To Give and To Receive

 Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I am sure you have already been inundated with gift giving ideas. If not, you have been asking your loved one's what is on their wishlist, or they have been asking you. 

I created a list last year  that focused on gifts that weren't physical things.  There is so much goodness in that post, and still totally applicable today. This year I have decided to share a few more ideas, for those that like to have something to wrap, and for those that enjoy a little tangible goodness in their lives.

Remember, that gifts are a symbol of our love, affection, admiration, and our connection to community (something bigger than ourselves).   Most of the times it isn't even the gift that matters, it is the gesture in itself that holds the most value.

Yet, sometimes a gift can be more. It can be a doorway to new experiences and new learnings. Other times it's receiving something that one may not have ever given themselves.

To be honest, this post was inspired by a book. One book. Second truth, I haven't even read the book! Yet, it is on my list of things to buy pretty much every man in my life.  Third truth. This book inspired me to get an Amazon affiliate account. (Meaning, if you are interested in some of items I list below and buy it using the link in this post I get a little tiny sliver of a profit. Another way to say this is, if you want to help me (like... 0.05% of one book for one of my brothers) your purchase benefits everyone involved!  (I wanted to be 100% transparent about this.) Okay, moving on.

 Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


Okay, I know, I just did a lot of hype for one book, huh? And the book is...

The Masks of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships and Live Their Fullest Lives by Lewis Howes. This book is not written for just men, but women as well. The author shares a different perspective on what it means to be masculine and how we, as a society, can help shape and support a more peaceful, kinder world. If you are looking for a little more of this goodness,  and you have a brother, father, son, partner or friend that identifies with the masculine in your life than give  powerful read. 

Potential similar in it's intention to create a world with greater understanding,  acceptance  and kindness, this time from the powerful lens of Brené Brown. (Swoon, I adore this woman).  Her newest book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone is another epic addition to her already amazing list research driven, yet totally relatable literature. If you are not familiar with this magnificent and insightful woman, please stop reading this and watch her Ted Talk now! If you do know her, then you most likely don't need any further persuading, you know she's nothing but goodness (You know, the witty, swearing,  Texas kind). 

If you know a woman (perhaps even yourself) that could use some good hard science, or a gentle reminder of what it means to be healthy, despite what society seems to tell us, then Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon is a solid win.  This book takes tried and true research to help the reader understand that there is SO much more to being healthy than what the scale tells us. I love this book, and its message so much that I am contemplating starting a book club based on it!

Now, for the admirer of poetry, here are two of my favorite books. The Rumi Daybook translated by Kabir and Camille Helminski and the incredibly classic The Gift by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Both Hafiz and Rumi are Sufi Masters, so their poetry runs deep in spirituality, personal reflection, and captivating story telling. 

If you have little one's on your list, then here are a few of my all time favorites. I think some of my friends have received multiple copies over the years, because I am such a sucker for children's books.

An Awesome Book of Thanks! by Dallas Clayton. This title pretty much says it all. Beautiful illustrations, and a heart expanding story that EVERYONE can enjoy. 

The Big Book of Hugs: A Barkley The Bear Story by Nick Ortner. This book is like a big bear hug including all kinds of woodland creatures. Who doesn't love hugs!

If you are looking for some books with brilliant artistry and a big message, look no further than Kobi Yamata's creations. What To Do With An Idea or What To Do With A Problem.

 Photo by  Brooke Lark  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

For The Cook: (or want to be cook)

Every cook has a few of their go to items. I know I have a few that pretty much live on my counter or drying rack because I use them almost daily.  

My number one favorite item, a citrus squeezer. I know, it sounds far from exciting, but some times practical is what we need, and perhaps even want.  I received  mine as a gift from my brother's ex-girlfriend probably 8 years ago now. (I confess, at the time I thought it was a strange gift). Now, however, I use it most days of the week, and it doesn't show any signs of giving up soon. Why do I use it daily? Lemon juice squeezed in water first thing in the morning is a powerful way to wake up your digestive system and helps your body keep your detoxification systems running smoothly.

Another kitchen gadget I love, that doesn't take up a lot of space, and encourages more vegetable consumption is a Spiralizer. There are multiple different styles, but this one is compact and does the job. If you want to add a cookbook for inspiration there is Inspiralize Everything

I had original suggested gifting a Sodastream (because I hate tossing unnecessary packaging), but something important was brought to my attention, so I thought this was a great place to share. JVP, a Jewish organization advocating for Middle East peace and protecting the rights of Palestinians, advocate for boycotting Sodastream because they have located their factory in an illegal West Bank settlement, displacing Palestinians, and also for targeting worker rights at the factory.  You can read a bit more about it here: KitchenAid is currently make a sparkling water maker, but as far as I can tell they work in conjuction with Sodastream. Go figure. However, I did find the brand Aarke that doesn't show any connection, and it is a beautiful product. 

Who doesn't love an inspiring and meditative cookbook!  Eating with Intension is a powerfully composed book for those that are interested in cooking vegan and eating, well, with intension. 

