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Affectionate Attachments: A Collection of Gifts to Encourage Joyful Reconnection This Season

Each month we delve into a new story inspired by our scent of the month. This month, in honor of Northlands and the entire 2021 Ignite Series, we’re bringing you 12 unconventional gift ideas to help you reconnect joyfully with the people in your life this holiday season.


Every year, our Ignite Series is guided by an overarching theme. It’s our way of linking our seasonal scents to a broader idea and connecting a wide variety of monthly articles into a cohesive whole — a multipart manifesto of sorts.

This year, it was all about the power, beauty, and joy of connection. In keeping with that theme, we’ve compiled a list of 12 unconventional gifts, inspired by our 2021 Ignite Series, to help you strengthen the joyful connections in your life. 




Shop at an Independent or Employee-Owned Bookstore


Combine the joy of reading with support for companies that invest in their communities by buying gifts from independent and employee-owned bookstores. You might even include a note with each gift about why you chose to buy from this particular bookstore. To cultivate even more connection, you could start a small book club with a few of your friends or family members.

Where to shop:




Get Involved With a Local Land Trust


Do you know someone who is passionate about public space? Ask them to volunteer with you at a nearby community land trust (CLT). Land trusts have a variety of missions, from providing affordable housing to maintaining green space and historic preservation. Look for a CLT with a goal that’s close to both of your hearts.

Where to find a land trust:

  • Use the Land Trust Alliance’s land trust locator to find a CLT in your area. 
  • If you can’t find a local CLT, or if the ones near you don’t offer volunteer opportunities, you could always donate to a CLT in your loved one’s name. 




Buy a CSA From a Local Farm


Join the regenerative agriculture movement by making jams from locally grown produce or buying your loved one a community-supported agriculture (CSA) share from a local, sustainable farm. Buy one for yourself as well, and the two of you can bond over your recurring bounty.

Where to shop:

No CSAs near you? Many regenerative farms — like Hawthorne Valley in Ghent, NY — offer classes, tours, accommodations, and other fun activities. Ask your friend or family member if they’d like to visit one with you. You can use Regeneration International’s map to find some options within a reasonable distance.




Go Foraging


A foraging excursion with a friend or family member is a fantastic way to bask in the abundance of the natural world, the ultimate source of all our nourishment. And after you’ve gone foraging, you can spend a day turning your harvest into delicious dishes you can share, spreading the joy even further.

How to get started:

If you’re a foraging expert, feel free to dive in. But for beginners, it’s best to get some guidance to make sure you’re being safe and respectful to the environment.




Take Care of Yourself (and Someone Else)


One of the greatest gifts you can give to your community is your whole, rested, healthy self. Set aside a day for self-care. Put aside your work and your responsibilities, and get some proper, deep, reenergizing rest. How exactly you spend the day is up to you, but here’s a bit of advice: Don’t do anything that feels like ticking an item off a to-do list. Try some of these activities instead.

Once you’re rested, extend the gift of self-care outward by helping someone you love find some time for themselves. Offer a night of babysitting. Cook them dinner. Take over some of their chores for the day. Give them a break from shouldering all their burdens on their own.




Make Regenerative Gift Baskets


In the regenerative economy, companies actively choose to produce goods in a way that leaves a positive impact on people and the planet. You can make a difference, too, by shopping with those regenerative companies. Make gift baskets of sustainable goods — there are many to choose from! You might even slip some reading material into the baskets so your friends and family members can learn more about the regenerative economy movement.

Where to shop




Explore Together


Exploring the world with a loved one can bring you closer together — and closer to this beautiful planet we share. You can start small by planning a walk through your city. Identify a few places you’d like to go, and then construct a route to connect them all. Keep a camera and a notepad handy so you can both make a record of the things you find. For the more adventurous types, you can plan an excursion to a wildlife preserve or even a camping trip. Consider going somewhere neither of you has gone before so that you can experience it for the first time together. 

Ways to explore:

  • Robert Walker’s Art of Noticing newsletter is an excellent source of tips for engaging with the world.
  • Check out the National Parks Service for a list of national campgrounds.
  • Most state parks department websites — like New York’s — are also good places to look for destinations.




Help Rewild the Planet


Honor the planet — and the bonds you share — by doing some rewilding in your neighborhood. Start by taking the Wild Seed Project’s “Pledge to Rewild” together. You and your loved one will both receive tools, support, and action steps once you’ve made the pledge.

How to get involved:




Give the Gift of Ritual


Help a loved one find their center by bringing some ritual into their life. It can be some activity they do on their own or something you do together, a one-off occurrence or a standing date. The key is to find some creative act that will help your loved one feel more fulfilled and focused.

How to make a ritual:




Throw a Sustainable Dinner Party


Food is one of the most potent ways to encourage social connection and positive change, so invite your loved ones to a dinner party with dishes lovingly made from locally sourced ingredients. If your crowd loves to cook, make it a potluck. Then, everyone can share the stories behind their sustainable dishes.

Where to find ingredients:




Be Pen Pals


How about asking one of your friends or family members to be your pen pal for the next year? Even if you see each other every day, setting aside time to write letters to one another can help you connect on an even deeper level.

How to get started:

  • We recommend writing with pen and paper rather than digital methods. Writing letters by hand is a far more gratifying experience.
  • Buy your pen pal a nice set of stationary. You might pick up some notebooks from Public Supply, a B Corporation that donates 25 percent of its net profits to high-need classrooms. Botanical Paperworks is another good choice: It sells biodegradable seed paper that can be planted when you’re done with it.
  • If you’ve enjoyed the art and poetry of the 2021 Ignite Series, our new set of Loving Postcards is a great way to send small notes.




Share a Scent Memory


We make candles because we believe they give us a way to reconnect with ourselves and restore our balance in a world that’s always on. Help the people in your life slow down and recenter with the gift of scent.

After the year we’ve all had, who wouldn’t love to sit back, light a candle, and take some time for themselves? Check out the Keap Gift Guide for inspiration. Share a scent journey with a gift subscription, or give out your favorites with a festive Four-Pack of candles.

Giving the perfect gift isn’t easy — and for some of us, searching for the right presents for the people we love can be a source of anxiety. But the truth is that the most powerful gift of all is your care and kindness, in whatever shape they might take.

We see this gift guide as a source of inspiration rather than an instruction manual. Perhaps you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for among these 12 suggestions — which is great! But if not, we hope it’ll help you think about the small and specific ways you can nurture your connections this holiday season — and throughout the year ahead.


— The Keap Team


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