1.) Recycled leather handbags fit to weather the winter travel season: I’m mildly
obsessed with everything Clare Vivier makes—how couldn’t you be? She uses recycled leather product. She employs locally and ethically in Los Angeles. And of course, she’s gorgeous. Until yesterday, I also considered recommending Matt and Nat‘s vegan handbags, but was deeply disappointed to learn that despite the fact that they are made of non-leather material and the lining is made from recycled bottles, their production is in China. Boo! (Do NOT recommend.) When all else fails: Buy Vintage.
2.) A book to remind your traveler why they’ll never stop believing: Alain de Botton’s Art of Travel waxes philosophical about the beauty, the pain, the trivialities of travel in a way that reminds every lover of the journey (no, not the rock band, although those aren’t necessarily mutually-exclusive loves) why we fell in love with leaving home in the first place.
3.) Handmade and eco-friendly iPad and Kindle cases: Every traveler these days seems to have a bevy of electronics in tow. Wow your friends (and support small US-based businesses) by forgoing the Chinese made eco-disaster versions of iPad and Kindle cases at your local Best Buy. Instead, check out the Etsy shops of Pad and Quill and Book Pad for a variety of custom-made cases (constructed right here in the USA) that even masquerade as a Moleskine notebook (good for throwing off any iPad-loving thieves).
4.) The hot pink passport cover: Teich’s passport covers (in hot pink, navy, and brown, shown at left) are H-O-T. Not to mention they are made in the US of A using vegetable tanning (an eco-friendly process) and will keep your travel documents safely chic.
5.) E-cards to (carbon) offset your loved one’s traveling habit: Terra Pass has a great holiday option at an affordable price—e-cards that help to offset carbon emissions by sponsoring alternative energy projects (I’m partial to the Polar Bear card). You could even throw in a box of climate change chocolate to really sweeten the sentiment.
6.) A life-sized photograph from a favorite trip: Why not commemorate a favorite adventure with a canvas photograph that you took yourself? Canvas Pop can transform your memories into art with just a few clicks of your mouse. I did this for one of my photographs of a leopard in South Africa (the picture at right) and now every night before I fall asleep I remember the scent of that savannah grass, the late afternoon light, the dead impala dangling from a tree above… Definitely sets the mood for bedroom romance.
7.) Guacamole in December? Heck, yeah!: California Avocados Direct is not only sourced straight from a family farm, but also packages their goodies in delightfully gorgeous retro-cute gift boxes. They’re even running a holiday promotion on gift certificates and gift boxes (enter HOLIDAY11 at checkout for 10% off!). The Fuerte avocado season begins in January, so be sure to stock your beloved’s kitchen with fresh avocados. Don’t like guacamole? Don’t fret—California Avocado’s website and newsletter features a variety of amazing recipes (I made avocado pesto a few months ago and my husband couldn’t get enough of it).
8.) Cups, and Saucers, and Plates—Oh My!: Nothing says ‘The Holidays’ better than
gorgeous dinnerware on which to eat your delicious holiday meals. For the best of the best, try Mud Australia. Minimally designed by the most talented Australian potters, Mud hand crafts their ceramics using Limoges and imperial porcelain.
9.) The Magical Multiplying Miles: Travel frequently? Then you’ve likely racked up miles through Membership Rewards at American Express as well as your airline’s frequent flier program. Instead of letting those miles go to waste, consider turning them into travel vouchers for your favorite traveling companion and plan a trip together in 2012.
10.) Slow Down, Stay Home: Sometimes the toughest thing for a traveler to do is to stay put. But maybe the biggest gift you can give yourself (and your family) this holiday season is to create an adventure closer to home (for more on that, read my blog post on Stopping). After all, there’s plenty of scientific evidence that shows that maintaining a regular tradition of eating with family or friends is good for our health (for more, read Miriam Weinstein’s book The Surprising Power of Family Meals). Whatever your ‘family,’ whatever your traditions (new or old), sometimes it is worth forgoing a great solo adventure for the warmth of those you know and love. Of course, nothing says ‘The Holidays’ more than a family meal, replete with the requisite family feuds, unfulfilled materialism, and egg nog. Oh yes, the egg nog. Preferably spiked with some strong whiskey.