These are a few of my favorite things:
Our strongest votes are cast with our dollars, so consider buying from small, independent businesses rather than dumping your hard earned cash into massive corporate pockets this holiday season. Keeping our money within our communities, and helping small businesses thrive is now more important than ever.
I have compiled a list of some of my favorite gift-worthy items, from folks I know and trust, for your shopping pleasure. These are hidden gems which cannot be found in any store, but only in specific online boutiques and shops. I hope these ideas help make your holiday gift giving experience more pleasurable and fun, and that you enjoy browsing through this goldmine of goodies.
1 Massage, bodywork, and acupuncture: Most of us don’t think to spend our money on much needed pleasures such as these, but we all need it (especially now). Even as a former massage therapist, I rarely give myself the gift of relaxation and wellness, even though I know it is an important contributor to my physical well being and happiness. It’s probably easy to find a therapist, or many, in your community. While you can find them online, I find it’s best to ask around and seek out someone whom your friends know and trust. A gift certificate from a local spa is also a good way to go if you don’t know of any trusted healers. Most massages range from $60 – $180, for an hour or an hour and a half long sessions. Your loved one will be more grateful than they may even know, until they are relaxed, renewed, and blissed out after receiving your thoughtful and loving gift. (PS, Don’t forget the tip.)
2 Oils and perfumes: Andrea Shanti of Holistic Body Therapy is one of the most skilled, when it comes to olfactory alchemy. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting her apothecary, and was blown away by her ability to combine fragrant oils to perfection. As one with a highly sensitive sense of smell, I was impressed how each blend was benevolent to my nose. She knows her stuff, and her hand crafted potions are divine. My absolute favorite is her “Lushess” blend, of cocao, blood orange, nutmeg and rose oils. It is so delicious, you will want to devour whomever is wearing it. She makes it available in a spritzer, massage oil (highly recommended), or as a pure, concentrated blend. She has a wide variety of other goodies on her site, which also include body products, beauty products, and those specially formulated for mama’s and mothers to be. Some of my other faves include the Celebration, Joi de Vie, and Amma spritzers, and a her trio of men’s colognes, Magic, Mastery, and Manifest. Stock up at: http://www.holisticbodytherapy.net/
3 Earthsong Pomegranate Breast massage oil: This stuff is amazing. It’s a lovely blend of oils with a warming fragrance that is both subtle and heavenly. Sunny, the mother of my dearest friend, crafts her oil by hand, from an Ayurvedic recipe she concocted, using all organic ingredients. Did you know that breast massage is crucial for unblocking lymphatic congestion, can make breasts perkier and happier, and even prevent cancer? Sunny has even made a breast massage tutorial you can watch online. Give the gift of self love. I’ve enjoyed adding this small ritual into my daily routine, and in doing so, it helps to relax my being, and open my heart. One bottle goes a long way, as long as you don’t slather it all over your entire body every day… and it’s tempting. Get it here : http://www.pomegranatebreastoil.com/
4 Hand made mystical jewelry: One of my favorite new discoveries in Appalachia, is Black Black Moon. I found her at a festival last year, and I purchased a necklace from her that constantly draws complements. Her style is unique and versatile. I would describe her work as chic, opulent and magical. Using crystals, unusual beads, findings, and chains, Hanna crafts an array of well made and beautiful adornments that are also affordable. Shop online at: http://www.blackblackmoon.com/
5 Art: Deck the walls with some visions that will inspire your loved one every single day. Even if you don’t have the dough to buy an original work, most artists offer prints of various sizes and prices, ranging from $15 to the hundreds. Supporting artists is one way to ensure the continual creation of beauty in our world, and helps today’s visionaries bring forth the much needed wisdom, hope, and vision for a healthy planet, and a loving, peaceful future. I have a nice list of some of my favorite visionary artists, linked to their individual websites here: https://www.serpentfeathers.com/inspiration/
6 Flow Toys: Do you have a dancer, fire spinner or a juggler in your life? Light them up with a new blinking toy this year. Spinning poi or staff is a great body / mind meditation, and personally I found that it drastically improved my dance skills and coordination. And, most importantly, it’s fun! Sean and Prisna make the best on the market, and they are incredibly lovely people. Get your flow on at: https://www.flowtoys.com/
7 Quality time, or IOU’s: One of the best ways to show your love, is with the gift of your time and presence. It’s a win/win. You can write a coupon, offering brunch, a home cooked dinner, a retreat into nature or a walk together, a catch-up chill session with a bottle of wine, or a movie… This list is infinite. Giving someone an IOU of your time, gives them something to look forward to, and let’s them know you love them so much, you want more of them in your life. Just make sure you honor it when they are redeem your gift.
8 Classes and workshops: Has your loved one mentioned wanting to try on a new skill, or expressed interest in learning a new art form? Many classes and workshops are available, and they can be a wonderful way to give a fresh breath of inspiration to someone, or help them take their skill set up a notch or two. Check around your area for teachers offering courses, or you can also find classes online, if in-person classes are not available in your area. If your loved one is a dancer, buying them a class card at the studio they attend will most likely a much appreciated, winning move.
9 Etsy gift cards: If you just cannot figure out what he or she would really want, and you’re tired of fretting about it, get them an Etsy gift card. It’s like a normal gift card at any store, except your money will eventually go to small business and artisans rather than a corporate CEO. Etsy is full of all kinds of wonderful things, made by awesome people, brave enough to face the goliath of business on their own. You can get one here: https://www.etsy.com/giftcards
10 My digs: I wouldn’t make it if I didn’t love it, so on my list of favorite things, I am including my own creations. As far as gifts go, my top hits are my heirloom woven cotton blankets featuring my art, a wide selection of art prints, and headdresses. I also do custom work for people, so if you would like to treat your dearest to something specially made, just for them, send me a message through the contact link on my site. My print shop is here: https://www.serpentfeathers.com/shop/ And my headdresses are in my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Serpentfeathers
I hope these recommendations help ease your holiday shopping spree. Let’s keep our money flowing through our communities so that our hard earned dollars don’t end up sitting in some billionaire’s off shore bank account. Supporting small businesses spreads the love further, and ensures other families can make their bills and continue to create unique and beautiful things, and give gifts to their loved ones as well. May your heart and mind be blessed with peace and love this holiday season, and may we all give one another some joy and kindness.