To Give: Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide

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1. Michael Roger Notebook; 2. Juniper Ridge Tea; 3. Peg and Awl Tote; 4. Art In The Age Spirit; 5. Woodwear Sunglasses; 6. Lallitara Wristlet; 7. Bario Neal Studs; 8. Studiopatro Tea Towel; 8. Rewined Candle.

The percentage of my post-grad savings that has gone to jukeboxes in dive bars and late night pizza is unforgivable. I’m trying to redeem myself with some eco-conscious gift-giving this holiday season. I get so giddy when I find a business that is reusing materials in a clever way, like Lallitara’s eclectic wristlets made from discarded saris or Peg and Awl’s rustic  bags that are so durable I assume they will likely surpass the age of their reclaimed parts (such as WWII gun slings). This list of last-minute goodies, all of which were manufactured in a way to reduce their environmental impact, is certainly something I can feel good about spending my last pennies on – and is a hell of a lot classier than swaying, gin and tonic in hand, to a Father John Misty song at 1 a.m.

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To Wander: Becks’ Christmas Tree Farm, Slatington, PA

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I’ve had a tough history with Christmas trees. I really shouldn’t love them anymore. I’ve had trees that shed all their needles before December 10th in an act of childish defiance. I’ve had trees lose their balance unexpectedly and topple onto me, leaving twigs and broken ornaments in my hair. I’ve even had trees interrupt dinner and barge right through the living room and onto the floor, leaving more twigs and broken ornaments, plus sappy water. Normally, I’m one to hold grudges regarding this type of behavior, but I will never leave the whole love affair that begins with a snowy drive out to the farmlands and ends with me dragging my holiday partner down a muddy hill and onto the roof of a car. If only all courtships began so straightforwardly. So, despite our troubled past, I brought a Fraser home this year from the absolutely magical Becks’ Christmas Tree Farm in Slatington. As of right now, he’ still standing. Here are some photos from my trip.
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To Listen: Indie Christmas Playlist

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I work hard to ensure that every moment of my life is accompanied by a task-appropriate song. For some things, it’s easy. When I’m trimming my crooked bangs, it’s “Cut Your Hair” by Pavement. When I’m staring pensively out from a northbound Regional Rail train car but also trying not to induce motion sickness, Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country” is on repeat. When I’m simply existing, “I’m Broke” by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears soothes (it’s my life’s theme song right now). When I’m preparing for Christmas, I need some seasonal lyrics but timeless melodies and this playlist does the trick. I worry that one summer day my headphones will pop off and the horrible, scarring truth will be revealed that I listen to the above songs ALL YEAR. Sparingly, of course. “It’s Christmas! Let’s Be Glad!” by Sufjan Stevens was the first song I learned on my banjo, so when I play it after winter, I’m really just studying.