It’s almost that time of year in Buenos Aires: the temperature’s heating up (plus a few intense lightning storms), fake trees are appearing in the shop windows, the pan dulce is flowing, and you’ve suddenly realized you have yet to buy any presents for your nearest and dearest.
But fear not! The little elves here at The Bubble have put their heads together and created a list of merry gift ideas and unique shopping spots in Buenos Aires for all your gift-giving needs. From sustainable fashion brands to football paraphernalia to a mate-infused gin, we’ve got you covered.
For Booze Lovers & Foodies
Argentine Gin: A nice alternative to the classic Malbec, Príncipe de los Apóstoles is produced in Mendoza and incorporates botanicals such as yerba mate, pink grapefruit, peppermint, and eucalyptus into its gin. The creation of Tato Giovannoni, head honcho behind the stunning speakeasy Florería Atlántico, it’s sure to be a classy gift. SUR Gin is another great option for friends staying in Buenos Aires this summer. They may not not escape the heat but they will be able to sip on refreshing G&Ts inspired by the lakes and woods of Patagonia.
Wine: For vino-loving amigos Enogarage are running deals of up to 40 percent off all December – a perfect chance to snap up some fancy Riedel glassware, and have in-house sommeliers that will help you select the perfect wines. So stock up and send out some botellas to your best buds. Alternatively, for a wine-tasting experience, take a friend along to one of award-winning sommelier Agustina de Alba’s memorable Hola Vino workshops.
Cheese: It’s not the easiest task to track down good cheese in Buenos Aires, which will make this option all the more appreciated. Santi Cheese market in Villa Crespo produces a large variety of excellent quality cheeses that can be delivered straight to your door. Quick shopping, delicious result. What more could you want?
- Read More: Best Cheese in Buenos Aires
Freshly Ground Coffee: Take advantage of BA’s specialty coffee boom and purchase some quality granules for your caffeine-addicted friends to enjoy. Palermo favorites LAB, Santa Marta, and Lattente all stock their own excellent coffee for sale.
- Read More: Argentina’s Era of Specialty Coffee
Tealosophy: For friends that have somehow managed to stay off the java bandwagon, a strong alternative would be some delicious natural teas. Tealosophy’s colorful leaves come in exquisite packages that would make a perfect gift. If you aren’t sure what tea your friends would like, they have taster gift packages with multiple flavors for purchase. Equally, head to Barrio Chino where Tina&Co. stock a great selection of teas as well.
Darto: A classy cast iron skillet for the friend that’s always found in the kitchen. Darto produce high-quality pots and pans that are used in some of Argentina’s best-known restaurants.
A Food Hamper: What’s better than one of these scrumptious foodie gifts…? All of them in one big hamper! Almacén 1249, Salumeria Ragni and Valenti all offer ready-made baskets filled with charcuterie, cheeses, and chutneys that will ensure your holiday food coma. Your friends will be thanking you into the new year, for sure.
Chocolate: When in doubt, turn to chocolate! Head to Vasalissa for stunning toile gift boxes filled with artisan truffles. Or for something a little more budget-friendly yet still delicious, Rapa Nui or Mamushka are trusted favorites for gift-wrapped chocolates and alfajores.
For the Homebody
Pajamas: From local designer Carzoglio, these unisex pajamas make for an infinitely cool present. The light linen and poplin means they’re still season-appropriate so will be a perfect outfit to swan about the house in on Christmas morning. Reading the paper in bed on Sunday morning never looked so good.
Cozy Knitwear: A big woolly sweater may not make that much sense in the sweltering, 30 degree-plus December heat, but First Born Knits are so great that we had to include them. Designed in Australia and ethically produced in Argentina, the range includes everything from winter knits to barely-there crochet beach cover-ups. They’re beautiful, and we want everything.
Plants: The gift of life! Potit Plantas have some great gift-sized options that come pre-potted and ready to go. We recommend a low maintenance snake plant or aloe vera for anyone who aspires for hipster chic, but can’t quite be trusted to keep a little greenery alive.
- Read More : The Best Plant Shops in Buenos Aires
Interior Accessories: Some may deck the halls with boughs of holly, but others prefer a stylish Argentine interior accessory. Check out Facon or Elementos Argentinos for some stunning pieces by Argentine artists and designers. You’ll find natural weave rugs, unique furniture designs, beautiful ceramics, and so much more. Likewise, Tito Livio is an interior design shop-cum-wine bar selling cool midcentury modern accessories, and well worth a look to find perfect, unique gifts.
Books: The assistants in Libros del Pasaje are lovely and, if you ask, will offer suggestions to help you find the perfect book. They have a great selection of the classics as well as some interesting non-fiction on modern Argentina. El Ataneo Gran Splendid has a broad selection or for English-language options, and Walrus Books in San Telmo has great value second-hand books in case you’re on a budget.
