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My Favorite Gifts for Families this Holiday Season

Mother_holiday_shutterstock_232321366By Deirdre Imus, December 5, 2017
The holiday season offers the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, create lasting memories, continue family traditions, and invent some of your own. It is easy for us all – but especially for children – to get caught up in the hoopla of presents and parties and decorations and songs. But at the core of all of this season’s festivities is our loved ones. Whether you tell them how much they mean to you daily, weekly, or monthly – and especially if you don’t say it enough – a great way to show your affection and to say thank you is with a gift. 

And there is no greater gift to give than something sustainable, eco-friendly, locally made, homemade, secondhand, or completely intangible. We should think about what we give to others just as carefully as what we give ourselves. If you wouldn’t buy yourself a cheaply-made item manufactured overseas and probably laden with toxic chemicals, then maybe don’t bestow it on a friend or family member (unless maybe you don’t like them very much, but even then it’s still pretty rude!).

Here are some of my Favorite Gifts for Families this holiday season. Some are big, some are small, and some can’t be touched at all. Most are from a handful of websites I feel responsibly source the items they sell, and have a wide variety of interesting products made largely by independent artists. It’s almost as if you’ve wandered into a local crafts fair, but on the internet. (Also, go wander into a local crafts fair! It’s a great activity for kids, and an even better place to shop for holiday gifts.) 

My favorite presents for kids of all ages include:

·       Dinosaur Duvet and Pillowcase Set

·       Personalized Good Night Little Me Book

·       Little Bites Silicone Ice Pop Molds

·       Gummy Bear Lights

·       The Mug with A Hoop

·       Little Patient

·       PACT Longline Pullover Hoodie

For newborns (and their parents) I adore the following irresistible items from Boll and Branch:

·       Cable Knit Throw

·       Any of their organic sheets and duvet-covers

·       Men’s and Women’s Flannel Pajamas

·       Super soft, chemical-free Crib Sheets

·       Baby Blanket or the whole Baby Gift Set, which includes two crib sheets and a blanket

It’s never too early to keep your baby safe, and the folks over at Belly Armor are doing some very innovative work when it comes to radiation protection. They offer a wide range of products – such as blanketsbelly bands, and even boxer-briefs for men – designed to prevent or limit radiation exposure.  This area of science is still evolving and we learn more everyday about the health risks that may stem from radiation, particularly in babies and children. You can never be too careful, and Belly Armor is trying to help.

As always, when possible, buy local! Supporting local businesses and artists has never been easier. Check out Etsy.com for craftspeople in your area, and support them. Many artisans selling their creations on Etsy are using recycled, upcycled, handmade, or secondhand materials. For other fair trade, handmade gifts look at the website Serrv, a nonprofit that has partnered with artisans and farmers around the world to help them sell their unique product collections.

Experiential gifts are also a treat, whether you surprise a friend or family member with theatre tickets, a cooking class, pottery instruction, a spa day, or an opportunity to jump out of a plane. The memories made will pay dividends and it’s an excuse to take a break from the regular routine of each day and do something different.

Let’s all try to hold on to the warm and fuzzy feelings of this season as we edge into the doldrums of January and beyond. It’s an exciting time of year but it can be overwhelming. Try to keep things in perspective, put family first, and avoid stressing out over the silly stuff. Find wonder in the pure joy children feel opening up gifts, and guide them on the importance of giving back. 

This article is an excerpt of an article that first appeared in Autism File magazine

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