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Nozomi Project Blog

17 Ideas for a More Meaningful Holiday Season

  1. Make a plan before the holidays overtake you, and stick with it. Discuss and decide with your spouse/family/roommate, or make a written list of your plans to guide you when the days get busy.
  1. Give anonymously. Each year our family chooses a person or a family with a special need that year (unemployment, broken heater, etc.) and we have fun finding a sneaky way to buy and deliver to them a needed gift.

  1. Choose this year to decorate a little less. Clean out your decorations and deliver the still usable ones to a local charity. The very process of thinking through what you don’t really need feels good and helps strengthen your priority to simplify and focus on what counts.

 

  1. Give socially-conscious gifts that give back. Of course we love the Nozomi Project, knowing that all proceeds go to help the artisans and the community in the region where the 2011 tsunami struck. The theme of hope and beauty in brokenness makes for meaningful gifts (photo below). Other items from social enterprises we think are great: Trades of Hope offers great trivets and leather world map journals; table runners and flannel/kimono infinity scarves (Megumi Project); awesome leather satchels (Redemption Market);  soup and cornbread mixes (womensbeanproject.com). 

  1. Make homemade gifts! For adult projects we like these ideas: for your kids try some of these. Our personal family favorite annual gift is homemade candied pecans. We buy 18 pounds of pecans at a large warehouse store, and spend several evenings making these as a family and then giving them to neighbors, teachers, and friends. Really – these have become more popular than any store-bought gifts we might give! 

  1. Start a gifts-we-already-have-list (annvoskamp.com). Tape up a big piece of paper on a wall or door and throughout the season have members of your family write down the many blessings you are already thankful for this year.

 

  1. Who doesn’t love receiving a gift card? Surprise your family, friends, or coworkers with a gift card from one of these meaningful online shops: Raven & LilyTen Thousand Villages;  Nozomi Project. (Did you know you can buy, sell, and exchange gift cards here?)
  1. Friends of mine made up rules for living for one year, and carried them out through Christmas: buying only items that were local, used, homegrown or homemade. Choose any of these ideas for gift-giving and find joy in your choices. (See Craig Goodwin, Year of Plenty).
  2. Choose to help a child this season: become a monthly sponsor of a child, or send a financial or wrapped gift to a child in need. (Our family has personally been involved with Watoto orphans in Uganda; Compassion has children in need all over the world).
  3. No time to put together an Advent calendar of gifts for your family? Make a simple Advent wreath for your table and use this for a weekly gathering time to read the Christmas story together over four weeks as a family.

  1. Think about giving life enriching experiences. A membership to an arboretum or museum; ballroom dance classes; Rosetta stone language lessons; dates with your kids; gift certificates to audiobooks.com; concert tickets.

  1. Get a group of friends together and change up your normal holiday party plans: meet at a senior center to go caroling, with each person bringing a wrapped gift of socks and a new Reader’s Digest; then go back to someone’s home for eggnog and dessert.

  1. Choose a wonderful holiday story and carve out twenty minutes before bedtime each night to gather together and read the story. A few favorites: Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis); The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson); The Gift of the Magi (O. Henry); A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens).
  1. For setting perameters on gift-giving within your own family, we really like these guidelines: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. For this last category, last year I found a book list with themes of kindness that I used to buy books for our four children.
  1. When we pull out our stockings, we read our letters to Jesus that we wrote  back in January, as we were taking down the holiday decorations. These are letter/prayers we each write individually, beginning the year by asking Jesus to help us with a particular struggle or weakness. Even our youngest takes this seriously; it’s a great way to start the year dependent on Jesus and end it by celebrating growth.

  1. Give goats for Christmas! We decided with one group that we always exchanged gifts with, to instead pool our money each Christmas and come together and shop from catalogs – choosing to buy things like goats for a family in Africa; or mosquito nets for a village in the Philippines. Our kids AND the adults have loved the chance to not focus on us but give to those who really do need gifts like this. A few options we have used: World Vision Catalog; Compassion Catalog; Samaritan’s Purse Catalog

  1. Finally, please don’t try and do all of these things! Choose a few, live more simply, and make some new meaningful and wonderful memories this Christmas. What are YOUR favorite meaningful holiday traditions!

