One of my favourite moments of the year is planning a December visit to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. I love to see the young women and men in our craft centres, patiently creating beautifully handcrafted products.
From knitted slippers and fluffy bathmats, to colourful woven rugs and wooden Christmas trees carved using reclaimed wood from the valley, each item is a one-off and I always leave with a suitcase filled to the brim, feeling enthused by these precious Berber communities.
Adding a handmade touch at Christmas time creates a particular magic and ornaments can be passed down through families for generations. I have always thought it wonderful to make something that can be used year after year.
Of course, finding the time to do it is another story, and so what better way to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday season than to give back? Every purchase from the Eve Branson Foundation’s selection of traditional and contemporary Moroccan gifts, embroidered tableware and woollen rugs generates meaningful income for the artisans and their families.
When an order is placed, it is designated to one of the craft centres so that every item is traced back to the artisan who made it. Working through our centres, young people improve the quality of life in their communities and in turn, preserve ancient Berber arts and crafts.
On every visit, I’m struck by the quality and workmanship in each centre. Our teachers and partners provide design insights, helping to develop the skills of each artisan and share their Berber heritage with a broader audience. One handmade collectible of which I am especially proud of is the Responsible Christmas Tree – carved from local off-cuts by our woodworking trainees in the mountain village of Tansghart.
Kasbah Tamadot and the craft centres will always be a second home to me – I treasure seeing the fresh snowfall on the mountains and feeling the warmth of the winter Moroccan sunshine and its wonderful people. Moments I will always remember with much fondness and pride, discovering treasures to take home that will transport me again to this magical place.
Should you be visiting Morocco over the Christmas period, I hope you will visit our weavers and woodworkers in the higher Atlas mountain villages of Tansghart and Tamgounssi.
The Eve Branson Foundation is an independent, non-profit Moroccan charitable organisation. For bespoke orders in time for Christmas delivery, please visit our website