Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or something else, the season of gift-giving is upon us. If you’re socially conscious, are fed up with the commercialism of the season, or just want to explore alternative gift-giving, here are some of my favorite causes that you can use for inspiration.
- Heifer International provides livestock and training to people in developing communities so that they can feed themselves. They have a special gift-giving brochure to help gift-givers with ideas during the holiday season.
- Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency.
- Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres) provides emergency medical care to millions of people caught in crises in more than 60 countries around the world.
In addition to the international agencies mentioned above, there are also a number of local causes worth giving to – either for yourself or on behalf of others as a gift:
- Central Union Mission provides food, clothing and shelter to the homeless in the DC area. They run a Thanksgiving Food Drive and are in need of different types of donations. For a full list, .
- The House of Ruth helps women, children and families in greatest need with an emphasis on ending homelessness and chronic abuse.
- Outreach International has an online catalog of sustainable gifts in a variety of categories and price points to satisfy the fashion-conscious as well as the socially-conscious. The organization’s mission is to provide sustainable solutions to help end extreme poverty around the world.
If you are so-inclined to give gifts for the holiday or are looking for a gift that keeps on giving, you have plenty to choose from. What are you giving for the holidays? Comment below and let me know.
Once a year, businesses and artists in Takoma Park, Maryland get together for what is known as Art Hop Takoma — a week-long fete where the work of local artists is featured in local businesses. This year’s Art Hop was the fourth annual event and my third year of participating. I, along with another area artist, was featured at S&A Beads where I frequently buy beading and art supplies. It’s also where I had my first beading class years ago and got hooked on designing jewelry.
Last year, I was featured at The House of Musical Traditions where my recycled vinyl jewelry fit in perfectly with the records from which recycled vinyl is made. This year, S&A Beads featured several works from several of my collections, including my sandcast beads from Ghana, newly-designed wire-formed and wire-wrapped earrings, and recycled vinyl jewelry.
Me posing next to my collections
Display window in S&A Beads
Art Hop Storefront Display of my items
All in all, it was a wonderful celebration of art, handmade and community. I was fortunate to have participated in my third year of Art Hop and totally thrilled to have been featured at S&A Beads where I got my start.
Well not really. I have this idea of the perfect blog. It is filled with useful content that readers can’t wait to read, detail-ridden photos, and comments from admiring readers and guest bloggers.
This is certainly not my blog, at least not at present. But one day. But these illusions of grandeur sometimes lead to paralysis. If I can’t get my Pulitzer-worthy content onto the page with matching photos, it’s just not worth doing. And so I don’t. I’m sometimes my own worst enemy.
Right now I’m struggling with the usual juggling of designing, inventorying of parts and finished pieces, photographing pieces, optimizing photos for the Web, and marketing. I’ve been spending a bit more on advertising this year and it seems to be paying off; not as much as I’d like, but still. Next year, I plan to be a bit more strategic with the marketing.
In the meantime, I’m working on new designs – mostly trying to diversify my earring inventory and techniques. Let me know what you think.
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