In CELEBRATE, GIFT GIVING, GIFTS, HOLIDAY SEASON

Although I don’t celebrate Christmas, I am frequently thinking about great gifts I can get for the people in my life I love.

When it comes to gift giving, I think a few important rules apply:

*Is it useful?

This seems like a totally un-fun question and not in the spirit of giving, but as someone who doesn’t like to get random things that I don’t need or won’t use, this is the first thing I consider when thinking of gift giving. I think one of the worst things we can do when we give a gift is to give something that will only take up space or won’t be enjoyed.

*Is it something the recipient would purchase for themselves?

This goes 2 ways. There are plenty of things we might get for ourselves, but just don’t for one reason or another so when someone gets it for us, the gift is well-received as well as deeply appreciated. There are also many things we want but would never actually buy for ourselves, so when someone else gives this kind of gift, it has an extra layer of sweetness.

*Will it make the recipient smile?

I’ve received a fair amount of “gag” gifts or silly gifts that have brought me a great amount of joy. Although I still tend to refer to the first question, giving a gift with the sole purpose of making someone laugh is worthwhile.

*Does it honor the recipients’ values?

I am always grateful when someone gives me something that was made sustainably, locally, ethically, or personally. I’m also touched when people give me the gift of making a donation to a group or organization I support. The thoughtfulness of gifts like this is what makes them so wonderful. Usually these gifts are ones that give back, which is extra wonderful.

Personally, some of my very favorite gifts have been holiday cards, letters of appreciation, houseplants, and homemade food.

If you need a little further inspiration, here are my top choices for gift giving, whether for the holidays or birthdays or just because:

*Give the gift of education~

Purchase a handmade scarf or bag from Bloom & Give. I adore this company. For every purchase you make, 50% is donated to education programs in India. They specifically give to programs that focus on helping girls in rural communities go to school, something that is not guaranteed in India, as well as mentoring for girls to stay in school and succeed. The founders of this company are both fathers of daughters, which inspired their mission. The Bloom & Give products are all handmade in India using artisinal techniques passed down through generations.

Naomi Gottlieb-Miller

~note: I am proud to be an ambassador for this company. I carry the “Jake” tote bag everywhere I go and wear the Paimona Mulberry scarf every day. I would support this company even if I wasn’t an ambassador for them. The quality is exceptional and the products are gorgeousAs a bonus, if you use my code “yoginaomi” at checkout, you will save $15 on your purchase!

*Give the gift of giving~

A few notable places to give that I will be supporting this year are The Lung Cancer Foundation (in honor of a student who was recently diagnosed with a very rare, incurable form of lung cancer at the age of 30), the Anita Datar Trust (a trust fund for the son of the local mom who was the only American killed in the terrorist attacks in Mali this year), Planned Parenthood (because these services should be available to anyone who needs them no matter their economic status).

There are many worthwhile organizations out there, though. These are just a few.

*Give the gift of self-care~

Sign up yourself or a mama you know for my 10-week Conscious Healthy Mamacourse. There is nothing better than learning tools to make your every day life a little sweeter and easier. You can’t pour water from an empty pitcher. Replenish yourself through simple practices that will teach you how to use your energy and time more effectively.

*Give the gift of yoga~

You might know that yoga is awesome and feel the amazing benefits of the practice, but likely there is at least one person in your life who has never been to a yoga class and even actively resists it. A beginning yoga or fundamentals series is a great place for them to test the waters and learn the basics. Usually these series are a limited time commitment as well, just 4-6 weeks at a time. My own Yoga Fundamentals series begins January 6th. As an added bonus, promise to go with them…

*Give the gift of good quality produce~

Want to do something big? Support local agriculture, economy and ecology by joining a CSA. I love Spiral Path, our CSA and will miss it through the 3 winter months. Right now, they’re offering a discount if you sign up for the next CSA season early. They’re a family owned organic farm. Their produce is stellar.

*Give the gift of love~

Bring someone homemade food. Write a heartfelt letter. Make a playlist for a wintry drive. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Have a lunch with a friend. Go on a yoga date with a yoga buddy. Share your time. Your heart. Our time here is so limited. Give the gift of good company. Share the love.

Happy gift giving and happy holidays!

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