Culture Hack

Can Gift Lists Be More Culturally Relevant?

With the holidays coming up and Black Friday behind us, I find current mainstream gift lists are too generic for such an important time of year. After a week of searching for inspiration, I was still unsure what presents should be given to my loved ones. One would think I learned from mistakes made in previous years, and began drafting a list before Thanksgiving. But, I fell into the same habit of waiting until the last minute and going through the stressful motions of finding gifts for my multicultural friends and family members. 

 I tried to reference online articles by searching “Christmas gift ideas for mom” or “Christmas gift ideas for women”. Even then, I find it exceptionally hard to relate or find meaning in the presents recommended. The ideas suggested could be given to anyone regardless of their respective communities. 

 This year, however, something special happened. I searched “Black-owned Christmas gift ideas” and found a variety of ideas such as a backpack made of kitenge or the Adwoa natural hair beauty line. By specifying the different cultures and communities, more relevant and meaningful ideas were found.

 It is no wonder why apps such as Melaninterest are increasing in popularity. Brands such as Pinterest are now embracing the power of cultural relevance and #blackownedeverything as black consumers become more empowered and conscious of their purchasing power in driving the community forward. Gifts that are meaningful and connect with their shared likes and diverse identities, instead of general ones found on almost every gift guide. 

From visual discovery search engines to e-commerce, more brands can begin expanding their listed suggestions and including a variety of sources for specific groups. By actively engaging with different cultures, can they begin to open the doors to better understanding and forming deeper connections with consumers? For holiday gift lists specifically, being able to meet consumers’ varying identities and wants/needs, is another way for brands to be more attuned and creative.

Now it’s time for me to do some more shopping, and maybe grab a little something special for myself.

-Naomi Augustin