I am grateful (emphasis on FULL) for another wonderful Thanksgiving meal.  And today, black Friday, all I bought was a bowl of soup and a delicious pecan sticky bun at the Farm to Market Bakery.  Homemade and so good, even in my post-turkey stomach! We took a walk along the Padilla Bay shore trail and enjoyed the warmth and sunshine after many days of wind and rain.  It was a wonderful day, nothing black about it.

I did start to think about holiday gifts for friends and family and we took some time to browse in some of the Edison shops, like the lucky dumpster.  Although you live in or near a place, sometimes you forget to actually stop and look at all of the homemade talent and art around you. There is an abundance of it here.  This visit to town definitely got me thinking about possibilities for good gifts and how I want to give this season.  What are gifts that I feel good about giving, gifts with heart?  Here is my list so far.  I thought I would share it.

1. Homemade hats and scarves.

I always get a lot of help and ideas when I visit Knot Just Yarn in Burlington. This year I am inspired to make something for my mom and my sister.  I am actually working off of patterns right now which is not always easy for me, but there is always someone to help me at this local yarn shop when I get stuck or just need some moral support to untangle my yarn mess.  Signing someone up for one of their regular classes too is not a bad idea either.

2. Hospice Northwest ornament.

10 dollars will buy you a 2012 glass ornament that benefits a wonderful organization that is serving our community in so many important ways.  http://www.hospicenw.org/newsandevents.cfm

2012 Hospice Memorial Ornaments are here! — November 02, 2011

The Hospice of the Northwest Foundation is offering their 2012 Holiday Memorial Ornament. This year we’ve chosen beautiful amythest recycled glass ornaments featuring a star.  These 2.5 inch diameter ornaments can be personalized in metallic ink or purchased plain.  They are a wonderful way to remember someone and help support Hospice Services.  They also make a gift you can feel good about.

Ornament true color

The suggested donation price is $10.00 per ornament.  Ornaments are available for order through December 20th, 2012. Click here for a printable order form

3. Local restaurant gift certificates

This is such a good way to support your local businesses, chefs and farmers and find a way to help someone take themselves out on the town.  Nell thorn, Tweets, Adrift, Rhododendron are just a few to mention.

4. Parsnips

Yes, I mean parsnips the vegetable.  This is a large one that Darla grew and sold at the Bow Little Market. I can’t wait to eat it in a soup and in a veggie lasagna.   Helping friends and family find a new vegetable and giving them recipes and ideas about how to use it is always a good gift.  You can even take it a step further and sign someone up for a CSA, like the one offered at Hedlins Farm.

5. Supporting  a cause

Donations to causes that you support in the name of someone that you love and care about are always important. For me this includes, Farmland conservation (Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland) and local hunger issues (Skagit Food Share Alliance)!

6. Cookies

Sometimes I make my own, but I also like to give my relatives far away in Wisconsin and Oregon some of the wonderful treats and eats from Breadfarm.

7. Artisan Cheese

Artisan cheese is a gift in itself. Also, understanding the process of cheesemaking and the time and effort that goes into it is also important. Giving this kind of understanding and appreciation to someone that isn’t around cows and small ruminants all of the time could be a great treat.  Also pairing the cheese with a good wine helps appreciate the flavor too!  Gothberg Farms has lots of cheeses and cheese products as well as this list of WA cheesemakers.

8. Poetry

Words are so powerful.  Sometimes it is a gift to just share them with the ones you love, to remind them to stop and be quiet inside for a moment.  Poetry can have that affect on people. Many local and regional poets carry their chapbooks at Village Books in Bellingham or Next Chapter in La Conner.    Or you could find a poem you love and write it down and frame it for someone.  Or, better yet, you could write your own piece to share and give during the holiday season. Poems are gifts, especially when they speak from the heart.    Wendell Berry has a fine poem called, “How to be a poet” and it ends:

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Maybe finding that silence will be a gift to yourself as well?

9. Time

Sitting, eating, gathering, listening. While these are things to maintain throughout the year, it is important to make sure that the rush of the holidays doesn’t take over the hush and the genuine time you get to spend with the ones you love. My mantra for the next month is -do not overplan!

10. nothing

There are times when you want to give and pamper during the season. However, sometimes it is just nice to keep all of the buying out of it. Just be! I generally like to think that this is a time to support the creators, services and businesses around me in my community.  However, remembering that these short days and dark, long night are a time of reflection,renewal and love is also necessary.  It is good to not lose perspective.

This is my gift list so far. It might still be growing.  Happy December..winter is on its way!