An Experiment in Holding Hope

I recently went on a short seven-day trip to the U.S. I decided to buy four of the newest Nozomi 'holding hope" necklaces, and look for people who might need them.  The price ($25) and packaging makes them easy to buy, and easy to give.

It wasn't too hard to find people who needed to be reminded of hope!  A friend dealing with a very sick husband; another friend who shared about her own hope deferred; my flight attendant on the way home who went out of her way to help me. I have the last one in my bag right now, waiting for the next person I meet who needs hope.

Who do you know who needs hope? Multiply your investment! In addition to helping sustain our Nozomi team, we are donating $2 from each necklace to stopping human trafficking in Japan.  

Let's work together to give hope - it's contagious!  Find our Nozomi necklaces here

 

What can happen when women work together

As we approach celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Nozomi Project this month, we want to highlight the skill and artistry that our Nozomi team has developed. We couldn't be more proud of how this team of women have worked hard to create some of the finest pieces of pottery jewelry in the world. 

The heart of our Nozomi workshop is the grinding room.  This is where the pottery is cut, ground rough, then finely ground to perfection. Our team of seven are creative and seek to make the most beautiful items possible. 

Our Sara hook earrings have remained our best-selling collection. We've made over 7000 earrings! And they just get better and better. This morning we had a new set of earrings ready to go online, and look at these beauties! It's the first time in my memory that we have seen heart-shaped earrings (not in a frame). The skill! the beauty! This month we celebrate the craftsmanship that can happen when women work together. (Get them while they are still here!) 

 

 

Congratulations to our Cyber Monday winners

We ran a two day campaign earlier this week for anyone who made a purchase on Cyber Monday or Fair Trade Tuesday on our site or our sister site, Megumi Project.  We are proud to announce our two winners:

Kim Galloway from Maryville, TN

and

John Miller from Quincy, IL

Kim is receiving a new Shiori Bookmark;  John has been sent one of our latest Daiki Keychains.  Woohoo!  We are rather sure you will both be pleased with your new gifts.  

Happy Early Christmas. Stay tuned for our next promotion!

Christmas Orders

We love this season!  Our staff are working harder than ever, and finding a lot of joy in making and sending out beautiful gifts!

Yesterday our head grinder came in on a day off to make more Daiki Keychains -- our first batch of 36 were almost all sold in three days.  

 

She made 26 beautiful new ones, ready to be sold tomorrow. (Wait and see them finished!)

   

Here's Abe-chan this afternoon, getting the orders ready for the postman.  Do you know one of the coolest things about doing business in Japan is that the post office comes to US to pick up our parcels each day?  That helps, especially on busy days following Cyber Monday and many Nozomi friends doing Christmas shopping! 

 

 

Special Drawing for Cyber Monday and Fair Trade Tuesday!

Nozomi Project Flash Sale!
**Cyber Monday and Fair Trade Tuesday**
Starting right now!
All customers who place an order on the website of the Nozomi Project or our sister organization Megumi Project until Tuesday night will be entered in a drawing to receive one of our amazing new Daiki keychains or Shiori bookmarks. We will be giving away one of each. Enjoy Christmas shopping that makes a difference!
(Flash sale starts now and ends Tuesday (12/2/14) midnight, EST)
www.megumiproject.net
www.nozomiproject.com

 

Shiori Bookmarks

Searching for a one-of-a-kind Christmas gift? Hard-to-please parent or spouse? Unique teacher appreciation gift? An elegant thank you gift for a pastor, boss, or coworker? The perfect graduation gift? Our newest collection is sure to become a treasured possession to every book lover!  Our silver bookmark will not only keep your place in your favorite book, but it will serve as a constant reminder of hope, and the process of beauty emerging from brokenness.

                   

Nozomi Project and other Gifts that Make a Difference

Christmas Gifts that Make a Difference!
During the busiest shopping weekend of the year, we wanted to share a blog that features Nozomi Project and other awesome organizations where your purchases make a difference in peoples' lives. Check out this list, and find extra joy in your shopping experience! 
http://www.leeanngtaylor.com/christmas-gifts-make-difference-give-back-fair-trade/