What a Nice “Gift-Together”

Somehow Thanksgiving is right around the corner leaving me confused as to how we got here already. The pandemic era definitely makes for a weird time warp doesn’t it? The thing that got me to look up from the fray for half a minute and figure out what month it was had to do with Christmas decorations. 

I’ve noticed that people in my neighborhood have been hanging up their holiday lights at a record setting pace this year. One neighbor got started the day after Halloween! I would normally find that to be relatively insane, but obviously this year is different and I get it. We have all been trapped in a pretty unappealing Groundhog’s Day type of existence for too long and prepping for the holidays gives us an opportunity to shift our focus. There’s actually something to look forward to even if we still can’t be together and the pandemic continues to rage on all around us. At least we can have Eggnog in one hand and a candy cane in the other as the world slowly deconstructs. 

With all the holiday excitement that’s going on I imagine some of that excitement will manifest into an All-American gift buying bonanza which got me thinking…

We are living in strange times, no question. There are millions of people out of work and millions more who are struggling to make ends meet as the pandemic continues to run its course. Holidays mean something different to everyone but a huge component usually has to do with togetherness. This year is particularly difficult because we can’t be “together” but that doesn’t eliminate our ability to exhibit togetherness through our actions. 

Food banks are in greater need than ever with so many people relying on them to feed their families so if you’ve got the means, please seek out your local food bank and donate to the cause. The same goes for donating Christmas gifts to local charities and foster care organizations.

When it comes to gift buying, consider supporting small businesses. Due to this pandemic, small businesses have been shutting down all over the country, wiping out Mom-and-Pop establishments and gutting Main Street America. When things finally get back under control we are going to want to have our local coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants, music venues, and boutique shops to be there but they need our help to make it that long. Big box stores will weather this storm just fine, but what about your neighbor’s business? 

So why not seek out gifts from someone who would truly appreciate your business? It’s essentially buying a gift and giving one at the same time! I’ve got friends who own or work for small businesses along with local places that I like to frequent so I’m keeping them in mind for most of my holiday shopping, leaving big box corporate stores as a last resort. Even if a place isn’t currently open, more than likely there is a way to support them through gift card purchases.

In the interest of making the small business shopping experience a bit easier for you, allow me to offer up a few ideas…

Yeti Chocolates-

Wenatchee Washington

www.yetichocolates.com

Buy Locally or Online

Listen people. I don’t even like chocolates. Well, I didn’t until I tried Yeti Chocolates. I always found chocolate to be way too sweet, and boxes of chocolates? What a junk show! I felt like it was a less fun version of choosing something from a grab bag. You bite into some mystery chocolate and quickly realize that you have no idea what that flavor is supposed to be but you really don’t like it. Lame.

First of all, Yeti Chocolates look like little works of art and once you taste them there’s just no going back. Everything is made from scratch. And I mean s-c-r-a-t-c-h. If there is lime flavor in the chocolate then limes were actually squeezed to extract the flavor, huckleberry jam? Yep, made from scratch. Almond butter? That too. You’re never left guessing what a flavor is supposed to be because it’s bold and clearly identifiable; what a concept! Plus, when you order a box of chocolates there is an option to pick and choose which flavors you want in your box! If you want 8 lime and 4 chocolate espresso ones you can make it happen. On top of that, there is even a chocolate of the month club that you could sign-up for or gift to another (and you best believe I am a happy member) and anything you order can be shipped throughout the United States. 

Yeti chocolate bars enhance friendships and go well with hiking!

I have gifted these chocolates to countless people (there is actually a Pay it Forward program on the website for just such an occasion) with total confidence that the person I’m gifting them to will not be disappointed. 

More Businesses to Love:

Food

The Lucky Accomplice- Restaurant-

St.Louis, MO

Serving pure awesomeness in the form of food.

https://www.theluckyaccomplice.com

Roundabout Brewery-

Pittsburgh, PA

Pick-up some of the best beer in America!

https://roundaboutbeer.com

Tumerico- Restaurant-

Tucson, AZ

If you’re within a two-hour drive of this place, it’s worth the stop.

https://www.tumerico.com

Tumerico Restaurant (Photo Credit: Tumerico)

Mind and Body

Sarah Trudeau-

In person and/or Virtual Yoga-

Seattle, WA

https://www.sarahtrudeau.com

Kathryn June Carl- Artist

Look for more of her work on instagram

@kathrynjune_

https://www.redbubble.com/i/art-print/Romancing-The-Stone-by-Katrinajunepear/34975581.1G4ZT

Artwork by Kathrynjune_

The Moonlit Wild- Band

Mellow vibes enjoyed by all.

https://www.themoonlitwild.com

Michael Roberson-

Children’s Book Author and Awesome Human

Incredible teacher, coach, author, and so much more.

www.simplemike.site

Beyoutiful Hot Yoga

Washington

In person and/or virtual

www.beautifulhotyoga.com

Beyoutiful Hot Yoga

Living Nourish- Body Work

Leavenworth, WA

Craniosacral Therapy, Massage Therapy and more.

https://www.livingnourish.com

Kendall Heaton-

Wellness Coaching/Mindful Parenting Support

https://www.kendallheaton.com

Gift Shopping

Hannah Wingate Designs-

Handmade Bags- Shop Online

https://www.hannahwingate.com

Ammonite Swirls Jewelry

Find it on Etsy, Instagram, and Facebook

https://www.etsy.com/shop/AmmoniteSwirls

Why I Love Where I Live-

Tucson, AZ

Boutique Gifts- In person/Online

https://www.whyilovewhereilive.com/collections

Why I Love Where I Live- Boutique Shop

Paper Doll Boutique- Clothing-

Rockford, MI

In person/Online

https://paperdollboutique.com

Another way to use the “easy button” for small business shopping is to check out Etsy. You can find just about anything there and you can even narrow your search if you want to support certain types of shop owners such as: Women Owned Businesses, Black Owned Businesses, etc.

And if you happen to be looking for a good option to make a donation on Giving Tuesday follow this link to read Bruce and Kathleen’s story because buying one another gifts is nice and all, but the greatest gifts can’t be bought; number one on that list?

Simply being alive.

That is something that none of us should be taking for granted this year and I know that many of us will be experiencing our first holiday season without someone (or several people) that we love and have lost due to COVID-19. A loss from COVID-19 leaves a deep wound that doesn’t seem to have any sort of remedy to lessen the pain from it. So, love the ones you can while you can. Don’t hold back from letting people know that you care about them, admire them, are rooting for them, and feel privileged to know them because life is fleeting. Gifting someone your feelings doesn’t cost a thing, it is the most meaningful gift you can give, and it lasts a lifetime and beyond.

This is how we “gift-together” y’all.