Mindful Gifts for the Holiday Season

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Tis the Season To Be Mindful 

We thought of this great new book (about a girl who holds her family's gadgets hostage until they agree to start paying attention to each other again) as this month's newsletter unfolded. So many folks want the latest gadgets for the holidays, but what happens when those gadgets take over everyone's lives? Ella knows! And it isn't very nice.

Click here to check out one of our favorite new books of the year, Unplugged.

And... once you've decided to unplug, check out our favorite book of ideas for how to HAVE FUN while unplugged, Unplugged Play!



In an age of over-consumption, how does a company like Reach And Teach respond, when we also sell products? How do we reach out and ask people to buy from us when we know that one of the biggest problems facing our planet is over-consumption? Our answer is three-fold.

Craig and Derrick1. Don't buy just for the sake of buying! If you have someone to whom you want to say "I love you" during this holiday season, there are more ways to say it than buying stuff. Don't shop. These aren't the droids you're looking for... move along, move along. Click here to visit Good Neighbor Stories or click here to visit ShapingYouth.org.

2. But... if you are looking for something special for someone on your list, we'd love to help. We're offering a gift-advisor service, free, and you know that we do our very best to source all of our products from socially-responsible vendors, and there's a reason why each product in our shop is here. We'll share that reason because there should be a story to go along with any gift. Click here to use our gift advisor service and we'll tell you a story to go with each gift.

3. Give a gift that also helps transform the world. During our 25 Days of Transformation, we're pairing up products with organizations that are doing great things in the world and we're donating up to 50% of the purchase price of those products to those organizations. So far we've donated to Kids Can Make A Difference through sales of Ivy Homeless in San Francisco and we've donated to Girls for Gender Equity through sales of Girls Are Not Chicks to support their special project to provide relief to folks in Rockaway New York who had suffered losses due to Superstorm Sandy. And, from December 6th - 10th Reach And Teach will donate 50% of the sale price of The Thirty Day Peace Diet (a wonderful book) to the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center

AND... we're also having special days when all purchases through our web site and in our shop will go to support local organizations. December 14th will be Our Family Coalition (GLBTQ Family Support) Day and December 19th will be Peace Action San Mateo Day.  

A Few of Our Favorite Things

Each year we do like to share some of our favorite old and new products for that special someone in your life. We'll be brief so that we can share lots of choices. One picture to start off each section and then lots of links. Ready?

For the Baby/Toddler

Green ToysGreen Toys offer wonderful gifts for babies and toddlers. We love them because they are made from recycled milk jugs (BPA-free), manufactured in the Bay Area, and the company employs folks who would otherwise have a very difficult time in the job market. 

Click here to see all our Green Toys.

Dreamland is a beautiful CD of lullabies from around the world. It is by far one of our best-selling baby/toddler gifts. 

A Is for Activist is a brand-new A-Z board book by our good friend Inno Nagara. Parents will love it and the little ones will learn their A-Zs with a little rebel flair.

Pom Pom Rail Pull-Toy is from our friends at Maya Organics. We LOVE it.


Ages 3 to 6

Stacking BlocksOur Green Start series of puzzles, blocks and games, and BeginAgain wooden puzzles are wonderful for little ones with busy hands! Here are some of the best spots to hunt for some of our very favorite items:

Ages 7 and Up

Spot ItSpot It is BY FAR the absolute favorite game among the 7 and up crowd this year (including some 70-90 folks). 

Skallops is a great building kit with little doo-dads that help you create amazing things with playing cards. We love the "Made in Silicon Valley" label and the people who created, manufacture, and package Skallops.

Solar Robots are a huge hit as are Solar Rovers, by our friends at 4M in their Green Science series.

Gobblet Gobblers is absolutely addictive fun (in a good way).

Unplugged Play is our FAVORITE activity book of the season. You'll find hundreds of great ideas for things to do with children that don't involve electronics! 

Wonder Soil Sprout Houses are a great way to introduce children to growing their own food, starting right in their windows!

The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math will be loads of fun for the math-loving kid in your life (ages 9 and up). 

Or if you're youngster is more into science, The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science might just do the trick!

Tweens to TeensTweens and Teens

We've got a lot to offer the 9 to 16 year-olds in your life. Something special we recently discovered is this great book that teaches children how to get started on donating money to good causes. A Kid's Guide to Giving makes a fantastic holiday gift, especially if you tuck a few dollars into the convenient slot in the front of the book to help the kid get started! 

Here are some other recommendations for the Wonder Years.....

Dads and Other Guys (including Geeky guys and gals)

Geek DadGeek Dad is always a HUGE hit with, well.... you know...... Dads who are on the more geeky side. And, we've had quite a few moms who love it too.

Other favorites lately.......

The Official Fllthy Rich Handbook

Rad Dad

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Car Kit

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

Theory and Practice - Conversations with Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky

Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution (nonviolent revolution, in case you were wondering)

1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Transform Your Life

Breakfast with Buddha


For Women, Moms and Some Dads Do I Have To?

This book is a runaway hit among parents/moms/dads who want to learn how to better navigate the tough roads when children don't want to.... you name it! This is a fantastic how-to book from an amazing organization and a wonderful local friend. Check out Do I Have To?.

Other recent favorites for the women in our midst.....

For Everyone:

Good Neighbor StoriesReach and Teach in partnership with Good Neighbor Stories created this very special datebook featuring inspirational quotes and the stories of local heroes in the San Francisco Bay Area who are transforming the world for the better.

Please consider ordering a bunch of them while supply lasts! It's a perfect gift for that person in your life that still uses pencil and paper.

It's also a great way for you to journal on a daily basis your own ideas and resolutions to help make the world a better place. Click here to order.

The clock is ticking and it is my turn to get dinner on the table so...... I'm going to stop here and let you know that in addition to these recommendations, we can also help you find just the right thing for the following kinds of people:

So, if you need a little help finding just the right gift, click here to use our gift advisor service and let us know. We'll help! 

Thanks for being our partners in peacemaking! We wish you all a very happy holiday season and to let you know that there is, in fact, no "war on Christmas," we wish you a very Merry Christmas, Joyous Solstice, Happy Chanukah, Festive Kwanza, Happy Festivus (the holiday for the rest of us), and a Happy and Peaceful New Year! 

Green America approved