The holiday season is here! Black friday sales are luring us each time we pick our gadgets! As tempting as it gets, let us pause for a few moments and think how we can go the extra mile and make this year’s gifting intentional and mindful!
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself if you would like to choose meaningful gifts for your loved ones:
- What does the recipient value and appreciate? What would make them smile? How can I let them know how well I know them and how much I care?
- How frequently is my gift item going to be used? Choose something that has a long lasting usage!
- Will I be adding to their plastic clutter? What sustainable alternative do I have?
- How about gifting an experience that will be remembered & cherished?
- How can my act of giving benefit more than just the recipient?
The year 2020 has been quite an unusual one. While the pandemic brought the entire globe to a grinding halt, it also pushed many young and passionate entrepreneurs thrive against all the odds! The reason I am penning down this blog post is to introduce such entrepreneurs. By choosing a gift from these entrepreneurs you are making a big difference not only to your local economy but you are also investing in an individual’s dream!
While I had the pleasure of getting to know many amazing businesses this year, I have curated the following list with only those whose products I have personally used and I dearly love!
#1 The Journal Lab
Jim Rohn said, “A life worth living is a life worth recording.”
One habit I recultivated personally and introduced to my older daughter Kaitlyn is journaling. You can read about my journaling experience in the following instagram posts:
My daughter uses My Little Big Day journal by the Journal Lab. She is already on her third one. It has weekly themes that focuses on various behavioral aspects of the child. Introducing a child to the habit of journaling will have a lasting positive impact on its mental health!
Recently, the Journal Lab debuted their adult journal called Find Your Balance. It’s an undated journal, so carefully & thoughtfully designed by Harini Palanisamy, a Coimbatore based entrepreneur. If you are someone who would like to embark on a journey of mindfulness, go for it!
#2 Goldfield & Sunshine Earrings
I have known Rebekah Paul, the creative heart & soul behind Goldfield & Sunshine, for two decades. She is my bestie from college who has always left me in awe of her creativity. The earrings she creates are one of a kind.
The embellishments used in her earrings are not store bought & put together. She hand molds, colors and crafts each piece personally. What I love the most about her latest collection are the cotton candy colors and the patterns that are rare.
Hop on over to her Instagram and check out her collection!
#3 Sukham Handmade Bath & Body Products
Many of you DM me asking me what I use for my skin & hair. Firstly, thanks to my genes, I have a reasonably good skin. Secondly, thanks to Sukham’s Kumkumadhi Thailam! It’s a magic potion I discovered this year. I apply it before going to bed and wake up to super smooth & glowy skin. You won’t believe, I actually wake up & feel how soft my skin feels after applying the Thailam! My night time routine includes the Kumkumadhi Thailam, Under Eye Serum & Lip Balm!
Sukham’s another must-try are the Shampoo Bars. I never knew shampoo bars existed until I came across it at Sukham this year. I have used the Neem Bringa Bhrami Bar, Shampoo Conditioner Bar & the recently launched Egg Shampoo Bar. The shampoo bars are gently fragranced and lathers very well. I love how voluminous the hair feels after the wash. I have even noticed a considerable difference in my hair fall while using these shampoo bars. My hair fall is very less when I use these natural shampoo bars when compared to the store bought commercial ones.
I have personally known Ruckmani Anathanarayanan, the founder of Sukham for nearly a year now. She lives in Pondicherry. She is a woman of integrity and highly passionate about each product she creates. Check out Sukham Handmade’s instagram page for raving reviews and Ruckmani’s skincare tips.
#4 Berachah Chizels Vintage Wood Designs
Sheeba Sharon & Bewin Berachah, the founders and creators of Berachah Chizels, are both my college juniors. The wooden products they create are so elegant and high in quality that Huffington Post featured them among ’10 Home Decor Delights by Indian Brands that Will Make You Fall in Love Instantly’!
Early this year, my Ikea cutting board fell and broke into two. After ogling over Berachah’s cutting boards in the past, I finally decided to treat myself with one of their masterpieces. It is a work of art! The beautiful naturally grained, super strong and sturdy country wood has truly been crafted with utmost care! I absolutely love it!
Apart from their cutting boards they also undertake custom woodwork orders!
