I love getting to put this post together for you (almost) every year. As you know, I rarely share or promote companies and since I am not much of a shopper, it's rare that I discover amazing stuff before anyone else. That being said, perhaps I do have a few special trinkets up my sleeve that you may not be familiar with or have no idea they are as awesome as they are.
When I shop for myself or for presents, I always want to feel great about my purchases. I love supporting local or small businesses (I am an Etsy junkie!), I love companies with ethical give-back programs and if there's a crystal on it, I will love it.
Of course, I am also a huge advocate for skipping the gift altogether and giving other things. These things might include:
- Prepare a beautiful meal to share with the special people in your life.
- Create something with your own unique talent - maybe a poem, a song, a love letter, some natural beauty care products, a painting, or a self-choreographed dance.
- Give an activity you can do together - a trip to a museum or gallery, a dance class, a dinner at a restaurant you've been wanting to try, a couples massage, a holiday!
- Give something they need but would never buy themselves: a high speed blender, a 10-class yoga pass, a day at the spa, a day home alone to do absolutely nothing.
And of course, given that we live in a very abundant culture there are gifts that serve a greater purpose and can honour the ones you love by helping those that have less:
- Adopt a family and provide gifts for a family in need in your local community.
- Create a lending team with Kiva and give in honour of your family. (Or you can join my team!)
- Give the priceless gift of clean water to a village through Charity : Water
- Help educate children in far off lands with Pencils of Promise.
All of these organizations are set up to allow you to give as a gift in honour of someone you love.
Of course, sometimes, we just want to give a gift. We want to give something to the people we love, including ourselves. There is a joy to giving and it's good for our health too.
Here is my 2015 list of presents that I would love for you to buy me, buy yourself or share with those you love!
You really can't go wrong with Rocking Vibe. Choose the stone that you are drawn to, or that you think can offer what those you love need and go forth. I received one as a gift back in August and I am kind of obsessed. The only problem I have is that when I wear it, I can't stop staring at it. These gorgeous pieces are designed and made here in Ontario and are truly magical pieces.
As I knew I would be travelling a lot this season, and as I only ever travel with carry on baggage, essential oils are the perfect way to make that doable and still look and feel super fresh. For my fall tour I picked up a 4-Perfume Pack from Living Libations and it is the best thing ever. I now keep it in my purse and carry it with me. This is a sweet way to get to try out a few different scents and as natural oils don't have the toxic pervasiveness of chemical-based perfumes, and because the natural aromas work in harmony, you could even wear one scent during the day and switch it for the evening fun times. This company is based in Haliburton, Ontario and carefully source the purest oils from around the globe.
Getting into the right pooping position is important! I know this is likely the weirdest gift on this list but seriously, it is truly the gift that keeps on giving. We have had one in our home for a few years and it is a game changer. Their pooping unicorn youtube video is the best thing on the internet and once you start with a Squatty Potty, you will seriously never be able to go back. We must all start pooping the way nature intended and pulling the knees up to support the colon is the way to go. Why go for a frivolous gift when you can give something that is most likely missing from your loved ones' lives. It is something that will be used every day, hopefully two or three times a day, and you can be sure that they will think of you every time they slide this out and poop. And how awesome - they even offer a gift bag to do the wrapping for you!
This one has come up on my lists in the past, but I can't tell you often enough how fantastic this is. This is what we get for most of our friends when they have babies and Josh and I have been doing this for most of the fall with our hectic schedules. I know best what's available here in Toronto and I have been loving Roots of Health. Josh and I went to nutrition school with Kerri Cooper, the woman behind our amazing weekday meals. She works with mainly local/organic suppliers and everything we've ordered has been outstanding and when we work late, it really allows us time to hang out with each other, eat a great meal and not have to worry about prep and clean-up.
Prices will vary between companies and most will offer a gift voucher option so you can buy a specific denomination or a specific package. All I know is no one has ever said no to home cooked meals delivered to their door!
Can our jewelry be our medicine? When they are handmade with love, taking into account the energy of nature's stones and the sequencing of the beads, than this just might be possible. These beautiful pieces (bracelets and necklaces for both men and woman) are hand-made here in Toronto by Veronica Ciandre. At one time, Veronica was suffering terribly from environmental illness from radiation exposure. She allowed her sickness and healing journey to be a gift and this line of jewelry is how she now shares this gift with others. You can read her story here. She uses carefully selected materials in specific sequences to heighten the healing properties of her pieces. My mom bought me one recently and it hasn't left my wrist since!
I love a lot about these and this company. Andrea and I went to fashion school together many moons ago. She stuck with it and here I am. Her new collection of bags is absolutely beautifully. I love that they are made here in Canada, out in BC where Andrea lives. I also love that she is mindful of where she sources her materials, ensuring sustainability and amazing quality. These are the kind of bags you get and then use forever and ever. The only reason I don't have mine yet is because I haven't been able to decide which one I love the most.
Yes! Those are my eyes peering out from the back of this gift basket. Julie Tadeson is one of the graduates from my Culinary Nutrition Expert Program, which was the starting point for her ridiculously fantastic business, Jule's Baskets. Julie curates the most incredible collection of organic/sustainable goodies for every occasion - holiday, baby, new mom, spa, or just good old fashioned awesome living. Forget those cheesey baskets with crappy chocolate, random wafer cookies and liqueurs that no one drinks. There is a basket from Julie that will make your loved ones' hearts sing. And of course, I am totally recommending you get the one that is actually labelled "Ridiculously Awesome Gift Basket" because it has my cookbook in it.
I have written about Me To We Style before. I love them for many reasons, including the fact that they make our world famous Today Is The Day T-Shirts that we now give to all Academy of Culinary Nutrition students. A portion of every purchase over at Me To We goes to support initiatives with Free The Children. For example, the purchase of these mittens pictured here help provide a critical medicine procedure to someone in need. Gifts range in price dramatically. Most products are made using organic materials or have been made by artisans in far off lands. Also cool is that when you show them a special code, you can track your impact and see the difference your purchase has made.
The UnDiet Life!
But of course I am going to blatantly plug my own books as a most awesome gift. These books go great together as a set: my first book, UnDiet: Eat Your Way To Vibrant Health, acts as the lifestyle guide, helping readers in their transition to a more optimal and healthy total lifestyle. The UnDiet Cookbook is where playtime comes in with 130 beautiful gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, gorgeous photos, entertaining and travel tips, a whole chapter of beauty care recipes and of course practices to help you live a healthy and awesome life. Both are available online from all major book sellers and in most major book stores.
I have one more thing to recommend. For those of you who have a season of celebration ahead that may include loads of soirees, catching up with friends, flights to catch or other travel adventures, you're going to want to be stocked up on my favourite bee medicine - Propolis Throat Spray from Beekeeper Naturals. I have written about the magic of this product before, but it bears repeating. I have been taking this everywhere with me over the last two months when it feels like I haven't stopped talking. I love this product and I love the people who make it and it is absolutely a holiday essential.