Every year Oprah does a collection of her favorite things for the holidays. Since I love to window shop, I thought it might be fun to make my own list this year. I’m filling this list with things I LOVE and feel are good for the environment and maintaining sustainable communities.
So, without further ado, here’s…
Claire’s 12 “Favorite Things” for Winter 2011:
- Warm wintery socks
Everyone loves warm feet in the winter, so sweet socks are the perfect gift this year. You could even knit some yourself for someone you love with FREE patterns from Ravelry. My favorite knitters is of course Julia.
- Handmade soy candles from Harmony Farms
Pumpkin pie and mulled cider are divine scents for keeping your house smelling cozy, but my favorite scent year-round is wintergreen.
- Vintage Wire Baskets
I LOVE organization and I love upcycling. Using vintage wire baskets to organize your home combines these two passions perfectly. The basket pictured is not for sale, but there are hundreds of wire baskets to be found in your local flea market and on etsy.
I love wreaths for simple holiday decor. A wreath made from natural seasonal materials or recycled materials from your home can transition decor from one season to the next with little effort and big effect. I’ve coveted a natural cotton ball wreath like the one pictured below for YEARS, but the price is way out of my range (one day it will be mine :)). However, there are many other choices and styles to be found for each season at locally owned stores, on etsy, or made on your own.
- Wooden Toys
There is nothing nicer than seeing my little girl learn and play with wooden toys. They feel well made, safe, and there are lines that are environmentally friendly. Some things on our little one’s wish list this year include a wooden train set from Plan Toys, wooden blocks from WonderWorld, and a wooden memory game by Boikido. I always love the toys made by Melissa and Doug also, so we’ve got our eyes on some magnets like these and these this year too.
Nothing says, ‘I really thought about you when I bought this,’ like getting someone a good book. It’s hard to find just the right book because book tastes vary. However the hunt is worth it because there’s nothing like getting a book you’ll enjoy for hours and hours, talk about with friends later, and be able to share with others in the future too. I’ve got a LONG list going this year of books to buy, so to save money and my planet I’m buying used and local. I just visited one new local bookstore called Parnassus and loved its selection of gardening books and friendly kids’ section. Find your local book stores and give the gift of a good read this year!
- Professional Portraits
I love photography and value nothing more than a well captured memory. I photograph my family constantly, but there’s nothing quite like a professional shoot. They far surpass my casual snapshots. So for the holidays, give the gift of a memory to your family! Grandparents who have everything love a good photo of their grandkids. Even better, gather everyone together for an event or activity and have the grandparents included in the photos! I of course like to support independent artist, so here are some photographers I’ve loved working with in the past include Whitebox (who photographed my wedding), Dani Braden Photography (who has photographed our little one), and Andrew McMurtrie Photography (who’s done Christmas photos for us).
- Give a Goat
…or a chicken, or duck, or sheep, or a whole cow even to a family in need though Heifer International. I’m interested in one day having animals as a part of my homestead, but while I master veggies and get my family onboard with the idea of bees and chickens, in the interim I give livestock to others who can benefit from it even more.
- Vintage fabrics
Handmade clothes, quilts, stuffed toys, and pillows are all fun gifts for adults and kids on your giving list that are made even more special by using fabrics with a history. Right now I’m really into vintage feedsacks and chenille. These can be found on etsy, at flea markets, and some times even in local thrift stores if you look often. (Follow the photo’s links to the etsy sellers listing these fabrics below.)
- Handmade Pottery
I’m obsessed with handmade pottery and ceramics these days. I find there are so many different styles and tones from rustic to elegant, there’s something out there for every decor and mood that may strike me. There are many local stores where you can find handmade pottery. If you’re not sure where yours are you can check with a local artisans’ group, or a local college, or at an arts school. I’d love to give and get pottery this year, but maybe even more I’d like to learn to make pottery myself. If you know someone who’s ‘craft’ inclined and likes the idea of making beautiful and useful things, maybe a class is just the thing for them too! (The pottery shown below is made by Whisper Park Pottery and Darshan Pottery, both of whom can be found on etsy.)
- Season Tickets
When you don’t want to give someone a ‘thing’ because you’re just sick of ‘stuff’, what do you give for the holidays? An activity! Season tickets to the symphony or ballet are amazing gifts that support the arts and are memories families can cherish together. If this is out of your reach then give a single set of tickets to one performance. OR, you can give a less expensive season tickets to something like the zoo, the art museum, or the science museum. These are great regular activities for kids and families and make for special adventures with visiting friends and family too!
Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a full belly, so when in doubt, cook it out. There are always cookies, but try to think outside the cookie box. Is there a favorite dish you can make that can be frozen and heated on a busy holiday night? What about a mulled cider or homemade beer? You can also make a dish that is cozy and healthy to spread glad tidings, but not waist lines. Tonight I’m trying this Kale and White Bean Mac n Cheese. Might try this one with basil and broccoli too. Maybe some this will be what I’m giving out this holiday season…we’ll see. 🙂 (food pictured from 101 Cookbooks blog)
Hope this was a little inspiring as far as holiday shopping goes. As for me, it’s made me hungry, so I’m off to cook. Peace.