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My guest today is Annie B. Bond and we’re going to give you a LOT of suggestions about things to give for holiday gifts that are toxic-free. Between us we have been giving toxic-free gifts for more than 50 holidays seasons, so we know all about this.. I met Annie many years ago when her publisher asked me to write the forward to her first book Clean and Green. Annie is the best-selling author of five books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment (Rodale Books, 2008), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010), and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World. She was named “the foremost expert on green living” by “Body & Soul” magazine (February, 2009). She has been the editor of a number of publications, including “The Green Guide.” Currently Annie leads the selection of toxic-free products for A True Find. www.anniebbond.com

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TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Great Toxic-Free Holiday Gifts

Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Annie B. Bond

Date of Broadcast: December 5, 2013

DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world because there are toxic chemicals all around us, in the air that we breathe, the water we drink, the food that we eat, and our consumer products, and even in our bodies that we’re carrying around toxic chemicals from past exposures that can be released and cause symptoms or illness at any time.

So what we talk about here is how to have a wonderful life, how to be productive, and happy, and healthy without toxic chemicals because it’s actually possible to do that. I’ve been doing that for many years.

My guest today has been doing that for many years.

Today is Thursday, December 5th, and we’re going to be talking about holiday gifts. Between us, my guest and I have been giving and receiving toxic free holiday gifts for over 50 years, so we have a lot of experience, and we’ve both written articles.

My guest today is Annie B. Bond, and she’s the author of many books including “Clean and Green,” “Better Basics for the Home,” “Home Enlightenment,” “True Food,” which actually won an award for being a wonderful cookbook. I don’t have it – the Gourmand Award’s Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World. And we’re going to have her on in January talking about that – but today we’re going to talk about Christmas gifts.

Hi, Annie.

ANNIE BOND: Hello. Hey, are you? Nice to be here again. Thank you so much.

DEBRA: Thank you. You’re welcome. I love having you on the show.

So you and I both have lots to say about Christmas gifts, but I thought we’d start out – before we start talking about what are some good toxic free gifts to choose, I want us to just talk about Christmas gifts in general, just a little bit, holiday gifts, I should say, to be politically correct, although I grew up calling them Christmas gifts.

And I know that I’ve gone through a big change about gift-giving and maybe you have too. So let me start, and then you tell me how you feel about gifts, and how this has changed over the years.

I think we both grew up in our consumer society where Christmas is about giving gifts, and other winter holidays are about giving gifts. And it’s a really big thing. And I know that even though gift-giving wasn’t the origin of this holiday, these holidays, gift-giving has become so predominant in our consumer culture that for most people the holidays are about giving gifts.

In my house, we had – it was such a thing that everything that my brother and I needed, my mother would wait until Christmas so that she could wrap it up, and that there would be lots of presents under the tree. And I remember one year we went to a ski lodge for Christmas, and we rented a condo for a few days, my family.

This was a big deal because we never did this, and we got to go skiing.

But we had to take all the Christmas presents with us, and we put them all in the car, and we took them out and put them in the condo. They were all over the floor of the condo. And we could not walk because there were so many Christmas presents.

It would take us hours. We would open the presents one by one, going around from my brother first because he was the youngest, then me, then my mom, and then my father. And it would take us four or five hours to open our presents.

So that’s really – and in my ex-husband’s family too, there were six brothers and sisters, and we were all opening the presents one by one. It took all day.

And so I think that giving gifts is great, but my idea of the holidays and my idea of gift-giving is totally different than it used to be. I don’t have a lot of attention right now on making my list and checking it twice, and figuring out what I have to buy all these different people in order to give gifts because my idea about the holidays now is to celebrate the holidays and the goodwill, and to make natural sweetener, gluten-free cookies for my friends, and things like that rather than what am I going to go buy?

And we’re going to be talking about –

ANNIE BOND: That’s a really nice shift of celebrating the holidays. I like that a lot.

DEBRA: I like it too. And this here, particularly, I’m singing with the choir, and we’re doing a lot of performances. We’re going caroling around the community, and so I’m going to be spending a lot of my time singing this year.

And I consider all of that to be a gift, and it’s seen as spending time with people that I love and my friends. It’s more about those intangible things than it is about having something in a box. It’s not about a physical thing anymore.

Not that I don’t want people giving me gifts, or that I don’t want to give gifts, but gifts have a different meaning to them.
I just want to tell a story about last year. A friend of mine, I said to him, “Don’t give me any gifts. I’m not going to give you a gift. Don’t give me a gift.”

