Gift Ideas

One of the things I love about the holiday season is that we have all agreed that this is the season to be generous. But I’m also welcoming a shift away from the fierce consumerism of years past, toward a kinder, gentler season of giving. In that spirit, I have rounded up three gifts that will help you make a difference. Read on…

1. Just Shea. Quench your thirsty winter skin with these Shea butter creams blended with all natural ingredients including rosemary, lavender, orange peel and sesame, they’ll soothe dry faces, hands, and feet. Just Shea products are sourced from Ghana, harvested by women who benefit from Just Shea’s training, safety gear, and storage silos to earn better prices and more independence for the sale of their yield. Founded by Danielle Grace Warren, in partnership with Wickham Boyle, this superior-quality cream is changing the lives of the 600,000 women in Ghana who collect and trade shea nuts.

2. Homeboy Industries gear.  An array of merchandise, mugs, shirts, hats and books are available from Homeboy Industries, started by the tireless Fr. Greg Boyle in 1988. The program helps formerly gang involved and the previously incarcerated, by offering hope, training and job skills. Today, Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention program in the nation and has become a model for other organizations and cities. Homeboy is located in gang-neutral downtown Los Angeles. Homeboy is also effective at SAVING MONEY: the average cost to keep a juvenile in detention is between $100,000-$150,000 a year in LA County, and this figure doesn’t include mandated mental health or education services. For adults, incarceration costs range between $45,000 and $65,000 a year.

3. Oblique Cards. Perfect for any creative types on your list, Oblique Strategies is a set of cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt who used them to trigger ideas and break deadlocks in creative situations. Each card contains a remark that can help you jog your thinking. Whenever you’re stuck, draw a card. Ponder how it applies to your project. The messages on the cards are a little, well, oblique. But that’s the whole point. With handsome typeface printed on quality card stock make it a cool gift for social innovators, designers, artists, writers and dreamers.