In November our thoughts turn to setting the Thanksgiving table, gathering with family and friends, being cozy together, and focusing on gratitude.
And we also start thinking about the upcoming gift-giving holidays. And shopping.
Which brings me to a collection of thoughts that all tie together around a few of my favorite topics, going green, buying local, giving back, and stewardship of our communities and the earth.
Today, going green is like how yoga and meditation used to be; once upon a time, if you did yoga or meditated, you were a hippie; you were way out there. Now everyone’s doing yoga and meditation, becoming conscious, everywhere from corporate offices to elementary schools, is hip—not hippie.
It has become mainstream to have these conversations about fair trade and carbon footprint, and from an interior design perspective, what we choose to bring into our homes. At my firm, we have local vendors we work with who fabricate furniture to the highest eco-friendly standards, and many of the contractors we work with that have green certifications.
We are in the business of creating authentic, welcoming home interiors that support people in being their best selves and leading their best lives. Through our work as interior designers, we like to think we are your go-to source for anything in your life that you want to improve, your health, the quality of your life, your experience as a human, the air you breathe, the art you look at. Choosing consciously the objects and items that we surround ourselves with, items made by hand of natural materials and locally sourced, makes a difference in all of these areas (responsible stewardship of the earth).
As humans, we truly want to surround ourselves with what is, real, true, and authentic. What is made with care. Because we can sense it; even if we don’t register that awareness on a conscious level, the body knows.
We can extend this philosophy to holiday gifting. This year, I pledge to buy gifts that are local and handmade, and/or to support friends charities, i.e.: simultaneously giving and giving-back. And support the victims of the North Bay fires by buying wines from wineries located in the burn area; i.e.: contributing to the stewardship of our communities.
One of my favorite venues for shopping for gifts that are stunningly beautiful and handmade, is the upcoming Renegade Craft Fair, November 11 and 12, at Fort Mason in San Francisco. (For more information and to preview items online, visit www.renegadecraft.com).
In Oakland, the shops at Temescal Alleys have a similar artisan and craft vibe, on a hyper-local neighborhood scale (www.temescalalleys.com).
More local gifts I plan to give this year: original prints from 3 Fish Studios (www.3fishstudios.com), gift certificates to my favorite restaurant (www.thewolfoakland.com), handmade pottery from Sara Paloma (www.sarapaloma.com), a facial or lymphatic massage from Becky’s Skin and Body Care (www.beckys.care).
One last thought about how to give to ourselves this season:
Don’t we always promise ourselves that we’re going to get a jump on the holidays, and if you are like me always wait till the last minute, to get the shopping done? Might this be the year that we change this? I am committing to going to the craft fair next weekend, buying things for my people, and not just that, but also savoring the buying, take my time at the booths, including Carole Neilson’s (because if you know me, you know how much I love pottery), talking with the artists and enjoying the art.
I pledge to have my holiday season have more ease, less effort.
We are, after all in the season of gratitude. I am grateful for all that I have, and I believe that with all that is good in my life, I have a responsibility to give back.
Lately I have become involved with fundraising for MISSSEY, Motivating Inspiring Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth; an organization that provides assistance to young people, mostly women, who are survivors of the sex trafficking industry. The Oakland is one of the highest volume sex trafficking cities in the world.
We cannot enjoy and savor our own easy lives if this is happening, indeed less than five miles from my home, where I will sit and eat turkey. LMB Interiors is actively supporting this charity. If you feel called to join us in learning more about this issue and getting involved, visit their website: www.misssey.org