I admit it: I am a Scrooge.
It’s a hard thing to face, especially once November arrives. Every year, holiday displays (namely, Christmas trees and stocking stuffers) appear earlier in the stores. One year, while working retail at a big-box department store, we had to have the “Holiday Floor Setup” completed by Labor Day. LABOR DAY.
The story of how I came to hate the time of year between (American) Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is long and ugly, and not the focus of this post. But each year I am faced with the dilemma:
How do I buy gifts when I’m really not in the holiday spirit?
First off, I long ago came to accept that giving gifts of things is not an obligation. While the children in my family are being showered with numerous presents of toys and clothes and tchotchkes from adoring family members, I decided that giving the gift of opportunities and experiences is much more relevant to my morals and values. But when I do decide to give gifts of physical items, they must meet two requirements:
MEANING: If I am going to make the effort to purchase or make something, I want it to mean something. Whether it is a scarf for cold days or a case of handwarmers for outside adventures, a necklace someone has wanted for months or the book just released by their favorite author, I want my gift to say, “Hi there. I see you. Let me show you I understand.”
VALUE: I’ve spent the last year downsizing my life to only the most important pieces, things that hold truth and beauty for me. Things that enhance my world. When I give a gift (during the holidays or any time), I want it to be something that would make the 100 possessions (not counting clothes) that a person would keep, were they limited to such. Or feed their spirit in some way (gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or concert tickets to their favorite band).
There is nothing more tender than being valued, and I want to share that with my gift recipients.
Having these criteria makes it easier for me to decide on gifts — if it doesn’t pass the muster, it doesn’t get purchased. All that said, I’ve gone ahead and compiled some of the gifts I’ve purchased this year or previous to give you some quick and easy ideas for those who are on your list:
This single antler necklace tops my list as the gift for women. I am in love with it’s clean lines, simple nature, and sustainable creation. Introduced to me by Hannah Marcotti, I have had this one bookmarked for months.
An annual membership to SouLodge with Pixie Campbell is a gift that will provide magick, sustenance, and guidance for women throughout 2013 and beyond. With the grace of an eagle and the wisdom of our Elders, Pixie has created the space for Wild Women to blossom and thrive.
One of my favorite necklaces is a locket hand-stamped by Liz Lamoreux. Inside are the words Write Your Truth, a mantra that has carried me through the darkest times and the lightest of days. Liz not only does a full collection of her work, but also does custom lockets, necklaces, bracelets, and other adornments.
While they provide challenges for the environment with their use of paper, magazines that are printed sustainably and with mind for their impact AND bring beauty in the world are a wonderful gift for someone who needs continual inspiration and excitement. Two of my current favorites are Kinfolk Magazine and Taproot: Living Fully, Digging Deeper.
Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors, speakers, and bloggers. Her research into courage, shame, and self-awareness have given me some of my own deepest insights, and I am forever grateful. Her books aren’t just for women, either. Anyone and everyone can benefit from this amazing work, and Daring Greatly, her latest work, is just one example of her brilliance.
Buying local is really important to me, and I try to do any shopping I can from local or independent businesses/designers. For those of us not always fortunate to live near small or independent bookstores, there is a solution: IndieBound. A central network of independent booksellers and retailers, IndieBound is a great place to find those books on your recipients lists while support small businesses and independent sellers. They also have great swag.
For the mystic on your list (or the aspiring mystic), I cannot say enough about the new tarot deck from The Wild Unknown. Filled with hand-drawn images and crystal-clear messages, this deck is a delight to see and a gift to read. The creatrix has also released a companion guidebook, to grant a little extra insight into each card and reading.
What gifts are you giving this year?