We all need extra ways to feel good this holiday season! Two of our Nozomi team members, Claire Foster and Sue Takamoto, team up to share ten ideas to make our holidays even more “merry and bright.”
- Find fun and wonderful ways to wrap your gifts and have a lower impact on our environment. (Did you know that glittery holiday wrapping paper generally is NOT recyclable?) A few of our favorites: using old maps, butcher paper, or – Sue’s choice this year – even old telephone books! And scarves (second-hand or new) can serve dual purposes – use the gift as wrapping!
- Choose ethical brands for gift-giving. There are so many amazing brands out there that are making sure to care for people and planet from start to finish. A couple of our favorites are Outland Denim and Noonday Collection. Interested in sustainable Japan-based gifts? We love Minimal Living Tokyo that sells everyday items for a zero-waste home. Check out this article in Timeout Tokyo (starting page 12) that includes Nozomi Project and other companies in Japan joining the green revolution.
- Join the wave of quarantined friends who are returning to the art of making their own Christmas cards! Last year Sue’s family chose to photoshop their family photos into Christmas movies for their annual card; Home Alone 4 anyone?
- We’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight Nozomi’s own ethically-sourced Dara Collection! We intentionally chose whimsical, irregularly shaped pottery for our new Dara Collection. Our Dara jewelry parts are ethically sourced, and each purchase is shipped in a denim gift bag hand-made by vulnerable women in Cambodia and packaged plastic-free with recyclable paper products.
- Choose consignment when gifting! We’ve found the quality of clothes, the rating system, and even the wrapping at online consignment shops like Poshmark and ThredUp to be completely gift-worthy!
- 2020 is the year of reading – we love ThriftBooks, Biblio, and Book Depository for finding and giving favorite books. (Besides, we think ear-marked and slightly worn books are the best finds!) For the last few years, these have been Sue’s go-to when looking for books!
- We love the idea of repairing and repurposing! One book on Claire’s Christmas list this year is Wear, Repair, Repurpose, a book to help jump-start our sewing and mending abilities.
- Find small companies that make items you love! Uzumati Ceramics is a female-owned small business that does incredible work. Claire ordered a Yosemite mug for her husband last Christmas, and they received a utensil rest from them as a wedding gift. Super cool and unique!! The gifts from Metalbird make unique and wonderful outdoor gifts that just get better over time. It's the perfect year to support small companies. Last year the tea towels Sue gave her sisters printed with their favorite family recipes have become beloved part of their kitchens ever since.
- Instead of a gift exchange, choose a project with your family or your group that will make a difference for others! Angel Tree (providing gifts for children with incarcerated parents), Compassion International’s gift catalog to help the very poor, and you don't need the red kettle to give through the Salvation Army as they respond to some huge global needs.
- Finally, no holiday list is complete without sharing a favorite recipe! Sue’s family-favorite drink during the holidays is homemade eggnog, which tastes worlds better than the store-bought cartons – at least according to her kids! Though it won’t happen this year, she has brought this along to many holiday events in previous years. Our wish is that with all the challenges of this year, your season is filled with hope and unexpected simple pleasures.
Sue's Homemade Eggnog (makes enough for 6)
1) Separate 8 eggs.
2) Beat egg whites until stiff.
3) Mix together and beat well the following ingredients in a mixing bowl or your blender:
8 egg yolks
1/3 C. sugar (regular or Swerve/monkfruit)
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 t. vanilla
1/2 C. heavy cream (optional but so yummy!)
3 C. milk (regular or almond milk)
4) Mix the egg whites in for just a few seconds; pour into your favorite goblets. (Optional happiness: add a dose of regular or non-alcoholic rum).
5) Sprinkle tops of each glass with nutmeg. Enjoy!