- Read More: A Journey Through Palermo’s Bookshop Cafés
For Sporty Spice
Yogi Gift Pack: For the yoga-devotee in your life Buena Onda Yoga has recently altered their system to a donation-based payment method. Pre-pay and gift your flexible friend a pack of classes to attend in the New Year. Add in a cheeky yoga mat (which can be found in El Rey del Entretenimiento or any other sports shop), and namaste! You’ve gifted a 10/10 present and won some extra karma points in the process.
Ping Pong Paddles & Ball: Do you ever wish you were one of those cool kids in the parks of Buenos Aires, whiling away the afternoon at the ping pong table? Well now you can. Buy a paddle and ball set for a friend, slip a game challenge into their Christmas card, and see them at the table. (You’re also essentially giving them the gift of time spent with you, so it’s a win-win).
Football Fan Accessories: For those fútbol fanatics, you can guarantee present satisfaction with their favorite team’s shirts, banners, scarves, clocks, caps, posters, etc. Essentially any team merchandise. Area Fútbol in Villa Crespo stocks a great range of very budget-friendly options, including vintage shirts and plenty of banners. Or head down to Calle Florida for more options – authenticity definitely not guaranteed.
For the Style-Conscious
Jewelry: The fail safe option. Jewels will not disappoint, but the key is to find something a little unique and special. At her small Colegiales workshop and showroom, Paula Pereiro makes understated but interesting rings, necklaces and bracelets for her brand Astoria Joyeria Contemporánea. For a more unusual option, Cabinet Oseo create intricate pieces inspired by the human anatomy. Or check out Julieta Morten Joyeria for sweet, handmade bronze and silver styles. Finally, if there’s a special guy you’re looking to splash some cash on then Testorelli make and stock high-end watches, cufflinks, and men’s jewelry.
Sunglasses: The holiday summer season means you can swap the traditional warm socks of the northern hemisphere for a stylish pair of sunnies. We recommend checking out Palo Santo for a unique option. They make beautifully crafted and sustainable wood-framed glasses, sunglasses, watches, and notebooks.
Luxury Consignment: Finding a gem at Boycapel, the city’s poshest consignment store, will make you very popular this gift-giving season. They stock pre-owned designer clothing, accessories and shoes, from Chanel to Gucci and everything in between. Prices are still fairly high – that’s *actual* Chanel my friends – but if you have a slightly more flexible budget and you look hard, you can find some steals (true story: a stunning pair of Prada brogues were snapped up for AR $2,000 not long ago). Happy hunting!
Leather Goods: Buenos Aires is filled with classic leather workshops, but for your fashionable friends with a keen eye for modern detail we’ve found some great options. Patrón in Palermo is a concept store featuring 50 independent Argentine designers. They stock an elegant selection of leather bags and rucksacks, including several vegan leather options. There’s also Facha, a brand that creates sleek, minimalist and durable bags; Nimes is another fantastic favorite, or for effortlessly cool shoes made with artisan leather Acento de Autor is well worth a look.
Additional hot spots to check out:
Wicca Botanics: This is a brand that focuses on both physical and spiritual beauty, putting together splendid little gift sets that anyone wishing to smell good – and feel good – would be happy to receive. You can find everything from crystals to essential oils, to beautiful little trinket bowls. All products are made with natural ingredients and will help you connect with your inner bruja on the next full moon.
Cremas Caviahue: A luxurious unisex skincare brand that incorporates thermal waters from Caviahue-Copahue in Patagonia. The packaging is beautiful and the line includes interesting products like a Thermal Volcanic Mudmask… let’s just say this is not your average moisturizer from Farmacity. #SelfCare, people!
Epoca Bella: This vintage-inspired independent shop in Palermo sells beautifully designed soaps, fragrances, candles and oils. For anyone that loves a bath these will make the perfect gift.
Fueguia 1833:If you’re looking for an extra-special something, this flagship perfume laboratory in the heart of Recoleta will help you out. Inspired by the scents of the Argentine wilderness and made with natural ingredients, these perfumes come in limited edition bottles, engraved with the specific lot and number and year they were created, highlighting their exclusivity. Luxurious candles are also on offer. For that person who has everything, surprise them with Fueguia.
A Massage-Spa Treat: Make a friend feel special by buying them something they wouldn’t usually splash out on Dosha Armonia Corporal and Verde Manzana are superb value for money and have gift options on their websites. Or have a look at one of Buenos Aires’ top spas at Home Hotel, which has full-day experiences complete with afternoon tea for an uber luxurious treat.
