It’s that time of year again, where we start to think about fun little somethings to get our friends and family. Shopping for some people can be really, really hard. Take my dad for example. Every year I get him something, and every year when I ask him for a suggestion about what to get him, he just tells me I shouldn’t get him anything. We both know I will get him something anyway, but it is made much trickier by the fact that I am going into it completely blind. And so the Christmas gift dance begins! If you have tricky gift-ers in your life, I hope this list helps you find something that would be a good fit. All the things listed here are from small makers and artisans; since we’re all spending our money anyway this time of year, it makes sense to spend it where it will go towards supporting people who are passionate about what they do. Shop locally, support small businesses, and be the change you want to see in the way our economy works. I also have some charities listed below, even the smallest donation really helps make a difference. You can even buy friends and family slightly less expensive gifts than you were planning on and make a small donation in their name paired with the actual physical gift you give them–that way they still have something nice to unwrap at Christmas or Hanukkah but are also giving back to folks and organizations in need. Wishing you all the happiest of holidays, and I’ll be back in about a week with some festive and tasty recipes 🙂
Rescue – A wide reaching charitable organization that helps with disaster relief and refugee placement. Right now they’re deeply involved with assisting the Syrian refugees.
American Association of Caregiving Youth – This nonprofit helps provide financial and community support for children who provide significant assistance to relatives or household members who need help because of physical or mental illness, disability, or other conditions. Being the head of their households at such a young age makes keeping up with school work very difficult, especially if there are younger children in the family. The AACY helps these children care for those who depend on them so they can build a brighter future for themselves and their family.
ACLU – The American Civil Liberties Union works to protect freedom of speech and promote equality in the modern world.
Society of Women Engineers – They provide scholarships to females going into engineering fields, and also help with job placement and community support for those in this male-dominated career.
Planned Parenthood – The number one provider of reproductive cancer screenings, they make regular check-ups affordable for those who otherwise would not be able to see a physician. The best way to beat cancer, especially in cases of breast cancer, is early detection, which PP makes available to everyone regardless of their economic standing.
Kitchen & Dining
1. 2013 Inman Family Wines Olivet Grange Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir The 2013 OGV Pinot Noir is a light bodied Pinot Noir made with fruit from Inman’s organically-farmed estate Olivet Grange Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. This wine is extraordinarily complex, and incorporates some 100% whole cluster Pinot Noir which was fermented carbonically, resulting in an extraordinarily complex, nuanced, and delicious wine. Perfect for pairing with special occasions.
2. 2013 Star Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara Star Lane Vineyard is one of the top producers in Santa Barbara’s Happy Canyon AVA (they own 60% of the planted acreage in the region). Tyler Thomas joined the winery as winemaker in 2013, and his inaugural 2013 Star Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was just released. Tyler was drawn to the lack of dogma in Santa Barbara, and the opportunity to make wines which promote freshness and vineyard-driven authenticity. This wine is 100% estate grown, and will continue to develop beautifully with age.
3. 2014 Frank Family Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay Chardonnay is always a fan favorite, and this bottling from Frank Family is made with a combination of fruit from the cool-climate Carneros region of the Napa Valley. It makes a great pairing for dinner regardless of the season.
4. 2013 Priest Ranch Coach Gun The flagship of the Priest Ranch portfolio, this wine is a left bank Bordeaux inspired blend from the Priest Ranch estate in the Napa Valley. This wine is a combination of all the traditional Bordeaux varietals—Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot—all 100% estate grown. This full-bodied, rich, and structured wine is perfect for drinking immediately with holiday dinner, but will also age with grace.