Usually this time of year, I have all my packages shipped, Christmas cards sent and shopping mostly done. However, this holiday season, I’m not ready and that’s okay. The universe decided it was a great time of year to change my Christmas perspective; to focus on giving holiday gifts that warm the heart.
On the evening of December 4th, the Thomas Fire rapidly ripped through our quaint beachside town. Homes burned, friends evacuated, water had to be boiled for drinking and eating, smoke filled our skies, and the entire town shut down. It felt like we were in an apocalypse.
Amidst all the destruction, people stayed strong and were resilient; helping one another, bringing food for the firefighters who were away from families giving their all. Seeing our community come together in the greatest time of need made me love my town even more. We are Ventura Strong!
This fire also changed my perspective on gift giving and what matters most. It’s not the oodles of gifts that get used a few times, then put away on the shelf, left to collect dust. What matters most are gifts that warm the heart and bring comfort.
As we approach a new year, I choose to be conscious in my purchases. This includes buying holiday gifts that will last beyond the holidays that are responsibly made. Gifts from local Ventura and Santa Barbara businesses, to support the shops that have been greatly impacted this holiday season by the Thomas Fire. I also know that family will understand if gifts don’t arrive in time for Christmas. The more I think about it, the more I think it might be nice to have a gift or two to open after the holiday…why should giving end at Christmas?
So, just in time for the holiday season:
The guide of holiday gifts that warm the heart…
The Gift of Time
BERG+BETTS makes eco-friendly watches that are affordable. They use surplus leather to create their watch bands. So, instead of producing textile waste, they use it to create a beautiful timepiece. They offer free and fast shipping and have holiday bundles; two watches so you can gift one or both! I’m especially loving this holiday bundle.
The Gift of Making Memories
When confronted with having to evacuate ahead of the fire, people realized what really mattered most and was most valuable. Time and time again I heard people talking about family photos. A capture of a moment in time of the ones you love most. This holiday season, spend time with family and capture memories that will last a lifetime. Kelly Sweda, a local Santa Barbara photographer, has the knack for capturing real, intimate moments of connectedness between people. Her work is casual, natural and light-inspired. Kelly also takes some fashion clients, and I have had a few style photoshoots with her. The photography quality she produces along with her ability to put you at ease throughout the entire shoot makes her work unparalleled. Although based in Santa Barbara, she regularly offers travel sessions, and will come to you! Get in touch with her here for a family photo shoot!
The Gift of Happiness
There is something about dish towels that put a smile on my face. I especially love holiday ones from friends. Every Christmas, I put them on display, adding festivity to the home and Christmas cheer. Also, how cute are these chocolate bars from Trader Joe’s?The packaging makes them adorable, so no wrapping needed! Also, chocolate has been proven to reduce stress, so this makes the perfect gift for this time of year.
The Gift of Clothing Made in the USA
As a consumer, I’ve become more aware of what I’m purchasing, along with where and how a product is made. I like to invest in clothes that will last and are created with quality in mind. Made in the United States, using raw materials from Japan, American Colors produces clothing of incredible comfort and quality. Their flagship store is in downtown Santa Barbara, however, you can purchase their clothing online as well. I’m currently loving all of their flannels. These make a great gift because the quality of their shirts means its good for multiple wears and a flannel is a piece that never goes out of style.
The Gift that Carries all of Your Necessities
Parker Clay is a local Santa Barbara store that makes timeless and ethically sourced leather bags. Made in Ethiopia, Parker Clay creates opportunities for Ethiopian women to become economically independent and empowered. Each bag is handmade using traditional craftsmanship, resulting in a bag that will last a lifetime. My current favorites are this crossbody, this tote, and this backpack. Too many good things to choose from?You can also purchase a gift card to send to your loved one!
The Gift that Inspires
In the Company of Women is my favorite coffee table book. I love sitting down after a long day of work and reading about each of these creative and inspirational women. With the movement towards women becoming independent self-employed creators and makers, it’s no wonder this book is a New York Times Bestseller. Filled with stunning portraits and insightful interviews, this book is a must read for any woman who is or is thinking of becoming an entrepreneur. Gift this empowering book here.