And near Christmas time, I came home one night and there was a bag, a whole bag of gifts sitting on my back porch. And he gave me a gift. But as I opened them one by one, each one of them was meaningful to our friendship. They were about things that we had done together, or things that we had talked about like both of us are gluten-free, and he gave me a box of his favorite gluten-free shake and back, I don’t know what that’s called generically, that you can put a coating that you would put on your chicken or something that he really enjoyed eating, that he knew that I would enjoy eating.

And we had talked about social media. He gave me a book about social media.

It was so meaningful that it wasn’t about consumerism. It was about the meaning of our friendship. I totally loved getting that gift.

ANNIE BOND: I can only imagine. That’s a very nice one.

For me, as the years go on, what really, really – I grew up in New Hampshire. I grew up in a town that was like this [inaudible 00:07:42] where you have the big horses, the sleigh [inaudible 00:07:45] and the snow. So for us, we grew up on skis, and so for us, Christmas – and I also celebrate Christmases as I was growing up, and it was always about snow and skiing and whether or not I got my stretch pants or my skis, or that kind of thing for Christmas.

That was our focus, which was really nice. And we lived in a very rural, beautiful area.

For me, I think I get more and more interested in the winter solstice, and I get more and more interest in the beauty of the time of year, and the beauty of these wax candles and light, and getting some [inaudible 00:08:22] in the woods because I live in the woods. And just making it a spectacularly beautiful time because then that immediately gets you into the mood of really deep appreciation about nature and things like that.

So that’s where I find myself gravitating. I’ll always love being Santa Claus, but I completely agree with you that it’s not like, oh, I’m going to go buy, buy, buy. It’s like how can I be the most thoughtful for this person?

And so I really, really agree with you.

DEBRA: Exactly. And I celebrate winter solstice too. I have for many years because there was a time when I just wanted to get away from all that consumer anxiety about giving gifts, and I said, “There must be something else.”

And there is. Since time in memorial, people have been celebrating the return of the light of the sun, and it’s giving life back to the earth, that things start growing again. And the whole thing about winter solstice is just about continuing the light of the life, the light of the sun through the darkest days.

And so the whole thing about lighting candles – also, one of the original gifts that when people are celebrating winter solstice on a regular basis, the same way that we celebrate Christmas now, they would give each other gifts but of course, there was no industrialism then. And so they would give each other gifts of nature. And what they give each other were things like evergreen twigs, and dried fruits because those were – the evergreen trees represented that life was continuing even though the sun, the days were dark. And that the dried fruits were nourishment through that time when there wasn’t much light.

And I think that that’s really where gift-giving began. So I like to give evergreen twigs and dried fruits just for that reason.

ANNIE BOND: That’s very nice. For some reason, when you were saying that I don’t know why I went there here but one thing I always will put as a stocking stuffer, for example, would be – it’s my way of [inaudible 00:10:30]. I’ll put in the 2000 – the years [inaudible 00:10:34]. So this year [inaudible 00:10:36] 2014.

So those things actually will have an impact on their lives. And because I am who I am, I know about it, and that’s a gift.

DEBRA: Yes that is a gift.

We need to go to break. We’re talking about gifts today.

This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and my guest is Annie B. Bond, and we have lots to talk more about toxic free gifts. So stay with us.

= COMMERCIAL BREAK =

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and today I have as my guest, my friend, Annie B. Bond. And we’re talking about toxic free Christmas gifts, or holiday gifts because we have so much experience with them.

The next thing I want to do is I want to read a definition of generosity because I think that generosity is what the holiday season is about. And I just love this definition.

Generosity is the readiness and willingness to give of one’s self and one’s resources to benefit others, and to give liberally, freely, abundantly, plentifully and joyfully. It is the natural outpouring of a feeling of being full to overflowing with abundance, with a confidence that there is always enough in this world for all.

Isn’t that beautiful?

ANNIE BOND: Lovely.

DEBRA: I think that we both have similar ideas about Christmas gifts. They have fallen to several categories. And the first one that I always think of is how to give a gift that isn’t physical. And why don’t you give us some ideas about that, Annie?

ANNIE BOND: Those are wonderful. For example, my daughter loved musical theater, and was in all these musical theater products in high school and everything. And so a gift for her to go with her day to New York, and go to a show, is just about the best present anybody could ever give.

So that’s a supreme example. That’s a really special present because the shows are expensive in New York and all that kind of thing. So that’s a great gift. That’s a good idea.

DEBRA: Give us some other ideas of things that you’ve given, or received.

ANNIE BOND: Another one would be my mother was a wonderful birder. And she just was crazy about birds. And so I would often gift her a gift that was to a – to Autobahn or something like that, for her to get the magazines and that sort of thing. It was a gift – that’s not quite this category, but it’s a service or similar thing. It’s a gift and it’s a gift for the earth too.
It’s a gift that gives a gift which is a little bit of a different category, but that’s a good example.

