting at $50). We impact our community in three ways: 

  1. We work with NGOs to recruit women from underprivileged communities and train them as child carers
  2. Our non-profit events program funds a subsidized child care fund for underprivileged families living in Bouchriyeh and Burj Hammoud via the NGO BZ KIDZ
  3. Our high quality child care service lets women get back to work sooner after having a baby, should they choose to do so.

To purchase a gift card, email me at or WhatsApp me at +961 76 817 019.

Know another beautiful Levantine social impact product we should add to this list? Leave a comment or email me at or WhatsApp me at +961 76 817 019. Let’s make this a community effort.

And please accept our warm holiday wishes, from the Jaleesa family to yours.

Source: jaleesa blog

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