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From — December 14th, 2020
We look back on the crazy year that was 2020 and share what we want, what we love to give, and what we love to support this holiday season.
Do you really need another gift guide? Probably not, but being people of the variety with eyeballs, hearts, and legs we wanted to share a little bit about our team and a gift guide was a cool way to do that. It's been a wild year for everyone on planet earth, or "erf" as my 9-year-old would say, and yet I've seen some of the best of humanity this year despite the challenges. Giving and receiving gifts is a fun tradition in my family and on our team. Learn a little bit about us based on our gift ideas below.
I already have essentially everything I need in life, but this 12oz Camp Cup is one of my favorite objects. I bring it nearly everywhere with me. It keeps coffee perfectly hot, but not too hot for 25 years like some other brands. I like my coffee drinkable within a 2 hour period. Small cup. Black. Matte. Fucking cool. Get it.
I want to give Jeni’s Ice Cream Box. This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves Ice Cream. Wait, sorry, that’s all the good people on earth. If you have evil relatives they may not like ice cream and prefer things like dried marmite discs. Trust me this Jeni’s shit is gold.
I want to support my favorite charity GOAT. Great Outdoor Adventure Trips (for disadvantaged youth). This group supports outdoor life and training for kids who’d normally never have access to something that was super important in my own upbringing. You can donate here.
Something that makes me more active / reminds me to move around. I sit all day at my computer, watching this “dad bod” become more like a “Jabba-the-Hutt bod.” I’ve been really eyeing an overpriced Peloton but will probably just settle for an apple watch for fitness since I also need a reminder to not be late to zoom meetings on my wrist.
I’m the worst at gifts. Seriously. I once gave my brother a disco ball and still not sure why. What I’d love to give versus what I typically give are two different things, but recently I’ve been getting some joy out of putting together quarantined weekend getaways. You can find some killer deals in some obscure places right now if all you want to do is hike, watch movies, and sit around a fire pit.
Since my wife and I got together more than 10 years ago, we’ve participated in something called Fast Offerings, where we give up eating for most of a day – at least once per month – and give what we would’ve spent on those meals for our family to feeding and sheltering the poor. It’s a great way to make sure that we’re helping the people around us and to be grateful for what we have. We serve at local food banks or homeless shelters throughout the year when we can.
I love me some dry spikey plants that remind me of my feelings for bad emails. If you're also a cactus freak, this is a great gift.
I know the other Matt* based team members live in the South where BBQ is contested and debated like mad, but people need more Japanese in their lives and so I prefer this mad science of Japanese BBQ sauce. Makes for a hot little gift.
I love supporting my friends without mustaches. What better way than to give to the businesses that they run through Women Owned Logo.
I'm neck-deep in the little years with my wife and 4 amazing kiddos. With the prospect of soon being able to get back outdoors and adventuring, I'm dusting off all the old outdoors gear and replacing the equipment that's just too old for use. I'm hoping for some Burton Ruler Boa boots. I know I'm receiving an Anon Raider 3 snowboarding helmet because my family values my noggin. I'm pretty sure a long-term client is getting me a Giant Talon 4.
I love giving my time. The most valuable thing I have in life right now is my time and there are so many folks around me who could use it. I have friends and community members struggling to adapt their work and businesses to the trauma of a global pandemic. Truly giving time without expecting anything in return is a gift few people give and many people need. I've given my time to help pivot a catering business to an online meal delivery service. I've given my time to ideate on a personal finances startup being fueled by one person and a dream.
I'm eager to support local families in need and (as cliche as it may seem) Wikipedia. Lots of families around me could use supporting hands and help--especially with the amount of illness keeping us all distant. I'm impressed by the Million Meal Movement and a local nonprofit called Loaves and Fishes. You can also find me trying to spin up Take them a Meal for family and community members.
I have a passion for people being able to search for truth and information and I can't think of a better organization for self-education than Wikipedia. Check out exactly what the Wikimedia Foundation does.
To this day, this Nespresso is still the best gift I ever bought myself. I am a bit of a coffee fiend and drink about 4 cups a day, which you can imagine adds up quickly. However, this simple, wonderful, minimal effort, espresso machine makes all my mornings better. Whipped cream sold separately but 10/10 recommend you put some on top.
I am the best and the worst at giving presents. I love coming up with unique presents for everyone I love, but I also want to give them out right away! Patience may not be my strongest trait! This year, I’ve been gifting all my fellow dog mamas, the Furbo Dog Camera. I’m a crazy dog mom so I’m obviously obsessed with mine, and I feel so much better knowing I can see my pup and give him treats when he’s an extra good boi!
