Holidays help us remember the small things that are important. Valentine’s Day offers a moment to stop and reflect on our love. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are times for parental appreciation. And the December holidays are all about expression affection through gift-giving.

When my children were young, we often made DIY gifts for teachers, neighbors, friends, and extended family. Within our family, however, we started a new tradition. In lieu of giving each other mountains of gifts, we chose give to the less fortunate.


The Giving Tree is a wonderful local program that connects people with those in need. Trees are decorated with paper ornaments that list the person’s name, age, and holiday gift wish. My daughters would read each heart-shaped ornament carefully to choose the person they connected with. We would buy the gifts, wrap them, and return them to be given to the recipients. How magical to get to make someone’s dreams come true?

Our traditions also revolve around planning and cooking meals together. This gives us the opportunity to appreciate our good fortune and each other’s company. I love hearing how other families have shifted from convention and embraced new traditions. There’s so many creative and inspirational ways to do so.

This adoption of new, less conventional traditions has showed me just how grand even the smallest gestures can be. During our first year in business, a local nonprofit that supports people living with HIV and their families approached us for soap donations. We were so moved by their work and story that we chopped up every single log of soap we had and loaded it into their truck.

The letters we received about the lives that were changed with these bars of soap has stuck with me over the years. It’s both heartbreaking and uplifting to realize how something as simple at the bar of soap can mean so much to someone. We continue to donate soap and other products to local organizations, such as The Living Room and COTS. This year, we invite you to join us. For every bar of soap you purchase, we’ll donate one to someone in need.

When I realized the power of a bar of soap, I felt energized–like I could do anything. Now you can, too.

December 03, 2019 — Deborah Burnes
Tags: Lifestyle