Now, on to my real life.
For the second installment of holiday shopping ideas, in an effort to get those gifts purchased, wrapped and ready before December rolls around, I bring you the children of two of my friends.
I love talented offspring, especially those who are brave enough to strike out on an entreprenurial path. I'm trying to stay away from suggestions which would send you to catalogs attached to international conglomerates; we're staying local this holiday season, trying to make a difference in small town economies all over America.
Travel to Chicago with me, where Matt Bercovitz, playgroup member and wedding guest, has, among his other start-ups, created Berco's Popcorn. His mother has regaled me with tales of fires in the popper and kitchen locations gone awry as this talented twenty-something worked on creating the perfect snack food. We both agree - it's awesome.
He considers marketing angles and coolness and, most of all, the taste. Oh, yes, the tastes. There's Way Too Expensive White Truffle, coated with white truffle butter.... which is not only costly but difficult to create. Perhaps this is under the tree for that person who looks at the price tag before thanking you for the gift?
There's Pretty and Skinny, with just a little bit of salt and a philosophical statement on the "wholesome spiritual nature of every individual kernel of popcorn." Your yoga teacher, your shaman, your forever-on-a-diet pal is waiting for some of this.
Should you take issue with the naming of The Best Caramel Corn Ever,
Matt is glad to explain that "you’d be confident too if you went through 84 different ingredient combinations and survived almost burning down your kitchen (true story) to find the perfect 15-step recipe." I don't think he was in my girlfriend's kitchen at the time..... I'm sure I'd have heard the screams, even 10 states away.
You can buy caramel corn or white cheddar corn
There is "the middle child of popcorn," Big Time Butter,
but my favorite is the Billion Dollar Popcorn.
Have you ever eaten gold? Have you ever spent $250 on a tin of popcorn? Berco's Popcorn gives you the chance to do both at the same time.
It's a gimmick, it's ridiculous, and it's delicious.
The stuff comes in 1, 2, and 6.5 gallon white tins, which can be reused for Leggo storage once the goodies are gone. Surely you know a family which would enjoy gourmet snacks for movie night on the couch... maybe even your own crew?
Once you've gotten to the bottom of the popcorn, butter and truffle oil coating your hands, what will you use to clean up? Debby Wright at Genoa Soaps has the answer. Our connection stretches back to the late 1970's and the generation above her; the reconnection has been sweet and wonderful... just like these soaps. (And if that's not the most awkward segue ever found in The Burrow......)
The soaps are environmentally friendly; Debby likes to talk about not polluting the groundwater with additives or tetracycline, which are part and parcel of most of the soap you find on the shelves. She has tea soaps and exfoliant soaps and seasonal soaps, like pumpkin soap
and they are all beautiful, just sitting in the soap dish.
She makes them in slabs, like this one for Cranberry
She sells bath soaks and massage oils (for $7.99) and fizzies, like these Ocean Rose balls.
I usually avoid these products, because the stench sticks to my skin and the walls of my bathroom for weeks after I've finished my bath. Debby addressed that issue, unsolicited:
The other thing I feel strongly about is not overloading the soap (or fizzy or bath soak or massage oil) with so much fragrance that it knocks you out when you walk into the room.Her email went on to recount being knocked over by the aroma emanating from one of the mall's purveyors of similar products. I had to laugh. TBG refuses to enter anyplace he can smell before he gets there. I think these soaps will be just the right combination of fragrance-at-the-time-but-not-forever.
So, two weeks into November, my expectation is that your list is completed and you've begun to fill in the slots with some wonderful gifts. After t-shirts and popcorn and soaps, we'll move on to hand-made goods on Friday. If you keep up with the plan, you are now only eighteen days away from being finished with your holiday shopping before December.
Are you impressed with yourself? I am!