The Dream Team's Holiday Gift Guide | Christen

I used to LOVE reading holiday gift guides, clicking around and finding amazing brands that I wouldn’t have otherwise found on my own. They can be so helpful and informative, especially when they are from bloggers that you trust and admire. But since growing a brand that is big enough to attract the attention of bloggers, influencers and the like, I have learned a lot more about what it takes to get onto these guides and it has left a bad taste in my mouth.  
Call me naïve but as a gift guide lover and connoisseur, I had assumed that the products being featured were a collection of favorite things from whichever blogger or influencer had put the guide together. Then, a few years ago, I began to receive requests to have Ten & Co featured in some of these guides. I was flattered and excited until I learned that these guides of "hand-picked" gifts, were in fact, paid sponsorships. Not only does this greatly diminish the authenticity of the content, but it also prevents many small businesses that have very cool products but very limited budgets from getting the exposure they so desperately need.
So this year, we have created our own gift guide that highlights truly fabulous companies and individuals, none of which have paid to be featured. In fact, none of these brands are even aware that they are in this gift guide. They are authentically our choices and we don’t earn a dime for promoting them, nor do I think we should. It is our hope that in showcasing these companies and products we will help to further the circle of entrepreneurship, sustainability and thoughtful consumption, and help you discover some amazing new companies and truly meaningful gifts.

Let's Get Into It!

For the Kids

Nugget | The Original Play Couch (US)

My dear friend Emma linked this on her stories the other day, and I was entranced! I know I can't be the only one that feels her sofa is slowly being destroyed by fort-making children?! This incredible little sofa is infinitely configurable, made up of 4 foam pieces made of sturdy Low-VOC CertiPUR foam and with a kid-friendly (read: washable) microfibre cover.

Nugget is made in the USA and prides itself on making their work environment as positive as possible with competitive pay, employer-paid health insurance and paid time off. They are SO popular right now, you have to enter a lottery to secure one!

Cushy Couch | New Canadian version launching soon (CANADA)

Cushy Couch is a new Canadian company getting ready to launch before Christmas. All of their products are made exclusively in Canada.

Green Kid Craft Kits and Subscription Box (Ages 2-10)

Mom, Founder and Environmental Scientist, Penn Bauder developed Green Kid Crafts in 2010 to help children exercise creativity, develop a love of creativity and learn about the world around them. She identified the massive amount of waste that can be generated by children crafting and wanted to come up with an eco-friendly solution that was not only fun for kids, but great for the planet. Each purchase equals a tree planted, 1% of sales are donated to environmental non-profits, they offset 100% of their carbon emissions produced by their business and create everything with sustainable materials. You can purchase kits individually or sign up for a monthly subscription that arrives filled with 4-6 educator-designed STEAM projects in every box!

Cara & Co. Kids DIY Wooden Rattle Kit and Craft Kits

I have followed Cara & Co.'s journey for a while but only recently made my first purchase for some deserving kidlets this Christmas. This company has the ultimate female dream team behind it and are the leading suppliers of food-grade silicone beads and craft supplies across North America. I have several close friends and family expecting second babies next year and I thought the wooden rattle kit would be the sweetest gift for the new big brother and/or sister to make something for their new sibling! The bead kits are also perfect for the littles in your life that love to create their own jewellery and are a great way to work on fine motor skills.

Bonus! Cara & Co. happened to catch me right before I posted this and offered an exclusive discount
code for you: TENANDCO20 for 20% off regular priced items (no kits), one per customer.

For the Baker

Carved wooden cookie molds or Engraved Rolling Pin (All Ages)

There is something about the current season we find ourselves in that has made me embrace being home and spending time with family. When I stumbled upon these beautiful pieces made by hand in Poland and Russia, both by female entrepreneurs with young kids, I knew I had to include them. Karolina of Goody Woody consists of a delicious Butter Cookie Recipe on each of her product pages, perfect for imprinting the most beautiful designs into holiday cookies, pies and more. Tatiana of Texturra Workshop engraves stunning gingerbread cookie molds to make stamped "Prianik" (filled gingerbread cookies). I am definitely going to try this with the kids this year and hope it can become a new holiday tradition!

A subscription to The Butter Book

UM, this is brilliant. A subscription service to a library of original baking how-to content shot and coordinated by world-renowned pastry chefs Sebastien Canonne and Jacquy Pfeiffer. Both Sebastien and Jacquy have been teaching the art of pastry for over 25 years and their courses are both fun and accessible to all skill levels. Thinking about finally trying out Sour Dough for the first time this winter or perfecting a homemade birthday cake? This could be the perfect gift! 

Eco-Friendly Japanese Cross Back Apron for Kids and Adults, by Lillicity

These beautiful aprons are crafted in Okanagan, BC, Canada, from OEKO-TEX Certified European Linen. Not just for the little or big chef in your family, but perfect for gardening or other chores around the house. A simple, practical design with ease of use and comfort in mind.

For the Athlete

B Mat Strong 6mm by B Yoga

This mat is a mat like no other. I promise you. My mom gifted me one of these beauties last year, and it is hands down the best mat I have ever done hot yoga, worked out, stretched or collapsed on. It's extra thick, providing a great cushion for more comfort and support during your workout or yoga practice. It's made of 100% rubber with natural and synthetic components, natural components for its antimicrobial properties and synthetic for its naturally grippy properties and ability to increase durability and longevity. These mats can easily last over 3 years with proper care and regular use. Female founded and Canadian based, this company is a winner.

Rest, Refocus, Recharge By Dr. Greg Wells

If you follow along with us on Instagram, you may have seen that I read this book a couple of months ago. It was fantastic, not only great for entrepreneurs but filled with great information for athletes. My athletic journey is up and down depending on workload, kids and life. In general, I consider myself an athlete and love to stay healthy and fit. This book was such a fantastic reminder to do exactly what the title says. Still, it also provided the jumping-off point for so much research I want to do. The benefits of cold water therapy (or merely finishing your morning shower with ice water), looking further into how intermittent fasting can clear your mind and sharpen your thoughts, were just a few of the nuggets that Wells touches on. It's an excellent book for almost anyone in your life, and I promise they are sure to find a few nuggets of wisdom for themselves.

DAUB + Design Activewear by Lexi Soukoreff

This stunning activewear was founded and designed by entrepreneur Lexi Soukoreff in 2010. She designs and hand-dyes sustainable fabrics for each of her garments. Each piece is one of a kind and can be worn by women of all ages to provide confidence and body positivity. DAUB wear is designed to stand the test of time and fit bodies of all different shapes and sizes. Body Positivity is one of Lexi's core values for the company. Each piece is hand-sewn in Vancouver, Canada, and all fabrics used in production are certified by OEKO-TEX Standards.

I hope you enjoyed part one of our honest gift guide! Stay tuned for the rest of the Dream Teams gift guide in the coming weeks! 

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