Go Girl Holiday Gift Guide
Last year, our writers recommended a host of items from the inexpensive and pragmatic to the extravagant and imaginary, and this year our Go Girl Holiday Gift Guide is back and it’s even better! In fact, looking at this year’s list of holiday must-haves says a lot about how Go Girl has evolved over the past twelve months. Echoing last year’s guide, we’ve got a selection of practical, budget-friendly gifts that make sense both on the road and at home, a handful of splurge items (iPad, anyone?) and a few impossible dream-gifts we lust after but most likely won’t ever have. But this year, our list also speaks to Go Girl’s awareness of the difficulties we face across the world today, particularly those most affecting women.
Throughout this year’s gift guide our writers urge you to make part of your holiday shopping focus on gifts that give back, from purchasing presents for your nearest and dearest from an site like globalgirlfriend.com, to gifting a loan through an organization like Kiva, or repaying the environmental cost of your own or someone’s else’s air travel by paying for a year’s worth of carbon offsetting. So for the Go Girls (and guys) in your life, you’re sure to find something for them here among our writers’ favorite gifts of 2011!
Go Girl Holiday Gift Guide
After three years in the wintry environment of Wellesley, I decided that I simply would not survive another year without some way of transporting warm, delicious tea with me as I scurry from meeting to class to meeting. My old mug leaked and was quite worn, so when the woman at Teavana told me they had a travel mug that would keep my tea hot for 6 hours, I was sold. At $27.95, the Teavana Stainless Steel Insulated Tumbler is definitely on the pricey side for a college student, but it is an investment that I am grateful for daily. Just imagine how grateful one can be when it is given as a gift! It truly does keep your tea warm. There have even been times where I haven’t let the tea cool before closing it up and nearly burned the tip of my tongue 3 hours later. And, if you want to keep cold drinks cold, it can do that too. For 10 hours.
Does your GoGirl have a propensity to wander off into the wilderness? Does she tend to find herself relying on Duct Tape more often than other folk do? Are you worried that her duffel bag won’t survive one more flight abroad? Consider giving her a Survival Strap this season, and put your fears to rest. Survival Straps are several feet of 550 cord (yes, that’s cord that can support 550lbs of dead weight) woven into bracelets, belts, and keychains for an easily-portable means of securing bumpers, emergency shelters, backpacks, pants, rabid dogs, and more. Better yet, if your Go Girl ever needs to use her strap for something more than accessorizing, the company will send her a new one for the cost of shipping. $19.99-$24.99.
Eco-friendly lunch bag: For those of us Go Girls who are on the go…to an office everyday, nothing can be nerdier/more appropriate/more awesome than a lunchbox. Luckily, you can avoid the nerdy with a pretty swanky eco-friendly reusable bag. Even though you can’t be saving trees in the rainforest, at least you can do it in the comfort of your own cube. Styles and prices vary greatly, but you’re sure to find something that meets all your lunch-time demands!
Only $6.00! Pretty splendid for a gift that will keep giving 365 days of the year. The Slingshot Organizer is perfect for yourself and your favorite girl on the go. This nifty little pocket-sized(4.25 inches X 5.5 inches) organizer is essential for keeping your plans straight and writing down pertinent info on the fly. You won’t be able to wait until January 2012 to crack this baby open and flip through the pages of illustrations and radical events (i.e. Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to to the back of the bus on December 1st, 1955) that accompany every date in the organizer. The organizer also contains contact information for radical groups all around the world and a menstrual calendar. I’ve used a Slingshot Organizer for the past six years, and it has never let me down. Even the better for you, me, and the trees, these organizers are made by an all-volunteer collective, printed on recycled paper, and made in the good old USA, in the East Bay, California. Oh yeah, and Slingshot delivers all mail shipments to the post office by bicycle!
To find a bookstore near you that sells Slingshot Organizers, visit http://slingshot.tao.ca/bookstores.php and to check out this year’s 18 snazzy colors of organizers visit http://slingshot.tao.ca/organizer.php. ~ Juliet
Dry Shampoo: I can’t believe I’ve just found out about the wonder that is dry shampoo! even when I’m not traveling, I like to give my hair a day off from washing, and this easy rub-in powder does the trick. It’s great for camping, long flights across the world, or even your regular skip-a-day shampoo! There are many types and sizes to choose from, but why not start with Oscar Blandi1 oz Dry Shampoo, recommended by www.independenttraveler.com.
Last year we included a Netbook and a Kindle on our list. I’d like to propose making our packs even lighter with an iPad or other tablet, which combines the capabilities of both. The new iPad even takes photos and has a huge memory so you can capture images, skype with friends and family back home, listen to music, write stories and blog posts, and read – all on the go. Get English language titles from anywhere in the world (at least in Israel English-language books are more expensive so this saves me money). Change of travel plans? Quickly download a Lonely planet – or just the relevant Lonely Planet chapter – to ensure you know where you’re going. For an extra gift the wireless keyboard makes typing for long periods even easier on the iPad.
