A Feel Good Holiday Giving Guide

The first snowfall happened last weekend, and today kicks off the official holiday shopping season. I’ll be staying home, happily as always, but I’ve still got decorating and gift-giving on the mind!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I cooked up my first ever plant-based, turkey-free meal. It was a great success, but sadly I was so busy that I neglected to take any decent photos. I will share the recipes I used at the end of this post for anyone who may be interested.

Given that it’s Black Friday, and the first holiday season that I’ve had Cured Life, I thought I would put together a round-up of giving ideas for the occasion. And while “feel good can be rather subjective, this roundup was inspired by the desire to be conscious of, and kind to, the earth, our bodies, our minds, and our relationships.

What’s more “feel good” than taking care of all those things?

Here’s some ideas for gifts that are long-lasting, memory making,
environmentally friendly, community nurturing, and more.


  • Mushroom kit. Currently growing shiitakes on my dining room table!
  • Buy an insect hotel, or help someone make one.
    • Attract good bugs to your yard and nurture biodiversity!
  • Always a winner: packets of seeds.
    • Inspire the start of a small herb garden, or dispersal of bee-saving seed bombs, or the cultivation of someone’s favorite flower or vegetable.
  • Amaryllis Bulbs for beautiful winter blooms inside!


  • DIY terrarium, indoor plants, or succulents all add a bit of green beauty to the home during these dreary months.
  • Cards and paper goods that will reincarnate.
    • I ordered my holiday cards from Botanical Paperworks, where the cards are plantable, and made from post-consumer waste. My recipients will be able to plant an array of beautiful wildflowers – how magical!
An awesome insect hotel I saw in Europe.

Donate (a few of my personal favorites):

Because some people already have everything they want, or refuse a gift altogether. No one will turn down the gift of charity given in their honor!

  • Seed Savers Exchange… because seeds are our most precious currency, and we must protect them.
  • Always in need: your local library, food bank, or animal shelter.
  • Do you know of a podcast that someone you love, loves? Donate to it in their name!


Move & Feel:

  • Make someone you love feel better with passes to a yoga/meditation studio, or a retreat featuring some holistic, soul nourishing practices.
  • Make them feel extra good with acupuncture or massage sessions.
  • Give the adventure seeker in your life some indoor rock climbing lessons, membership in an outdoors club, etc.


  • Support your local theaters! Buy tickets to an upcoming concert, ballet, play, or musical… there is nothing like live theater. Perfect for a date with anyone in your life!
  • Museum, zoo, or botanical garden memberships are other excellent options that the recipients can enjoy year-round.
  • Support your local farmers and growers by gifting a CSA membership.
  • Have someone in your life who loves to travel? Send them an AirBnB gift card!
The view from an AirBnB my sister and I stayed at in Utrecht along the canal.


  • It’s hard to match the gift of your time. Check Volunteer Match for opportunities near you, or seek out holiday events in your community that require help.
  • Volunteer to help someone in your life with a task they’ve been meaning to do, or may need help with. Again, it’s hard to match the gift of your time, attention, and care!

(because sometimes something has to get wrapped,
go under the tree, or in the stockings)

  • Support local, handmade artisans and purveyors. More often than not, these items are made with high quality ingredients, can be customized, and are built to last.
    • Not much to be found in your area? Look online…
      • Etsy is great place to find interesting/not plastic/uniquely made toys for children, as well as vintage treasures, handcrafted goods, and much more.
        • Here is a favorite creator of mine, who, full disclosure, I’m related to, but couldn’t be more enchanted by or proud of!
      • Scoutmob is also a great source for unique gifts from independent makers.
  • Board games! This is something I’ve gotten really into over the past year – far beyond the classic games we’re all used to. Games bolster brain activity, socializing, are usually tech-free, and just plain fun. Look around for some interesting options that will inspire game nights in the future.

And speaking of wrapping… be mindful of the waste that goes into far too many holiday gifts. Look at this aspect of giving as a challenge to be minimal, inventive, and creative. Repurpose something you already have, use recycled materials, and make sure to properly dispose of/recycle any wrappings you may receive.


So, there you have it. I hope you all give and receive gifts that make you feel good this season.

And I must give a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who reached out after my latest health update. It means more than I can ever say to continue feeling supported and a little less isolated on this seemingly unending cancer journey. On Thanksgiving I was overwhelmingly grateful to be thriving in all the ways that I am today.

My Plant-Based Thanksgiving Menu:

I didn’t use a recipe for:

  • Simple Stuffing
  • Potato + Parsnip Mash
  • Cranberry + Orange + Pomegranate Sauce


Bonus personal plug

I have been working passionately on a new business called Patch Crafts!


Grown from the desire to spread environmental-related education, awareness, inspiration, and related, unique goods – this long-brewing idea is finally taking shape!

Though I won’t officially launch until 2017 (when handmade goods will make up the bulk of offerings), our very first item, the signature Paw Paw Pin is available, and there will be two additional, different pins available within the next two weeks.


10% of all Patch Crafts sales will always be donated to the charity of your choice upon checkout.

Sign up for my email list, follow my Twitter or Facebook, and to be the first to know!


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