I’m supporting a wonderful adoption agency, Special Angels Adoption. This organization helps children with special needs find a loving, safe home with parents who have firsthand knowledge of how to care for these children. They also offer support services to both the birth parents and adoptive families.
Spending so much time in my house this year has made me reevaluate how much physical "stuff" I want to surround myself with. For retro gaming fans who also like to do some light hardware tinkering, you can set up a Raspberry Pi with RetroPie as a cheap and easy way to condense a huge game library down to one tiny device. Most controllers work with it, and there are tons of easy-to-follow guides online to get you set up.
This year, I've tried to buy as many Christmas gifts as I can from small makers. If you do a little hunting on Etsy and Instagram, there are mountains of ultra-talented artisans with great gift options. And if all else fails, getting gift cards to your favorite local restaurants and businesses is a great way to share hidden gems with friends and family.
Girls Make Games organizes camps to teach young girls the ropes of game development and increase representation in the historically male-centric games industry. I've worked with them in the past to help make prototypes from attendees into full-fledged, playable games, and it's an amazing thing to be a part of. Especially this year when they've had to pivot to digital teaching, any donations help a lot.
I'd really like to go for a vacation with my family just to wind down. A change of environment to reflect for the coming year instead of being stuck at home (which many of us are right now due to the pandemic).
I want to give this drying rack, especially for calligraphers! Love the workmanship. I'm all out to support our small local businesses here :)
I want to support the National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM). It was founded by a group of parents and professionals to help children or people with autism to reach their full potential and participate in their communities, because they can also lead a meaningful life with dignity. With more and more children having autism in recent years, I think it is important to support them so that they can carry out what they have envisioned to do.
If 2020 has reminded me of one thing, it’s this: family really really matters. Having not seen my brother, who lives in Sydney, and my sister who lives in Auckland for over a year, all I want for Christmas is a travel bubble!
I live on giving and receiving knowledge. I love sharing ideas, concepts and information with people in ways where the information truly sticks. I’ve had a year of doing this at Ausmed, and would love to continue to doing this forever.
I care deeply about the environment, and our animals. From the smallest insects to the largest beasts. COVID has been good and bad for our environment; reducing carbon, but increasing plastic usage.
When it comes to physical items, I’ve been in two modes this year: buying quirky things (like a Pac-Man suit) and minimizing by getting rid of or donating things I no longer need. With less “things,” I'm still a sucker for acoustic music and I miss going to live shows. So, I want to see more music performances.
I’ve been loving artist livestreams lately, like Young the Giant (a band I was fortunate enough to have seen in person three years ago), Ryan Cabrera (yes, that guy), and the documentary concert film folklore: the long pond studio sessions.
The performances are affordable, plus, I can watch them in comfy clothes and get some background on the stories behind the music.
I love to give advice. I host free workshops for freelancers, and recently I’ve been meeting virtually with people one-on-one who are unsure about their career or want to learn more about where to start with freelancing.
In the early days of my own freelancing, I asked people to meet for coffee or emailed them questions to learn from different perspectives. Talking to people was instrumental in making sure I had the resources I needed before I took the leap. I love paying it forward by listening to people, answering questions, writing recommendations, and sharing resources.
I love to support Give Kids the World Village, a nonprofit resort that works with wish-granting organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Village provides a free, week-long vacation for critically ill children and their families who want to visit Orlando, FL.
I volunteered at GKTW for 4 summers, and one of the most moving experiences is the Castle of Miracles. It's usually each family's first stop in the Village. The Wish child gets a gold star, writes his or her name on the star, and then drops the star into a tree stump. Then, the Castle fairy hangs up the star on the Castle ceiling, which stays there forever. Families usually come back to the Castle later that day and volunteers help them find the child’s star on the ceiling.
Sometimes Wish families from 5, 10, even 20+ years ago return to see their child's star. It might take the whole crew - employees, volunteers, a ladder, flashlight, craning necks - to find stars on the ceiling from years ago, but it’s an amazing experience for everyone.
GKTW temporarily shut down this year and has been hosting virtual events, so the organization could really use some support with donations.
Seriously, we benefit so much from being part of this community. Everyone on the RGE team still has full time jobs doing other things and creating this resource to make the world a little less spammy is a big piece of joy for us. Thank you for being part of that. We hope everyone's holiday season is filled with something that reminds you of the joys associated with being human. You do that for us.
Hugs and High Fives,
Matthew & the Really Good Emails team.
Back in the day when Profiles weren't a thing on RGE, we'd just save the URLs of our favorite emails in a Google Sheet. This is much more efficient.
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