The holiday season has never been a frenzy of consumerism for me or my family. Sometimes we get each other gifts, sometimes we don’t. It’s not really a big deal. Because I was so out of the loop in this arena for my entire life, I remember thinking to myself the first year I was selling cutting boards, ‘Nobody REALLY shops on Black Friday, right?’ Boy, was I ever surprised and wrong about that.
While I am still a little confused about the massive amounts of money spent in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am aware of how important that time is for many big and small businesses. Even though I occasionally rail against people filling their lives with tons of disposable crap, I do think there is a place for meaningful gifts (including self indulgences) at all times of year, December in particular.
Below are a few pretty random gift suggestions that I would like to think have fairly wide appeal. I was too lazy to Photoshop them together into a nice collage, but you really should click through the links. I’m happy to disclose that some of these items are made by my friends. That means they’re extra cool.
I have a thrifted food mill that I use all the time for canning activities. You can get one from Lehman’s here. Lehman’s also sells this fantastic (electric) food dehydrator along with tons of other useful and/or novel home goods.
a nice little knife from Opinel
I’ve been intrigued by the idea of making homemade tofu for a while, but after seeing this gorgeous how-to post on Hungry Ghost, I’m obsessed! I just ordered some nigari coagulant from Cultures for Health (that has a bunch of other weird/interesting stuff for sale) to try my hand at tofu.
My sister in law bought one of these enamel wild-mushroom-print mugs, and I think it’s the cutest thing ever.
Garden seeds! I recommended a few sources here.
I know that there are a million kinds of kinds of nice soap out there, but Roots Soap Co. and Prunella Soap both have really luxurious options (currently on sale), and the businesses are run by two really wonderful women.
a subscription to The New Yorker
Mae Chevrette has everything in her art shop on sale until December 3. Her work is always an inspiration for me.
How about a comprehensive beginner book about beekeeping? Henry recommends Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping by Dewey Caron.
Everything in the What, No Mints? shop is nerdy and adorable.
I’m a big fan of food gifts, homemade, homegrown, or otherwise. Food gifts are great because a) They taste good. b) They get used up and don’t persist in taking up space in your home. c) Purchasing food gifts supports food producers.
Jams, jellies, dried fruits, nuts, wine, beer, bread, chocolate, cheese, etc. If you want to be really generous, you could buy a CSA subscription at a local farm for an especially loved one.
And real quick here at the end, I have to mention that Red Onion Woodworks cutting and serving boards make great gifts, too. Use the coupon code “WAYWARD15″ for 15% off through the end of the year. Also, I will hopefully be making an announcement next week about where you can buy Henry’s Old Blue Raw Honey, another gift option with nearly universal appeal.
top photo from our trip to Crescent City, CA and the redwoods of Jedediah Smith State Park last December