For a Good Cause
Open your heart and your wallet this year! Instead of worrying about when you’re going to have to time to run to the shops, or what your friend who seems to have everything actually needs, consider spreading festive cheer by donating to a charity in their name. Here are a few suggestions:
Fundación Sí, a Buenos Aires-based charity that carries out a range of projects to support the most vulnerable in society. You can send a general donation or select the cause that would be closest to your friend’s heart, be it supporting education services, the homeless or community projects. If you’d like to donate time, you can drop in to their Palermo Hollywood-based center and collaborate in a variety of areas (from organizing boxes to painting children’s toys) for as little or as long as you’d like.
Fundación Huésped work across Argentina working to ensure equal access to health services and to limit the spread of diseases. They are particularly active in in areas surrounding HIV prevention, abortion rights, and supporting victims of domestic abuse.
Or if your friend is an animal-lover then they’d definitely appreciate a donation to Proyecto 4 Patas. This organization fights against animal cruelty in Argentina and words to find homes for abandoned dogs. They also have an online shop with 2019 puppy calendars, mugs, notebooks, and t-shirts if you want to add in a little worthwhile gift.
Truco Cards: An original alternative to a normal deck of cards, Truco is a traditional game of the Southern Cone played with a deck of Spanish cards. A nice way to include a little Argentine culture in your post-Christmas lunch games. You should be able to find them in most jugueterías, librerías and at the weekend markets.
Mafalda: The iconic comic strip is now somewhat of an Argentine national treasure, with her own statue in artist Quino’s San Telmo barrio. You can find copies in most book shops and a great deal of Mafalda merchandise in the antique and artisan weekend markets, including some wooden framed strips of the most famous sketches.
Dulce de Leche: Because who doesn’t need some more Dulce de Leche in their life?! Whether you’re looking to impress with some fancy flavors or just keeping it original, then Dulce de Leche & Co. has a huge variety of dulce-based delicacies to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Mate Kit: You can’t get more Argentine than a mate set! Heading home for the holidays with a gift bag of yerba, a mate gourd, and a metal bombilla would be a great way to bring the taste of your adopted country back to your friends and family. All the main weekend artisan markets have stalls with various styles of mate kits, or you can also check out Todo Mates to find different flavors, specialist bombillas and create personalized sets. If you’re on the go and want to pick up a bag at the supermarket, La Merced has some pretty snazzy packaging a step above the rest.
Music: We may live in a world of Spotify and iPhones, but an album or vinyl still makes a wonderful gift. And, on top of that, one of Argentina’s most incredible contributions to the world is of course tango music. So head to Miles Discos, or Jarana Records to search for classics like Carlos Gardel, Ignacio Corsini, Astor Piazzolla, or Mercedes Sosa. And if you’re looking for something a little more modern then have a listen to Soda Stereo, a famous Argentine rock band.
Nursery Furniture: Booh is a store in Palermo that stocks beautiful nursery furniture and pretty much everything else you could need for to decorate the perfect nursery. For any friends you have who are expectant parents it’s well worth a look. Although as much as they need baby supplies, make sure you also include a bottle of wine or two! Punto Bebe is a great one-stop-shop for any other baby related gifts you’re on the hunt for.
Cool Kids Clothing: This may not be the number one gift choice for under 10s, but Kom creates such wicked clothing with graphic prints for both babies and young children that they’re sure to be the coolest kid on the block and thank you later for it. They also make graphic baby bags and teddy bears.
Toys: I hear iPads are all the range with the youthlings these days, but you still can’t go wrong with a great toy! Chapó Loló is a wonderful shop that stocks many original options, lots of scientific games, books, and classic wooden toys. Or have a look in one the several branches of Jugueteria Educando, where you’ll find a plentiful selection of everything you ever dreamt of as a child and more.
Where to Shop?
If you’re still stuck for ideas then we have a few more suggestions of great shopping locations around Buenos Aires:
Feria Juntas: Once a month a host of independent designers and brands gather to showcase and sell their awesome creations. The next feria is being held this weekend (December 15-16) with a special Christmas offering at Ciudad de la Paz 502 in Colegiales.
Hábitat 2127: This elegant pop-up space from founders and designers Marcela Calamita and Julia Schang-Vitón is keeping its doors open for an extra week – right up to the 24th! They have curated a beautiful collection of stylish clothing, accessories, and trinkets from independent Argentine brands. Head to Avenida Dorrego 2127 while you still can.
Galeria Patio de Liceo: Dozens of small boutiques, art galleries, and workshops make up this cool indie co-op run by some of BA’s youngest designers, artists and musicians. One great option is Tienda Raíz, which stocks sustainable jewelry, backpacks and playful wooden sculptures, but we also love Greens and Somos Fe as well.
And of course, there’s also always Mercado de San Telmo, Feria de Recoleta, and Feria Plaza Serrano for any extra stocking fillers you need to find.