My husband brought the Misto into our house, and I've become a fan. Two reasons. One, I'm not tossing a can away (because I can by oil in bulk at PCC) . Two, because I can use a pure, good quality oil (read non-Canola, non-vegetable oil). 

For The Foodie:

Okay, I am going to give my father credit for this one. His request for Christmas? Fresh oysters. He lives in Arizona and loves the slimy PNW creatures, so his request is fully embraced. Hama Hama Oyster Co is located in Lilliwaup, WA and has an online store where you can order directly. 

If it's a land based meat that is more appealing, then grass fed and grass finished beef or organic free range chicken might be a better option. It's probably not a surprise that the healthier the animal the healthier it is for us humans, as well as the environment. Butcher Box is an online store providing fabulous quality meat, meal planning assistance, and all delivered directly to the lucky receiver. 

A yearly trip for our house hold is Pike Street Market. Specifically for tea and spices. Market Spice has their incredible Market Spice tea (both rooibos and black). Its the perfect post meal teal because it has a natural sweetness to it. Then there is World Spice Merchants. They have this alder smoked salt that can be an addition to SO many things! (Think of it like ketchup, or bacon).  Oh, and our newest favorite, Za-atar. 

Who doesn't love a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant?! Or, that new restaurant that they've been meaning to check out?

Some of my favorites are Terra Plata ( Their brussel sprouts will blow your mind)... actually, I think I have this place on my list from last year! Both Eve in Fremont, and the Butcher and the Baker have epic weekend brunches. For some fancified southern food, June Baby it is. If you want to give a true eating experience to someone that doesn't eat meat (or even if they do) Harvest Beet will not disappoint!

 Photo by  Will Cornfield  on  Unsplash

For Your Favorite Tree Hugger: 

Here is a personal disclosure, I am a hippie at heart. A modern day hippie I suppose. I mean, I don't have dreadlocks, nor do I smell like patchouli... but I rarely wear deodorant and I am crazy, madly, deeply in love with our Mother Earth.  Said another way, I try to ask myself "how does this choice affect the environment?" The interesting thing is, usually if it's healthy for nature is healthy for people as well. So, it's a win for everyone! These are some suggestions for those you love as much (maybe more :-) than our Mother.

To-Go ware is the perfect companion for anyone's purse or computer bag. Add in a cloth napkin and maybe a few reusable "zip"locks."

For those that are beer, cider, or water connoisseurs Miir makes some pretty amazing vacuum sealed thermoses (and mugs). I am a big fan of the Howler (Half Growler). Perfect for two beers without the cans or bottles, or a big hot cocoa after a day of skiing...or ice water after a day of hiking. Oh, and if you buy this in store, they come with a free fill of local brew (and they serve some of the best organic espresso in the city...incase you were wondering). Why Miir instead of some of the other brands out there? They are a Seattle based company, they are part of the 1% for the Planet movement, a B Corp member AND their mission is to always be giving back. Whether it be water projects or bikes, this company turns the dollars spent on their products into prosperity to those in need.  

Okay, so this one may seem strange...but you may be surprised. Buy something used. Head on over to your local Goodwill, Value-Village or other thrift or consignment shop. Buying second hand is ALWAYS better than buying new. It keeps things out of the landfill, preserves resources and its hip, right? Oh, and my latest discovery is Poshmark. It is kind of like Ebay, but mostly for clothing. It's a great way to find past season's fashion for a good price (sold by people from their closet).  You know, their favorite jeans that they can't find anymore (for example). If you've never used this before, use the code NWGODDESS to get $5 off your first order. 

Okay, so maybe these suggestions are for those that care about transparency, fair wages, good working environments and quality products (but prefer something new). Everlane has classic clothing and accessory items for men and women alike. ABLE has beautiful items for women, while Nisolo has stunning and timeless leather shoes and accessories for men and women. Oh, and if you know someone looking for a pair of sneakers made responsibly then check out Veja (a French based company).

 Photo by  Simon Maage  on  Unsplash

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

For Those Not Wanting a Gift:

This is the ultimate opportunity to invite the creative juices to flow. Incase you need some ideas, let me plant a few seeds.

Write them a Thank You, I Love You note. Let them know the ways that they have influenced you, inspired you, supported you and even challenged you. This is something that we tend to wait until someone moves away (guilty) or there is illness. Don’t wait! Let those that matter to you know it, and know why.

Learn to play their favorite song and perform it for them. 

Write them a poem and print it on good quality paper.

Give them a massage. Hand, foot, back, head. Easy peasy and we all love being pampered.

Chances are you know what they like, so cook them their favorite meal.

QT. Good ol’ Quality Time. Make a date to spend quality time with them. Perhaps it’s a hike in the woods, or an hour at your favorite coffee shop. The only thing you need is an open heart, curiosity and the willingness to spend the time with someone you love. Besides, this is a gift for both of you.


So, how are you showing those in your life must how much they matter to you? I would love to hear your unique way of expressing your love and gratitude. 

 Photo by  Dakota Corbin  on  Unsplash

Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash