What a Year! Holiday Gift Guide


Suze Orman likes to say “People first, then money, then things”. I’m thinking of that as we near the twelfth month of the year. Twenty-twenty has been a year for concessions and there’s not a better time than now to treat ourselves to extra helpings of treats whatever they may be.

It’s possible we’ll all be at home more this winter, so make it the place you’ve always dreamed with inspiring lighting, music, more plants and books. You have my urging and permission.

Or perhaps you’ll have more time than money this year like many of us. There are people out there who need you. You could be the face that someone is excited to see, and it will make their day to have you in it. Whatever your treat is, fill your heart with what you love. Here are a few of my all-time favorite things:


Nathaniel Rateliff was ready to give up music a few years ago but then his next album went platinum. With the Night Sweats, their music is described as vintage R & B with brass, keyboards, and slide guitar. His songwriting strikes me as part surrender, part hope. You will get up and shake your booty to his massive soulful voice and big band sound. Just wow. Music from these guys just helps make it all better. (Nathaniel also created The Marigold Project which helps fund strategies working toward economic, racial, and social justice.)

Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats album was a “last-ditch effort before throwing in the towel on his music career”, and it went platinum. Get it for “S.O.B.” On vinyl. $15-$25.

And It’s Still Alright is Nathaniel Rateliff’s latest solo album. Get it for the title track “And It’s Still Alright“. On vinyl. $15-$75.


Meet Me At The Table is a compilation of favorite recipes from 35 musicians, including Jack Johnson and John Prine. The proceeds benefit food justice organizations that support the invisible network of folks whose job it is to get food to our plates.


This Immeasurable Place: Food and Farming from the Edge of Wilderness. From the award-winning Hell’s Backbone Grill and Farm, their second cookbook is a real pleasure to read. Highlighted with stories of the locals who call Boulder, Utah home (population 240). If you’re in the area and have the chance to eat at the farm-to-table restaurant, by all means, do. Even better, stay at the lodge at the farm. The town is nestled along Scenic Byway 12 and surrounded by the stunning Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. And if you can’t get there in the near future, I assure you that you’ll have great success in recreating the restaurant menu with these recipes. (Their first cookbook here.)


Teepee tops. Aren’t these so darn cute? From TreeBrothersLA, these handmade pot holders are great for handling hot lids and cast iron pots. I bring mine out when my kids are perched stove-side on a chair stirring bubbling oatmeal. And a pair would be just right for the cook who has all the kitchen gadgets. Made with love by a mother/daughter team and they come in three sweet designs. 2 for $18.


The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. We happened up this book from the library and it’s now one of my favorites for younger kids. Simple poetry that evokes a world of senses. Ages 2-7.


I Hear A Pickle by Rachel Isadora. When my kids were younger, we read this book endlessly. They always had me read the poopy diaper part over and over and over. It’s a rare book that stays fun with repeated tellings. Includes Spanish subtext. Best for ages 2-7.


Love Monster by Rachel Bright. I adore this book. When my son was three, he was fascinated by this not insignificant story of a googly-eyed monster and his journey to find someone who would love him just the way he is. Ages 1-5.


Watercolor crayons. Sit down with your child (or without one) with a set of these fun waxy crayons that then turn to watercolor paint when wet. $15.



Tru Melange candles. Made from soy and vegetable wax and pure essential oils. I’m picky when it comes to candle scents and can’t take the overly fruity or flowery scents of many commercial candles. These are soft, unique scents coming from pure essential oils (from nature so they’re not harsh) but the scent is enduring. My candles from last Christmas have as strong a scent as when they were brand new. With the lid off, the candles deliver a soft aroma from the nightstand while I’m getting ready for bed. I love the Lemongrass & Litsea and the Patchouli & Tangerine. Plus, the sturdy glass holders can be used as drinking glasses (and the tins as gift containers or jewelry storage) and the lids as coasters once the candle is done. $4.50-$15 plus 25% off right now.


Audio-Technica turntable. Join the revival of the vinyl and dust off your old Stray Cats and Keb’ Mo’ LPs. Unlike the turntables of our youth, many come with some pretty neat features. Like this one, which is a well-reviewed mid-range turntable that comes with wireless Bluetooth capability (connects wirelessly to an audio system) and a USB output (enables digital copying). $249. Here’s a lower-end model for $150.


The Peaceful Parent Happy Kids course by Dr. Laura Markham. I came across this course two years when I was looking for help (with my kids). I was yelling, withdrawing, and using bribes – doing the things I knew weren’t great – and then feeling terrible afterward. I felt stuck in a negative spin cycle, but didn’t know how to stop. Going through the program was the best thing I’ve done for myself and my kids. This course encompasses everything that enables peaceful parenting – how to stop saying or doing the unhelpful thing, parent triggers, self care, practical tools for dealing with “those moments” and much much more. $159 for the 12-week online course plus 10% off if you sign up before December 3.


Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring organization. This is a gold star organization and my all-time favorite. Become a Big Brother or Sister, or donate.

Have a good Thanksgiving, no matter what you do. I’ll see you on the other side of it.

And more…

~ Magazine subscriptions still make great gifts.

~ An easy Thanksgiving day breakfast.

~ If you’ll be with family and need your kids to cooperate, read this.

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