DEBRA: That is a good example, yes.

So an example – here’s another example that actually I gave to somebody not as a holiday gift, but just as a gift. And that was that – one of the things that I recommend is for people to take Pure Body Liquid Zeolite because it removes toxic chemicals from their bodies.

I knew that she wanted to get some but that she couldn’t really afford it right then. And so I gave her not only a bottle as a gift, but what I did was I signed her up as a member, so that if she recommended it to other people, then she could get a commission. And there was a fee for that, a small fee for that, but in addition to giving her what she wanted in the physical way, I also gave her that extra thing of her being able to make some money by doing it.

ANNIE BOND: That’s very, very nice.

Another idea that somebody did for my mother which I thought was wonderful – I guess it’s not surprising I keep thinking of my mother. I think the most important for me because she was such a big part of it.

A friend of hers was a wonderful bread baker, and for her Christmas, she gave my mother a weekly loaf of bread for the next six months.

DEBRA: Isn’t that wonderful?

ANNIE BOND: And I thought that was such a lovely gift.

DEBRA: And so other things are things where you can give of yourself, so there’s no cost involved. This is a way that we can all do something whether we have any money or not, especially in hard economic times.

One thing that you could do is give somebody a massage. You don’t have to be a professional massage therapist to rub shoulders and hands and feet, and just spend time with somebody. But you could also fix them a special meal like breakfast in bed on a Sunday morning, or a special meal for the holidays.

One thing that I really like is to make a coupon book because that’s also something that you can wrap up, and they could open, and you give them a coupon for washing the dishes, or for a hug, or whatever. Whatever it is that you can do for them that they can present a coupon and have you do it for them one day at a time. And I think that’s a wonderful gift. I like that.

I’d like someone to give me that.

ANNIE BOND: That’s a wonderful idea. Another one would be to collect all the family recipes and package it together for everybody. That’s a nice thing.

One of the gifts that I’ve been wanting to give to my extended family, and I will be doing – I don’t think I’ll do it this year, but probably next – my mother wrote some children’s books at the end of her life. And so I was the person that ended up getting all of her papers, and I was going to put them all together in a really nice way –

DEBRA: How wonderful.

ANNIE BOND: – and present to all of her children and grandchildren. That’s sort of a nice legacy. She had some interesting – she had a lot of money. Her family, they lost it all in the crash in 1929, and went from complete riches to rags. And so she wrote these children’s story called Riches to Rags.

It just would be a wonderful thing to give. And thinking of even maybe posthumously, I might try to reach out to a publisher and see if I can get it published for her.

DEBRA: Wouldn’t that be nice for your family?

ANNIE BOND: [inaudible 00:19:27] for my family, yes, exactly.

DEBRA: What a good idea. So another thing that you could do is – especially nowadays when everybody is always so busy with everything, is to just spend some time with someone. I know someone that I’d like to have spent some time with me. The gift is just to be there with them.

Maybe go on a picnic, although it’s cold in some places to do that. We could go on a picnic here in Florida.

But just spend an hour talking or whatever that other person wants to do. Just say, “Here’s my time. I care about you. I want to be with you.”

ANNIE BOND: That’s very nice because we don’t have enough time for each other. I like that a lot.

DEBRA: I like that too.

ANNIE BOND: Another idea is plants.

My father gave me two plants – he died in 1986, so it’s probably 1984. I still have them. They’re just one beautiful color, [inaudible 00:20:19] orange plant, Schefflera. Here it is, how many years later. I always know these were his gifts to me.

So I planted a grapefruit seed when one of my nephews was born. I kept it for years and then finally gave it to him.

There are some fun things you can do like that too.

DEBRA: There are just so many things.

We need to go to break in another few minutes, but there are just so many things that you can do when you start thinking about it that again, they don’t cost any money. For example, if somebody has been trying to find a particular thing that they don’t have time to do go shopping for or look for it, even if you just go locate it for them and say, “Here, you can go to this website.” That’s a gift in itself, just anything that you can give of yourself is a really wonderful thing.

ANNIE BOND: That’s a nice idea.

DEBRA: Be creative.

So we’ll be back after the break. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and Annie B. Bond and I are talking about toxic free gifts. So come back after the break, stay with us, and we’ll have more.

= COMMERCIAL BREAK =

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and we’re talking today about toxic free gifts with my guest, Annie B. Bond, author of many books about living toxic free, including Clean and Green, Better Basics for the Home, and Home Enlightenment.

