It’s the season for gifting, and I love it. I love giving and receiving. I love the thoughtful purchase, the loving home-mades, the useful gift cards. I love finding that perfect thing, and I love it when a craft or recipe or idea comes together. I love the anticipation, and I love genuinely happy faces.
The only way to make it all even better is to give gifts that give back. Gifts that get shared with someone across the country, or around the world. Gifts that come with a story, and leave joy in their wake. So I’ve assembled a baker’s dozen of my favorites.
There are a lot of companies that give a small percentage of their proceeds to charity, and they are awesome because they don’t have to do that but they choose to. Then there are companies that produce things solely for the benefit of their workers or their beneficiaries. I tend to lean toward the later.
So here we go: 13 Awesome Gifts That Give Back
Krochet Kids makes hats (and bags and apparel and accessories and prints) for the whole family, for great prices. Krochet Kids works with women in Northern Uganda and Peru, providing a job, an education, and mentorship to each one.
Each hat is signed – on the inside of the tag – by the woman who made it. I dig that.
I can’t get over these things. I found them a couple years ago, and haven’t been able to come up with a reason to buy them for myself yet. (But I’m working on it!)
There is still a lot of scrap metal in the fields of Laos from the Vietnam War, and still lots of unexploded munitions. These bangles, and other jewelry items from PeaceBomb, are made from recycled bomb metal, and the proceeds fund the safe removal of unexploded bombs from Laos fields. Read more…
My strategy for surviving winter this year – without succumbing to the melancholy of that viscous grayness that clings to everything – is 30 New Things.
The original idea is here, but it’s basically this: I’ve established a challenge for myself in order to strategically avoid winter. It’s potentially brilliant. The challenge?
I want to eat 30 new foods, visit 30 new places, and make 30 new things.
And November is generally considered autumn, but I included it because it started out fairly bleak, and it turns out I was right. It’s snowed several times already. The nasty white stuff is clinging to the sidewalks as I type.
In the same spirit, my challenge is turning out to be more difficult than I thought. Four down, 96 to go, but I’m inspired and I’m learning.
Turns out Al’s Cafe in downtown Elgin is not really a cafe, but they do have amazing malts.
I also learned how – and why – to adjust the tension on my sewing machine, and I have a better idea for my next attempt at a bunting.
The Fiesta Nacho Pizza from My Pizza Heaven would be famous if this were a college town. Yes, it’s topped with fresh lettuce, Nacho Cheese Doritos and buffalo sauce. I wish I could say Husband and I didn’t eat it all in one night, but Santa is coming soon.
Also, Mexican snacks always catch me by surprise. In a delicious way.
And as though I wasn’t already feeling like I need to pick up the pace a bit, Raynna is kicking my butt. These are a few of my favorites:
She also had to go and point out that 30 new things in three categories is pretty much one new thing per day.
But I’m down for it. I need it. This winter is going to be an exciting time.
You in? If you haven’t started yet, you’re just in time. Use #30NewThings on your social networks to play along. We want to see what you’re up to, share inspiration, and cheer each other on through the bleak (post-Christmas, especially) winter! If you’re blogging it, leave us a link in the Comments!
So tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It’s like the opening games of The Holiday Season, especially on the side of my family that celebrates all three grandsons’ birthdays (plus one great-grandson, now) in December.
It’s an exciting time.
Short work weeks. Big meals. Family gatherings. Gifts and cards. Cakes and cookies. Lights, decor, parties and cheer all around.
It all kicks off tomorrow morning when we wake up and don’t go to work, and honestly,
My dad’s family is moving their celebration to Tennessee, for the first time ever. My mom’s side of the family is waiting to get everyone together this weekend, and we’ll be joining them – a mere four hour drive. Husband’s family is waiting an extra week in expectation that his step-dad will be home from the hospital.
That leaves tomorrow to our little family, at my mom’s house, with my brother (and hopefully his sweet girlfriend). Quiet. Intimate. Small. Simple.
And I love that.
But I’m nervous. Read more…