I love giving gifts. But I also like to find the right gift for each person I shop for. As I look toward the Christmas season, I see that the people in my life don’t really need anything. This does not mean I do not search for a gift. A well-chosen gift is more about showing my people that I see them, I know them, I love them. I search for the practical, the meaningful, the beautiful & the unique in my shopping. And as life is busy, I mostly stop online. Amazon yes, but also independent Etsy shops and non-profit humanitarian organizations. These are my choices and favorites. Every item on the list, I have received, bought or will be buying for myself or friends and family this Christmas season. With every shop, I have purchased from or I know the owner personally.
GIFTS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Preemptive Love is an organization with “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Syria ~ Their gift catalog offers handmade soap, candles, dish towels and wash cloths made by Syrian and Iraqi refugee families. My order arrived (and every product is lovely!) and although I am not able to minister to these families, my dollars support their livelihood as they rebuild their lives. Follow on Instagram @preemptivelove.
Our family also likes Samaritan’s Purse & Compassion International’s gift catalogs. We let each of our kids choose items (chicks, milk for babies, Bibles, soccer balls etc.) that will support and love on families and communities around the world. You can also designate a gift to honor a family member, giving a gift in their name.
FAVORITE INDEPENDENT SHOPS
Cobblestone Road Hand Lettering ~ Jenn creates beautiful word art and on her site you’ll find journals, mugs and beautiful artwork for your home (to name a few). She shares truth and encouragement with the beauty she creates. Follow on Instagram @cobblestoneroadlettering
SpoolGoods ~ admittedly I’m biased because I adore my friend, Morgan, but she also is very talented and creates one-of-a-kind purses and clutches and bags.
NovelAdornment ~I bought literary ornaments for every member of our mother-daughter book club plus many other from this shop ~ they upcycle old and beloved classics to create their Christmas ball ornaments and they have many books to choose from.
A FEW FAVORITE BOOKS TO CONSIDER AS GIFTS THIS CHRISTMAS:
- The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate ~ This is my most gifted book. It is an cross-generational read, mixing historical and contemporary fiction with powerful messages about second chances and the power of finding community. I’ve given it to my mom, several aunts and many friends of all ages. This book can be read independently, but is part of a series. I’ve read them all, I own them all, I’ve gifted them all.
- A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles ~ Admittedly, my husband’s reading tasts are slightly different than my own. This is my best book pick for the men in your life. My step-dad read it and has it on his all-time favorites list. My brother has also put it in the mix on top of his all time list. I pitched it to my neighbor who reads over one book per week and he says it may be his favorite book ever. I got it for my husband and he LOVED it. I have not finished it yet, but I’ll just say how beautifully written and absolutely wonderful this book it. Great for everyone, but especially if you are looking for a book for men in your family.
- The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall ~ A sweet series to gift tween to teen girls in your life (And quite honestly, I read them on my own because they are such great books).
- My son (age 15) recommends C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy for teens and up:
- And for tween to teens (boys or girls!) Andrew Peterson’s The Wingfeather Saga:
“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!” ~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
FAVORITE BOOKISH BUYS
My girls and I have enjoyed the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook. Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist is a favorite cookbook/vignette memoir that encourages gathering around the table with good food. I also rely heavily on The Barefoot Contessa Cook Book by Ina Garten as well as Brown Eggs & Jam Jars by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque. These are beautiful cookbooks, with unique and delectable recipes and I’m cooking my way through each of these. Community matters, gathering together is life-giving and soul-satisfying.
My favorite tea accessory! Absolutely the BEST for loose leaf teas: Adagio’s ingenuiTEA bottom-dispensing teapot. My brother gave me this years ago. When it broke (after several years due to a beloved child), I ordered another one within the hour. I’ve also given this as a gift many many times.
Teas I always have in stock: Stash’s Christmas in Paris herbal tea, Republic of Tea’s Decaf Ginger Peach black tea, Twinings Earl Grey with Lavender black tea and Celestial Seasonings‘ Almond Sunset & Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride herbal teas (for Celestial Seasonings, unless you want bulk tea, I would recommend ordering on their site versus Amazon. You will be able to buy a larger variety instead of just one type in bulk. Lucky for me, I live only about an hour away, so I can take a day trip to stock up on all my favorites!)
The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild’s Coffee Mugs: I own Jane Austen, of course. Also offered: Sherlock Holmes, The Bronte Sisters, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Famous Last Lines of Literary Works, & Famous First Lines of Literary Works.
“Look how a single candle can both defy and define darkness.” ~ Anne Frank
Paddywax Candles Library Collection: Literary candles that “smell” like the author. Choose from Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, John Steinbeck, Edgar Allen Poe, or Oscar Wilde to name a few. From this list, I like Jane Austen the best, but I’m choosing between Edgar Allen Poe and Leo Tolstoy, and hoping the scent doesn’t add a depressing or Gothic ambience. And as it’s Christmas, I think I’ll throw Charles Dickens in the cart too.
Not so literary related, but still lovely, HOMESICK CANDLES. Perfect for family members who are living away from home or who miss a place they once lived. Choose from: Minnesota, New York City, Chicago, Texas, Southern California, North Carolina and Colorado (+many more). They also have an international line including Australia, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, India, France, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico and USA. I am not from the United Kingdom, but I love Britain, so that one is on my wish list (which means it will make its way into my cart shortly ;-))