Ironically what we deem “new age” is really “old age,” but let’s save that for another article, and focus on gifts for the alternate lifestyle-inclined. I have tried to keep this list as gender-flexible as possible — these are gifts I would love to give and receive, with the mindset that they are gentler on the planet, can help change a life or several, even (hopefully) that of the gift givers!
Messy Bessy Products
Messy Bessy has expanded from being the go-to product for environmentally-friendly household cleaners and detergents to Messy Baby products and now, Messy Bessy personal products such as their hand sanitizers (The Little Warrior). A just released great gift for anyone is their Sports Spray (takes away those sweaty scents from your gym bag, running shoes etc). A plus is that a percentage of the proceeds from any of your purchases goes to support H.OU.S.E, a foundation that gives disadvantaged young adults a chance to complete an education and have some work experience. Learn more about Messy Bessy’s campaign We Clean, We Green, We Educate at www.messybessy.com.
Ilog Maria Products
My male friends are fans of Ilog Maria shampoo, especially those who are in danger of losing their hair or guarding against a slowly receding hairline. The shampoo has a fresh, clean scent and lasts a long time, plus it doesn’t foam as much as commercial brands, a clear indication that it’s got less chemical components. I have several female friends who testify to weight loss after regularly taking Ilog Maria Bee Pollen Pellets every morning, and, if you’re really feeling close, the Ilog Maria Feminine Wash is sure to be appreciated (by both sexes) wink, wink. Check out: www.ilogmaria.com to find out more about their full range of their personal care gift-worthy products.
Alice Blue Candles
These candles are handcrafted out of soy wax and, best of all, made locally. The packaging is tasteful yet simple and they smell divine. The scents are so potent that you don’t even need to light them to add fragrance to your room. I have a cousin who just leaves her unlit candles spread all over her bedroom and bathroom and I initially thought she had sprayed her room with some kind of perfume. Her husband doesn’t mind as she’s chosen a delicious mix of Vanilla Sugar (my personal favorite) and Banana Nut Bread. If you don’t want your place to smell like a bakery, though, you can choose from other scents that will remind whoever you give to of the beach, or Baguio (think pine, not grilled corn). The candles come in different sizes, and would be great gifts for those about to go on a trip who might have plans to “spice” up their destination. I try and stress buying local whenever possible, firstly to help employ our countrymen and secondly, because less fuel is used to transport the goods from factory to store. Check out: www.alicebluecandle.com for a list of their scents and where to find them.
A prayer book
I do not necessarily mean a Bible (although for some that makes a great gift) or something you’d pick up in a “novena” crisis. Christmas, at least in my opinion, is a time for you to reconnect with all that is love, all that is giving, and all that is of spirit. So why not gift someone with a book that may address some of their deepest issues and concerns? Prayer is a powerful tool and it is immensely healing. Prayers to the Great Creator by Julia Cameron actually “called” to me from the shelves of National Bookstore. I leave it by my bedside and whenever I feel life getting a little too heavy, I open to a page and immediately make a divine request for help, if not for me then for someone else. It’s not easy to describe the effect this book has had on my life. The prayers are also for reflection, even meditation and are of a non-sectarian nature so you are not confined by a certain belief system (except that there is one Divine Source for all). A prayer book may not be your thing but I would like to think that if you have experienced a book that has helped you, then it would certainly be of help or inspiration to someone else.
Crystals for health, wealth and love
You’ve probably seen them in offices and stores more and more these days: tall, or chunky works of nature on wooden stands. These raw beauties (yes, I’m biased) can help enhance the energies that you want to manifest in your life. In other words, if you feel a friend’s business could do with a little wealth abundance, gift him or her with a nice citrine tower or raw crystal formation that they can display or place beside their cash box or their desk. Is stress a problem? An amethyst crystal (yes, the purple one) is great for overall protection and the absorption of negative vibes. Love? Think pink: rose quartz, rhodocrosite or pink tourmaline. There are a lot of fakes out there, so trust your source. Visit Accessory Lab in Power Plant Mall, since the salesladies there are familiar with crystal properties. You can also browse through their books to see what would be right for whoever you’re going to give to.
These resuable bags are so useful! I was given one by a very good friend because we are shopping mates and she lamented my “collection” of shopping bags. Purchased at Fully Booked (near the cashier lane) the Envirosax comes in a variety of colors and designs and is thin enough to be folded and placed in your handbag. I also discovered another use for them, and that’s as an emergency beach bag! On a recent trip, I realized that my leather handbag would of course be ruined by the sun and surf and remembered my Envirosax. It was perfect for toting my cover-up, sunblock, sunglasses and other essentials. Fine, this last gift may not be great for a guy, but maybe you can suggest he give it to you. Their website is www.envirosax.com.
Yes, donate. It’s the season of giving, right? There are many organizations that need support all year round. Money, of course, is always welcome, but is probably the easiest to give and forget about. Maybe this year, you can make a commitment (in someone’s else’s name) to do something on a regular basis? Hands On Manila has reading programs for kids and other activities you can check out http://www.handsonmanila.org.ph. Angel Brigade via its umbrella foundation, Isdanco, is looking for sponsors for their scholars who want a vocational education in beauty and well-being (scholars are mostly young adults and housewives who have no other means of earning a living). Find out more via www.isdanco.org. If you prefer to help animals, the environment, children, all you have to do is some online research. Who knows you may fulfill an even deeper personal longing.
May all your Christmases be bright, light and right.
SOUL TRAIN By Katrina A. Holigores (The Philippine Star) Updated December 10, 2010