15 ‘Made in Russia’ holiday gifts that are not khokhloma

Need something out of the ordinary but not kitschy? This list is for you.

Need something out of the ordinary but not kitschy? This list is for you.

Shutterstock/Legion Media
The stereotypical Russian souvenirs — blue-and-white gzhel porcelain, hats with ear flaps, vodka and caviar — are far from the only things Santa can bring from Russia. And thanks to online shops, you don’t even have to travel to Veliky Ustyug to get them. RBTH makes holiday shopping easy with this list of gifts for any taste and budget.

1. A piece of imperial porcelain

Press photo
Press photo
Products of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.\nValeriy Melnikov/RIA Novosti<p>Products of the Imperial Porcelain Factory.</p>\n
 
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Looking for something beautiful, fragile and tasteful with a lot of history? Try a piece of Imperial Lomonosov Porcelain. This porcelain factory, founded in St. Petersburg in 1744 by Empress Elizabeth, still produces items using traditional methods as well as with modern porcelain techniques. There are items available for every budget. Choose something from the 2017 “Red” New Year’s collection or a piece of the “cobalt net” dinnerware set — the factory’s most iconic pattern.

2. Tabani socks

Tabani socks / Source: Press PhotoTabani socks / Source: Press Photo

These handmade socks are not only high-quality and stylish — they also support Russian retirees. Tabani socks, notable for their beautiful patterns, are knitted by retired ladies from the region of Udmurtia. The project gives them some additional income and a way to feel useful. The grandmothers of Udmurtia are a particularly active bunch — the region is also home to the Buryanovskyie Babushki, who won second place at the 2012 Eurovision competition! Each pair of socks is unique and costs less than 20 euros.

3. A Raketa watch

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Watches at the Raketa watch company museum.\nVladimir Astapkovich/RIA Novosti<p>Watches at the Raketa watch company museum.</p>\n
 
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The Raketa watch factory once made timepieces for everyone in the Soviet Union. In 2009, the factory was bought by French national Jacques von Polier, who modernized and continued the production. Today it is one of the few manufacturers in the world that produces its own watch mechanisms from A to Z, including the spiral and balance spring. Designs are updated on a regular basis.

4. HALF&KULACHEK dishes

HALF&KULACHEK dishes / Source: Press PhotoHALF&KULACHEK dishes / Source: Press Photo

These dishes designed by Anna Kulachek are produced and decorated by hand at the legendary Gzhel Association factory. The concept is part of a special project developed by AD Russia magazine that works to integrate folk crafts with modern design.

5. Pure Love cosmetics

Pure Love cosmetics / Source: Press PhotoPure Love cosmetics / Source: Press Photo

Russia’s organic cosmetics market is developing rapidly and mass-market products such as Natura Siberica can be found in many European shops. Higher-end, niche cosmetics from Russia also make great gifts. The Pure Love line of natural cosmetics is based on the principles of corneotherapy and designed to activate the natural process of skin regeneration. The brand has already won the admiration of Moscow's trendsetters and beauty editors. Natural ingredients, essential oils and botanicals are used to create the products. All the company’s facial creams have a six-month expiration date and must be kept in the refrigerator.

6. The GRUNGE JOHN ORCHESTRA. EXPLOSION backpack

The GRUNGE JOHN ORCHESTRA. EXPLOSION backpack / Source: Press PhotoThe GRUNGE JOHN ORCHESTRA. EXPLOSION backpack / Source: Press Photo

This Russian indie brand produces items that combine technology, functionality, innovation and style. The brand's “new urbanism” philosophy is clear in its merchandise. Each item has a function, but also history and character. The company’s unique color palette is produced with the help of complex coloring processes.

7. Belyovsky marshmallows

Marshmallows / Source: Lori/Legion-MediaMarshmallows / Source: Lori/Legion-Media

Belyovsky marshmallows, just like the company’s thicker “pastille” candies, are handmade in the town of Belyov (180 miles south of Moscow) with old Russian technologies that do not use artificial additives. Belyovsky marshmallows are particularly soft and have a fine, balanced taste. Unfortunately, food products cannot be ordered online and shipped abroad, so obtaining these marshmallows will require a Russia-based friend.

8. The Constructivist Moscow mug

The Constructivist Moscow mug / Source: Press PhotoThe Constructivist Moscow mug / Source: Press Photo

Heart of Moscow, a young brand of designer gifts, offers a vast array of notebooks, pins, magnets, socks and mittens featuring symbols of Moscow and Soviet images. The company also sells a skateboard made in collaboration with the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. A classic gift to please everyone on your list is the company’s mug decorated with examples of Moscow architecture.

9. Maria Stern pearl earrings

Maria Stern pearl earrings  / Source: Press PhotoMaria Stern pearl earrings / Source: Press Photo

Thanks to social networks, this jewelry brand already has an  army of admirers. The items are sold in concept stores, as well as in Moscow's largest department store, TsUM. Items with large pearls are exceptionally popular, including: cuffs, mono earrings and rings. The jewelry can be bought through the brand's Instagram page.

10. Foma children's felt boots

The Foma children's felt boots / Source: Press PhotoThe Foma children's felt boots / Source: Press Photo

The Foma factory in Magnitogorsk (1,00 miles east of Moscow) produces a modern version of the traditional Russian footwear, valenki. These heavy boots have non-slip rubber soles with a protector, are made of natural felt, insulated with natural fur and meet orthopedic standards. They can handle temperatures of up to -40 degrees.

11. The Rosol sweater

The Rosol sweater / Source: Press PhotoThe Rosol sweater / Source: Press Photo

This sweater has a high neck and is made of soft, warm merino wool. Mischievous reindeer are framed by decorations inspired by old Slavic patterns. The sweater is already worn by Russian rock stars. It comes in both men's and women's versions.

12. Shusha toys

Shusha toys / Source: Press PhotoShusha toys / Source: Press Photo

For several years, Shusha has been the poster child for contemporary Russian design. Created by designer Anastasia Scherbakova and architect Vasily Perfiev, the toys are intentionally minimalistic, alluding to the figurative language of the 1920s avant-garde.

13. Woodsun glasses

Woodsun glasses / Source: Press PhotoWoodsun glasses / Source: Press Photo

For those who do not need warm gifts from Russia, try a pair of sunglasses made of natural wood. This original, high-quality Russian designer product has won the hearts of fashion buffs all over the world, including model Elena Perminova and fashion blogger Sofi Valkers.

14. The AES+F silk scarf

The AES+F silk scarf / Source: Press PhotoThe AES+F silk scarf / Source: Press Photo

This ideal scarf for art lovers was created by the Russian art group AES+F, whose works are exhibited all over the world. The design is based on their famous "Islamic project.” In the project, the group created a series of images depicting international cities in which elements of Islamic architecture have integrated with Western ones.

15. The 'Alexander Rodchenko. Photography- Art' Album

The 'Alexander Rodchenko. Photography- Art' Album / Source: Press PhotoThe 'Alexander Rodchenko. Photography- Art' Album / Source: Press Photo

Russians consider a book to be the best possible gift.  This wonderful album dedicated to the works of legendary avant-garde artist Alexander Rodchenko is perfect for both art lovers and those who are interested in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. The publication’s texts are in English.

Read more: In search of the perfect souvenir from Russia>>>

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