A Mega Guide to Mexican Gift Ideas for the Totally Mexico Obsessed
A fully curated list of Mexican gift ideas, from the super obvious to the super cool and everything in between (featuring 0 sombreros and no tacky faux-feminist Frida Kahlo products), you’ll never have to wonder what to buy for the Mexico fan in your life again after reading this.
Attention family and friends: This is basically an elaborate ruse to give you some excellent gift ideas for future birthdays and upcoming Christmases. Feel free to browse away.
Now for the full disclosure part: this is a list compiled 1) with the use of (some) affiliate links that cost you nothing but may give me a small percentage of your purchase and 2) on the assumption that you aren’t about to pop across the border to buy some Mexico gifts anytime soon.
Therefore, typical Mexican souvenirs (think Talavera tiles, Taxco silver and San Miguel de Allende tin mirrors) aren’t really featured on this guide unless you can get them easily and ethically outside of Mexico.
While I’m sure there are plenty of sites hawking huipiles and huaraches online at a remarkably marked up price, I’m iffy on the ethics of buying in bulk from artisans and profiting off the sales when you get back home.
However, I will say that if anyone has ethical suggestions for sites which sell Mexican gifts online and pump the money back into the communities they come from (especially artisanal products), I’m all ears and open to additions! Just let me know in the comments, or drop me an email.
MEXICAN GIFT IDEAS FOR THE TOTALLY MEXICO OBSESSED
A.k.a. the mother of all Mexican gift ideas. Full disclosure: I’m the proud owner of three Mexico maps (in various styles, obviously) and I don’t think it’s enough. The first is a taco map of the country (taken from the Tacopedia), which lists all the regional taco specialties from Mexico, the second is a bog standard geographical map (ideal for the nerd in your life who loves to know how far different cities are from one another, thanks to the table at the bottom). The third is one that I’m yet to get my hands on, a handcrafted, beautifully designed Mexico Food Map, which can be bought via the Legal Nomad store and shipped for just a few dollars. Mine’s waiting for me at my parent’s house in the UK for now, so in the meantime I’ll just have to daydream about where I’ll hang it up.
I feel like I’m not the only person obsessed with stickers of all shapes and sizes, even though it is slightly less socially acceptable now that I’m over the age of 5. Even so, stickers are cheap, fun and make a great ‘side’ gift that shows you pay attention to that person’s interests. Take note, boyfriends.
Because Mexican food is one of god’s gifts from Mexico to the world, you can find plenty of online vendors selling Mexican food products which can easily be shipped to your door. For spice lovers, hunt down hot sauces like Valentina or Cholula. Alternatively, get your mole on with the perennial favourite, Doña Maria mole pastes, or shop for sweets like Pulparindos, Pelon Pelo Ricos or spicy, sweet and salty lollies that will leave your tongue sore but your tastebuds happy.
You can never go wrong with tajin either.
(Sidenote: Mex Grocer seems to be a decent, if pricey, site for Mexican food products, although I’ve never used it myself.)
I’ve written extensively about the best books for learning all about Mexico and its culture, so hop over to this post for a more detailed list of literary suggestions.
If you’re too lazy to click the above link though, my personal suggestion, which is quite the cover-all book option is the excellent Mexico City Reader. Or anything by Elena Poniatowska. Or Valeria Luiselli (I’m dying to read Tell Me How it Ends). Or, if you truly want to get in touch with your inner Mexican, the Chingonario is unmissable.
Seriously, just read the post already.
I’ve separated cookbooks off from the above point, because I think they warrant a section all of their own. If you have a Mexican food fan in your life, gift them Tacos: Recipes and Provocations, Lesley Tellez’s excellent Eat Mexico, or even Mexico from the Inside Out by superstar chef Enrique Olvera.
(For what it’s worth, I do not cook. So, these recommendations are given based on either good Amazon reviews, or a pretty cover. I know, I know…don’t judge a book by its cover, blah blah. Feel free to browse around for some different Mexican cookbooks, if these don’t take your fancy.)
Nothing says I’m cultured like a flag from a country that isn’t your own adorning your bedroom wall, so buy an oversized Mexico flag for the Mexico obsessed in your life.
Go generic with a Mexican National Selection shirt, or get specific and buy a local team shirt instead.
