The First of Many Holiday Gift Guides to Help You Get Meaningful Presents for Those That Are Near and Dear!

I have been scouring the globe for meaningful presents that I can get for friends and family and have some incredibly well-made, well-designed items. I wanted to share my list with you in hope that it helps you buy something meaningful for the people in your life.

To me, these are the best places to do your Christmas shopping because it truly is giving back – and isn’t that what the holidays used to be about?

Warmest wishes for this holiday season,

Stephanie Dickison
Publisher & Editor of the knack – Clothing with Meaning

Beautiful, soft eco-fiber shirts that are made with “respect for human beings and the environment.” It is possible, because I tried the Save the Children Long Sleeve Henley and fell in love with not just how the shirt feels, but how Heidi Matonis, President of runs her business.

Heidi makes shirts that look good, feel good and do good. With each shirt that is purchased, $5 goes to support a carefully chosen cause or non-profit – which is named in the name of the shirt – so you can support the causes that mean the most to you and get a fantastic shirt out of it.

There are so many causes that need our help and that Heidi has partnered with – Animal Protective Institute, Heifer International, Save the Children, Oceana and Retired Thoroughbred Foundation to mention just a very few.

This holiday you can help someone else AND buy a beautifully designed, cozy and comfortable shirt for you or someone else.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

BeadforLife – Eradicating Poverty One Bead at a Time

By purchasing jewelry from BeadforLife, you help women in Uganda rise out of poverty!

And not only are the necklaces, bracelets and jewelry bags beautifully handmade (the necklaces have this frosty gold clasp that is nicer than any I’ve bought in the past), money from your purchase will go to a woman in Uganda and “will go directly into feeding her family, getting needed medical care, paying for school fees, and saving to build a home.”

It’s enough to make you want to lie down and weep, as we hustle down to the mall to get a box of chocolates or slippers for someone on our list.

What is so fascinating about the work is that it is wildly contemporary and better made than anything sitting on my dresser! I got 3 necklaces that can all be rocked with black tees, dark jeans and cap sleeved tops, little cocktail dresses or anything bursting out of your closet, and one delicate bracelet that is just the sweetest little thing!

I got a triple swirl that is a mix of clear and lemony yellow cones that I just love and I can’t wait to wear with turquoise, black and my soft grey sweater! Well, everything actually. I don’t think I’ll ever take it off!

The circular necklace is extraordinary. Stunnning really, with lavender cones topped with bluish-purple beads that sit on your clavicle all sexy and strong like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra. I’m giving it to my friend Camille who is also beautiful, sexy and strong.

The single short necklace is a single strand of paper beads separated by small glass beads. The large, lantern-shaped paper beads are a beautiful warm brick red with flecks of yellow, blue, green and white throughout. It is a statement necklace for sure and I plan on wearing it as much as I can. It will remind me of the plight that these women face and that whatever troubles I think I have, they are nothing in comparison. I’m calling it my warrior laurel necklace.

And my bangle bracelet is a really treat in a lovely pumpkin colour that I think will really punch up my wardrobe! And, at only $5 each, you can afford to get one for you and everyone you know!

I am honoured to have these beautiful pieces in my life. They are really quite extraordinary, as are the women who make them. – Better Bags for a Better Planet and More

Since 2003, has been urging us to make the switch from plastic and paper bags to something reusable in order to “use less, preserve natural resources and save money too.”

And finally, we are starting to listen.

And by choosing a bag from, you not only get 100% satisfaction guarantee, but they will donate 1% of all sales to the natural environment and they support fair trade practices.

I got a Burnt Orange ACME Bag - Workhorse Style 1500 that is a great replacement to standard plastic bags and weighs only 1.5 oz. It is the lightest reusable shopping bag on the market and can hold over 25 pounds. It is made of rip-stop nylon that simply will not tear (mine hasn’t!) and was designed to fold over supermarket checkout bag holders, which is a feature I think is quite fantastic.

It folds into a tiny little pouch, so you can carry it on you at all times and not worry about remembering to bring it with you. And it weighs next to nothing, so you don’t have to lug around all those canvas bags anymore.

And at only $7.95 (or less if you buy 2-3 of the same style), you can afford to buy one for everyone in the family.

It comes with me everywhere now. Can you say that about the bags you’re currently using?

The ACME Bag - Recycled PET EarthTote in Deep Sage is made of recycled pop bottles and is strong and sturdy – it stands up on its own for easy packing and folds up just like a paper bag! I’ve been using it for the piles and piles of library books that I get every week and it’s held up despite the weight of many hardcover titles and coffee table books.

It’s made of 95% post-consumer recycled content and can be machine washed! Isn’t that great?

And for a really great all-purpose bag, I love the ACME Bag - Lightweight Recycled Cotton Tote with Dual Handles which comes in the fantastically named (and limited edition!) Paper Bag Brown, a colour that I just can’t get enough of!

The bag has both short handles to grab onto and long ones that allow you to throw it over your shoulder. I appreciate this feature a lot as my hands get so sore from writing that I sometimes can’t lift with my hands, so I can sling it over my shoulder and still carry home groceries, etc.

It’s made of eco-friendly recycled cotton that is surprisingly soft for how strong it is.

The handles, colour and feel really make this bag for me. I think you’ll like it too!

And for keeping your food colder, longer, may I suggest the ACME Bags - Recycled PET Medium Thermal "6 Pack" Lunch Bag?

At the time I checked online, it was at the reduced price of only $5.95, which seems ridiculously cheap for a bag that’s made from recycled bottles and containers, is 100% lead free and comes with a 100% Lifetime Guarantee!

Wouldn’t you rather be caring this around than something that’s made who knows where or with who knows what? And at this price? You can’t afford not to.

Stephanie Dickison

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