(Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Solstice, New Year, or whichever holiday you choose to celebrate)
The closing of a year is a time for reflection, a time to gather with friends and family, a time to enjoy a quieter and more dormant world (especially in northern climes). For some, it’s also a time to celebrate loved ones through the act of gift exchange. If you get into the spirit of giving this year (and perhaps are a last-minute shopper), here are some unique gifts that will leave you and your givee warm and fuzzy.
- Heifer International provides people around the world the gift of self-sufficiency and independence through donation of livestock, seeds, and training. Some of my favorites are the goat (of course), the flock of chicks, and the gardener’s basket.
- Kiva gives people the opportunity to lend small amounts of seed money to help launch small business endeavors globally. When you give a Kiva gift card, the recipient can choose the project that is most meaningful to them.
- With GlobalGiving, you can donate to a wide-range of projects – from education to environment to disaster relief. They offer gift cards if you want to let the recipient choose, or you can give to a cause you know they’ll love, like helping kids in Guatemala attend high school.
Making something homemade can be easier than you think (if you think it’s not easy, that is). Whip up a batch of granola, some applesauce, or these super simple yet decadent chocolate truffles (I like to add a bit of sea salt to the cocoa, and maybe a splash of bourbon to the chocolate mix; organic and fair trade ingredients, please!).
Spoiler alert! This year, I’m making lotions, facial cleanser, body scrubs, and lavender eye pillows for friends and family. Here’s a good guide for making lotion at home. Most ingredients can be found in the grocery store.
Who doesn’t love a massage? Or perhaps you’ve got a locavore or foodie in your life who’d appreciate being part of a CSA or organic produce of the month club. Or maybe a loved one is into fitness – last year, I got my boyfriend an Intro to Boxing package. Yoga class cards also make a great gift (if you’re recipient is in NYC and they like to try new methods and studios, the NY Yoga Passbook is a good deal).
How about the gift of a healthy home? Shameless plug alert! You can get your friends or family a gift certificate for my services. Gift certificates are good towards one-on-one consultations, workshops, and make-it-yourself parties.
This is where you can get really creative. Look for opportunities in your loved one’s schedule or activities. If your friend has a dog, you could offer to walk her (or him) for a month. If someone you know is too busy to cook for themselves, maybe you could offer to make them dinner once a week. Offer friends with children the gift of a night out by babysitting. Maybe you’ve got a yard or rooftop and can offer a friend without one a place to garden. There are so many possibilities here.
However you decide to celebrate the year’s end, may it be happy and healthy!