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/berachahchizels/
#5 The Zoe Life Store
I recall for a long time there was hardly any quality locally produced faith-based kids products available in India. I was thrilled when my dear blogger pal Gracelyne Fernando launched the Zoe Life Store. Last year she debuted the Advent Cards – 25 advent devotional cards with each card featuring an aspect of advent. We use it during our family prayer to discuss with kids so many little but significant reasons, that are often overlooked, that make Christmas meaningful!
This year Gracelyne has launched the A-Z Names of God cards. These cards are perfect gifts for your own kids and to gift family friends. It would also make a great teaching resource for your Sunday School and Bible Study!
#6 Parvathi Foods Sweets & Savories
Why stereotype Christmas with cakes and cookies? Why not vathals, vadagams, thokkus, pickles and podis! I’ll be the happiest if someone gifts me these!
Aunty Shanthi Ragavan from Chennai makes tasty homemade sweets and savories and I have been ordering from her this whole year. My kids and I are a huge fan of her vathals, podis and snacks! She ships both locally and internationally!
#7 Personalised Story Books by Manimal Tales
A personalised gift undoubtedly adds an extra special feeling. A personalised book makes it even better by transporting the child into the magical world of the story. Manimal Tales have a great collection of personalised books. We received Grumpopotamus with Kristine’s name this year and she thoroughly enjoys it.
#8 Vishara Skin Care
Vishara is another incredible skin care brand I use. Sharanya Gopalakrishnan is a Chennai based entrepreneur who dedicates her time researching and creating skin care products that are gentle on the skin.
I use Vishara’s Honey & Oats soap, Rose Clay Mask & Coconut Clay Powder Cleanser. The soap has a very unique and mild fragrance to it and last really long. The face mask adds a very refreshing feel to the skin. The coconut clay powder cleanser is epic! The powder acts as a gentle exfoliating scrub and leaves the skin super smooth!
Sharanya adds beautiful handmade cards to her orders, which will be perfect for sending personalised messages along with her products as gifts!
#9 Ela Handcrafted Face Masks
We are living in a time where a face mask has become a day to day requirement for both adults and kids. Ela Handcrafted Face Masks is a home brand from Thekkady that encourages and supports local artists. Ela has a beautiful collection of hand embroidered face masks! I always receive so many compliments when I wear them!
Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/ela.handcrafted/
#10 My Online Workshops
Due the pandemic, I stopped accepting photoshoots indefinitely and I decided to use the opportunity to share my photography knowledge that I have acquired over the years.
I periodically conduct two workshops,
- Authentic Family Photography Workshop
- Basics of Digital Marketing Workshop
As I consider family photography to be my area of speciality, in my Authentic Family Photography Workshop, I teach how to capture your loved ones in the most authentic and candid manner. It is a very interesting two-day workshop wherein I will be covering basics of photography, angles, composition, posing and more. This workshop is guaranteed to change your approach to photography and help you capture every-day ordinary moments in the most magical way irrespective of your gadget (A smartphone is more than enough!).
If you are someone who loves documenting your family in pictures and you would like to capture images that will be treasured for generations, this workshop is for you! If you have aspiring photographers in your family, this workshop would be a perfect gift!
Authentic Family Photography Workshop
Dates: 12th & 13th December, Saturday & Sunday
Time: 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm IST
For more information & registration: https://www.michellejobphotography.com/authentic-family-photography-workshop
The Basic of Digital Marketing Workshop is another two day workshop that I conduct with my sister-in-law, Jasmine David, who is an highly skilled, qualified & experienced Digital Marketing Consultant. In this workshop she will be sharing the fundamental technicalities of Digital Marketing and I will be sharing how I used Digital Marketing in my photography business.
This workshop would be very helpful for Start-ups, Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, Professionals, Artists and anyone who wants to know how to take their dream to the next level! I also highly recommended for those considering a career in Digital Marketing!
Basics of Digital Marketing Workshop
Dates: 19th & 20th December, Saturday & Sunday
Time: 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm IST
For more information & registration: https://www.michellejobphotography.com/basics-of-digital-marketing-workshop
I hope my recommendations are useful. Wish you happy gifting and a very joyous season!