Some of us have tried to be too cool for it–but for most of us, that didn’t last. The iPad is perfect for dropping in a briefcase or a bag while on the fly, and a great way to check email or browse the web without needing a big clunky computer (or a tiny phone). It’s so accessible, you actually have to try to avoid it. Also check out the Amazon Fire for a similar deal, although the differing screen sizes may throw you. ~ Beth
Ukulele: Last year’s guide offered a guitar as a splurge-worthy gift, but I need to put a pitch in for a uke instead. It’s compact, light, and only has four strings. Not only is it a travel-friendly gift (if you include a case) but it’s ideal for people who have never played a string instrument before! Many Peace Corps Volunteers pick up instrument skills while they are gone, but many invest in guitars and give up on them after a few months. The ukulele is more fun, more unique, and way more pocket-friendly!
Emergency shoe flats: It’s late at night. You have new shoes. Or the shoes you do have, though not new, are starting to get extremely uncomfortable. Maybe you’re going out and you have no place to stash an extra pair to walk in, so you manage in your three-inch heels. Maybe your thong (shoe, not underwear) breaks and you’re walking through Manhattan in bare feet. Or, like most of us, you rob a bank and need a quick getaway in something other than stilettos. Tell me if you have not been here. Luckily, there are amazing emergency shoe flats that you can roll up in even the smallest of purses and take with you. Perhaps not Dr. Scholl’s-approved, but when it’s an emergency, flats are a [wo]man’s best friend!
Stories of Woe and Whoa: Two Years of Go Girl: We’ve finally done it! Your favorite Go Girls have gotten together to print our very first anniversary book, a collection of our favorite adventures, experiences, perspectives and thoughts in and about the world around us. IT’S ONLY $12.99 and it’s available for purchase at the Harvard Bookstore. Buy a copy for yourself, your friends, your family, your dog…
~Go Girl Team
Wouldn’t it be nice…? Gifts that are fabulous — and probably imaginary.
Travel barista: Too many times we have gone without good coffee. On the bus. Hiking the Appalachian mountains. After a one night stand gone wrong. In Utah. But now, coffee addicts can rejoice with their own portable barista on their side. Your barista will take your order, remember your name, and get you the best cup o’ joe you’ve ever tasted. Plus, you don’t have to wait in line. Barista also serves chai, an assortment of herbal teas and an unending variety of biscotti. ~ Beth
Time: The best possible gift I can think of this year is something I know everyone has some of–albeit nowhere near enough–and something a lucky few have in abundance: time. I could really use some time, and I promise, I’m not picky. I’ll accept all quantities. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a spare 30 seconds or a the vacant half hour. Got a wasted afternoon? Shuffle it off to me! Larger gifts (a fortnight, a summer, the next thirty years) gratefully accepted as well.
Gifts that give back:
Globalgirlfriend.com is committed to helping women worldwide rise out of poverty by providing a market for their handmade, fairly traded goods. Choose anything from the website and know that you are helping a woman in need help herself. I love everything! Especially these Andrea Moore totes handmade by women rescued from a life of sex trafficking in India. Each bag tells the story of one woman’s journey to freedom. What could be better than that?
Women for Women International: Most of us have much to be thankful for, materially speaking. The holidays offer us a unique opportunity to give in ways that benefit others by giving back. As globally-minded Go Girls, here is a solution that will both fit within your budget and go beyond the individual recipient. Women for Women International is a nonprofit whose mission is to help women survivors of war rebuild their lives. From 15$ to 100$, you can purchase items in the following categories: Education, Job Skills, Animals and Organic Farming that will directly benefit a woman and her family in a post-conflict country. With this gift, you will be filled with the sweet satisfaction that results from knowing you’ve helped someone else in a very concrete way. Other organizations that have similar campaigns are Kiva and Heifer International. A Merry Christmas to all! ~ Danielle
Gift Certificate to Kiva – This organization facilitates micro-financing around the globe. Make the gift of a $25 Kiva loan, and your recipient can choose to whom to lend the money. If it’s paid back (and more than 98% of Kiva’s loans are) it becomes the gift that keeps on giving, because you can take the same loan and regift it many times! Check out this video for more information: How Kiva Works ~ Angela
Carbon Offset: If you love to travel, chances are you fly. If you care about the future of the world you’re flying over, then you should be aware of the unspoken cost of air travel, in terms of damage done to the environment by CO2 emissions. It’s admittedly difficult to bone up on this subject; studies are many and contradictory and airlines themselves downplay or persuasively urge us to overlook this aspect of commercial (as well as non-commercial) flight. Do a little research (we know, not many gift guides include that line!) and allow someone else (or yourself) to fly for a year guilt-free. Go Girl writer Angela directs you to The Huffington Post’s own Carbon Offset Guide.
From all of us here at Go Girl, we wish you Happy Holidays and Bon Voyage into 2012!