Favorite Holiday Gifts to Build Experiences & Strengthen Values

My motto for this holiday season is buy local, and buy less. A big take-away from the year for us is that the less stuff the boys have, the better relationship that they develop together (read about that here). This sets a higher bar for what we decide to bring in. We hope to move from our focus being simply buying things we want, to getting things that build experiences and strengthen our values.

This season, I’m in love with the eclectic group of goodies, handmade items, experiences, and artisans below. I would love to hear about your favorite things, too!

1. Puppet Theaters made in Portland by Kristine’s Designs

KristinesDesigns PuppetTheaterI’m not sure who will play with this puppet theater more–me or the boys. It fits in a doorway (via tension rods), and is made in Portland by my friend Kristine Baker.

One thing that I took away from the parenting conference I went to earlier this year is that making opportunities for creative play helps build and strengthen sibling relationships (I will do anything to help them play together!). Plus, who doesn’t love a kids’ puppet show? Cost is $40; $6 shipping (if you’re not close enough for pick-up), production time is 2 weeks. Email Kristine at khbaker2020@gmail.com for info.

2. Portland Thorns’ Season Tickets

Portland Thorns. MomsicleBlogNot only do Thorns games get better average attendance than a number of men’s teams around the country, the games are–of course–wildly entertaining, and the Rose City Riveters (the Thorns supporters) boast some of the only female capos (chant leaders) in soccer. That means that the chants and passion are off the charts. (Check out some pictures here and here.) Remember: We won the national championship last year. This is the cutting edge in sports, and you can be there. The Thorns talent includes U.S. Women’s National Team members Alex Morgan, Rachel Buehler, and Tobin Heath, as well as our family favorite Meleana Shim who had an awesome rookie season and will be back for more in 2014!

Maybe you’re 4,876th on the wait list for Timbers tickets. Keep your spot. But in the meantime, call (503) 553-5555 and get your Thorns seasons tickets. These women deserve devoted fans. You can take the kids, a friend, your husband (I’ll be there with K-Pants because he loves sports and has misogynistic tendencies, which is another story). Grab someone, buy some Olympic Provisions charcuterie at the stadium, and just get there. General admission (which is what you want) is $99 for the season.

3. Scout’s Honor Clothing Company for Modern Tomboys

Scout's Honor Clothing Company for modern tomboys

If you’re someone who thinks about where and how her clothing is made, this is a well-tailored, hip line designed and made in San Francisco.

Scout’s Honor just launched fall 2013, and is the creative baby of my college friend Clare Marie Myers. You can read a lovely little fireside chat with Clare here. Her line is expanding, and two items are available now (the Wrangler that I am swooning over, and a baseball tee that’s perfect for kickball practice). I love supporting people bringing their dreams to reality: Nothing’s better than being able to say that you were there from the beginning!

Clare gave us the code MOMSICLE to use for a 20% discount here through December 10th. My heart is jumping a little faster than normal, because I’ve never had a special code before!

4. Novica, handmade items direct from artisans

Novica NativityLast year I searched high and low for a Nativity set that a) the gremlins couldn’t break, b) wouldn’t break the bank, and c) didn’t have a blonde baby Jesus. The only thing I could find was a plastic Veggie Tales set in which Jesus is a cucumber. Not exactly the Nativity of my dreams.

This year I was determined to find what I was looking for, and my heart leapt when I got to Novica, a partner website of National Geographic that works directly with local artisans worldwide (no middle-people). If I could outfit my tree completely with their ornaments, I would.

We are thrilled with our beautiful, kid-friendly, dark-haired Nativity that my father-in-law helped us get. The gremlins love playing with it (baby Jesus and the animals ride around in a school bus a lot…). Novica empowers artisans by allowing them to sell their goods at fair prices without binding contracts, helping to build sustainable businesses. This is global meets local in the best kind of way. Go check them out!


My friend Cindy introduced me to Kiva two years ago, and I love hearing about other really meaningful gift ideas! Let me know what special artisans or organizations are making it onto your lists.


First photo courtesy of Kristine’s Designs. Third photo courtesy of Scout’s Honor Clothing Company. Fourth photo via Novica.com.

2 responses to “Favorite Holiday Gifts to Build Experiences & Strengthen Values

  1. I love your ideas and your goals. We’re downsizing this year, and it feels great to connect gifts with goals. Your choices sound like a lot of fun!

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