The 2017 Conscious Gift Guide


Happy Holidays!

I find this to be both a wonderful time of year (twinkly lights, time with family and friends, general coziness, and delicious, warm food) and kind of a weird time of year (Black Friday! Shop Small Saturday! Cyber Monday! Giving Tuesday!.....and probably a number of other days I'm forgetting about). It sometimes seems to be a strange juxtaposition: the slow, cozy, inward energy of the early winter, alongside the fast-paced, consumption-focused energy of the holiday months. 

I personally love the act of intentional gift giving - selecting a gift especially for the recipient, and wrapping it up just so. 

I believe that gift giving (if we choose to participate in gift giving) is an opportunity to make conscious choices. An opportunity to support responsible, ethical companies; an opportunity to support local makers and small businesses; an opportunity to give a gift we feel proud of and can stand behind, because we know where it came from and where the profits go. 

Below I've included a round-up of some of my favorite gifts to give, and favorite companies to support this holiday season.

For Self-Development Lovers:

  • The Five Minute Journal: if you've ever been in one of my workshops or courses, you've likely heard me talk about the Five Minute Journal. Simply one of the best tools I've found to support creating/reinstating a daily habit around gratitude and morning reflection. 
  • Essentialism: I've read this book about 8 times. It's so logical, *and* can be so hard to apply in everyday life. Great for someone in your life who wants to spend more time on the things that matter most, and shed some of the things that don't. 
  • Better Than Before: one of my all-time favorite books on creating positive change through building habits. Great for someone in your life who is trying to create (or break) a habit, develop new routines, or create some sort of positive and lasting change.
  • The Big Leap: on moving through upper limits, working in your zone of genius, and redefining your relationship with time.  

For the Planning Types:

  • The Desire Map Planner: my go-to planner for the last 3 years. Gorgeous design and filled with prompts that invite a pause as part of your morning planning. 
  • Jack and Ella Paper: gorgeous, minimalistic stationary printed on recycled paper, along with weekly meal and menu planners for your friend who is organized enough to plan out her entire weekly menu (definitely not me - but I do love to give these as gifts!). Based in Madison, WI. 

For Those who Appreciate Beautiful, Handmade Design:

  • Willful Goods: the most gorgeous color dipped wooden bowls, cutting boards, and accessories.  The only problem is, these items are so gorgeous that it can be hard to want to use them for cooking! Made in Minnesota.
  • Toast Ceramics: "considerate objects to punctuate everyday life." I love the dog bowls, the tumblers, and the bowls. Made in Madison, WI. 
  • Imago Dei Pottery: Vanessa creates her works of art out of her garage here in Madison, WI. She makes the sweetest little planters, perfect when given with a succulent inside. 

For Kids:

  • MomKind: goods for moms, by moms with gorgeous, simple design that actually look good sitting on your living room floor. Based in Madison, WI. 
  • Girls with Ideas: empowered gifts for empowered young women in your life. 

For Those who Think Globally:

  • Ubuntu Trade: unique goods created by artisans and makers in Uganda and east Africa. A few of my favorite items include the jewelry, the adorable stuffed elephants and bunnies for kids, and the succulent plant holders. 
  • Preemptive Love Coalition: hand-made soaps, dolls, candles, and apparel. Or, purchase a donation-based gift such as a sheep or water. Proceeds support relief and education for refugees across Iraq, Syria, and the United States. 

For Pet Lovers:

  • Janery: fabulous pet beds and accessories. Truly the most stylish pet beds I've ever seen. Additionally, Jane, the founder/owner is absolutely delightful and believes in giving back and shopping in a conscious and ethical way. (She has a great gift guide on her blog, as well). 
  • Fetch WI: apparel and accessories for both humans and pups. Fetch is 100% volunteer-led, and focused on rehabilitation and rehoming of pups that need great homes. Based in Madison, WI. 

For Beauty Lovers:

  • 100 Percent Pure:  huge variety of products made with clean, safe, natural ingredients. They guarantee all of their products.
  • EcoLips: the original organic lip balm. Made in the midwest by a company that does all sorts of good things for people and for the planet. Based in Cedar Rapids, IA. 
  • AuraCacia Aromatherapy Shower Tablets: my friend introduced me to these as a way to have a "spa experience" at home. AuraCacia is part of a member-owned co-op, responsible to people and planet. They also support women and girls through their Positive Change Project. Based in Norway, IA. 
  • Apotheke: luxurious feeling soaps, lotions, and candles. Handmade in small batches. 

For (non-fancy) Jewelry Lovers:

  • The Shine Project: bracelets, necklaces, and other jewelry made by inner city youth. Based in Phoenix, AZ. 

For Giving Coffee Table Books with Substance:

  • Simple Matters: ideas for living simply that are presented in an approachable, lovely way. 
  • Chasing Slow: part memoir, part coffee table book, part perspectives on slow living. 
  • In the Company of Women: stories of makers, artists, and entrepreneurs, pulled together in a beautifully designed book. 

A few more ideas in last year's gift guide as well.  Any favorite companies or brands that you'd add to the list?

Happy Holidays!