Related Post: A Non-Football Fan’s Guide to Watching Soccer in Mexico
To cook like a Mexican (something I wish I could, but definitely can’t), you need the right tools. My personal recommendation for cookong-centred Mexican themed gifts is a molinillo, the coolest thing you never knew you needed that will help you make you perfectly frothy hot chocolate every time, or, if you actually want to cook, get yourself a comal.
Other Mexican kitchen products that come highly recommended for the Mexican food obsessed include, but aren’t limited to, molcajetes and contraptions for making tortillas, and keeping them warm once they reach the table.
Weird, sure, but a Netflix subscription is the best gift for the Mexico fan in your life, given that it gives access to some of the best Mexican films, telenovelas and documentaries.
Recent additions to Netflix that will delight any Mexico lover include Kate del Castillo’s version of how she met El Chapo, as well as her ridiculously entertaining (but mainly ridiculous) telenovela, La Reina del Sur.
Plus, buying a subscription gives the recipient free reign over what they watch, meaning they don’t have to feign interest when you buy a DVD (yes, they still exist) of a film they’ve seen a million times.
Country (and City) Guidebooks
This could easily fall under books, sure, but guidebooks are easily worth their own entry too. While everyone gravitates towards Lonely Planet options, you should definitely consider The Rough Guide to Mexico or even The People’s Guide to Mexico.
For more niche guidebook options, Lydia Carey’s Mexico City Streets: La Roma guide is supposedly excellent, and this Mexico travel guide supposedly lists 101 of the coolest things to do in the country.
I don’t use guidebooks really, so I can’t vouch for the quality of these options, although I’m sure the reviews will point you in the right direction.
Related Link: My Mexico Archives (for those who’d rather not buy a guidebook)
Piñata Making Kit
For the child within, a piñata making kit is a fun novelty gift that also doubles up as being actually useful.
You can’t go wrong getting booze delivered straight to someone’s door. Your obvious choices here are tequila and mezcal, but don’t skip over lesser-known drinks like sotol, raicilla and pox if you can get your hands on them.
Related Post: An Introduction to 35 Traditional Mexican Drinks
Novelty jewellery is pretty much the only kind I’ll wear, so I would love it if someone got me any of the following: a Mexico map necklace, taco earrings or anything featuring a concha. Extrapolating, I imagine most Mexico fans would also be keen to receive any of the above suggestions. Sure, they’re not the most traditional Mexican gifts, but they’re still cool.
Vintage Tourism Posters
Whether you want a cool memory for your wall or just an inspiration-to-visit kind of poster, you can find some really excellent vintage posters online, from this one of Oaxaca, to these of Guadalajara, or this of Mexico City. If the destination you’re looking for isn’t featured, you might need to do a little more digging though.
Patches + Pins
From iron-on flag patches that any self-respecting backpacker has stitched onto their rucksack, to cool pins that prove just how into cacti and guitars, tacos, lucha libre piñatas or the Virgen de Guadalupe you are, there’s a Mexico-themed patch or pin out there for everyone.
Lucha Libre Masks
Because, why not? Shop for them here.
My love for slogan tees is eternal, and for Mexico fans, there are plenty to choose from. Buy one emblazoned with chingona, or go for a ‘tacos before vatos’ playera instead. OR these pun-tastic concha shirts.
(I would also encourage you to buy a Frida the Rescue dog tee too, but I can’t be sure the profits go to earthquake victims, so I’m reluctant to endorse. If you’re desperate for something decorated by Mexico’s favourite canine, source an ethical supplier!)
My love for notebooks I never use rivals only that of my slogan tee fascination, so buy the Mexico fan in your life a Mexico-themed notebook or diary. Speaking from experience, it might get shoved in a drawer for a while, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t appreciated, nor that it won’t eventually get used.
Whether it’s a cutesy cushion, or an aesthetic but wildly uncomfortable Acapulco-style chair, there is a homeware product for every breed of Mexico fan. I recommend (because I would buy them myself if I could) a Virgen de Guadalupe candle (or blanket, because lol).
And finally, for the pet owners reading this, who want to indoctrinate their animals with a love of all things Mexico, buy them a suitably embarrassing taco outfit. Because everyone loves taco cat.
Are you a fellow Mexico fan? What would you add to this Mexican gift ideas list (if anything)? Tell me in the comments!