So Annie, let’s talk now about choosing gifts that are toxic free. Before we talk about specific gifts, the first thing I want to say is that I think that giving of gifts is a wonderful way to introduce people that you care about to the whole idea of toxic free living.

I remember many, many years ago when I first started becoming aware of toxic chemicals in consumer products that I started – and this was at a time when there wasn’t much organic food available. But there were some organic oranges, and I bought them and I ate them, and I had one of those “oh, my god” experiences of realizing what an orange actually tastes like because when you buy oranges in the supermarket, they’re usually full of fungicides. And that fungicide flavor is what I thought an orange was.

And then I tasted an organic orange, and it was so dramatic.

And so I gave everybody organic oranges that years.

ANNIE BOND: That’s a great gift. Well, I was thinking about food because these are – we eat food anyway. And so it’s not a gift that’s going to be superfluous in any way.

DEBRA: You can also explain that it’s organic and why that’s important.

ANNIE BOND: Do that and educate, and then give them a taste thrill.

DEBRA: It is a taste thrill, to eat organic food.

ANNIE BOND: Yes, exactly. And so I think that’s a wonderful idea.

One of my sisters grows a lot of cucumbers and pickles. And we look forward to her pickles every Christmas. It’s a wonderful, wonderful gift. It absolutely is.

DEBRA: Yes. I think it’s always appreciated, and it’s not going to end up in the landfill. And nobody’s going to say, “Ew, I don’t like those.”

ANNIE BOND: Exactly. And the other thing, even around the – again, for stocking stuffers and things like that, I tend to give things that I know – my ex-husband, even though [inaudible 00:28:44] for all those years, after we got divorced, he started buying this hand soap, liquid hand soap, that had [inaudible 00:28:51] and things like that in it, the disinfectants and antimicrobial. So I always give him this wonderful lemon grass hand pump, dish soap, hand soap, just because I know he’ll use it because he’s not going to throw it away, and then he’ll start thinking, “Oh, my gosh. I guess I should go back to that kind of thing.”

That’s a nice gift. It’s very generous to give people non-toxic things that replace something more toxic that they had been using. And I like doing that a lot.

DEBRA: I do too because it gives them a taste, so to speak, of what it’s like and what the difference is. And I think that for me, before I started using toxic free products, I didn’t have any idea of what organic food was, or what a natural cleaning product might be. And I thought, “Well, maybe that doesn’t work so well as my toxic things.” Or it doesn’t taste as good.

For many years, I held onto this toxic, red lipstick because I loved the way it looked, and I wouldn’t even go look at natural cosmetics.

But then, once I did and actually saw it, then I totally love all these natural products, and all these organic products. They just are so comfortable for me and so enjoyable to use and so beautiful that if people aren’t going and looking for them, what we can do is that we can bring those choices to them and inspire them.

ANNIE BOND: But a really nice, non-toxic make-up would be a wonderful gift for a sister for example, or something. I really agree. I think that’s a very nice idea.

DEBRA: Yes, I love that too. And even things like that – I love to get cotton flannel sheets for my dad, or things that people are going to be using anyway, and that the gift that you’re giving them something that is exceptional –

ANNIE BOND: Absolutely. Or wonderful cotton dishtowels and napkins. I haven’t had a paper napkin in my house in so many years, 30 years or something like that.

DEBRA: Me too.

ANNIE BOND: A gift of beautiful linen or cotton napkins, to me, it’s a treasure. I have this huge napkin drawer.

DEBRA: I do too.

ANNIE BOND: That kind of gift is wonderful because then it gives a little bit of a Hampton – it’s so beautiful, wonderful to use these things, so why would anybody ever return back? It’s an inspiring gift, I think.

DEBRA: It is an inspiring gift. When I think about – I like to have things that are beautiful in my home, not just ordinary, but beautiful. And some things cost more, sometimes they don’t cost more, but I’m even thinking about things like cotton napkins, where you can buy a cotton napkin for a dollar, but you can also buy a cotton napkin for $10 that’s really beautiful. It makes you have that beauty experience. But a $10 gift is not an expensive gift.

And it’s something that can be re-used. It can be re-used every day. It reminds the person you gave it to that you gave them this gift, and it brings a natural and beautiful experience into their life by doing that. And also saves a lot of trees.

So I like figuring out what are these gifts that have multiple benefits.

ANNIE BOND: Yes, I completely agree. It’s a little harder with a teenager, and things like that because they have their list of things that they like.

Even for them, for example, with my daughter, giving her a ticket to – even though she’s no longer a teenager, she’s close enough that – but that’s the ticket to the shows would be a great thing. Or giving them music that they would listen to anyway.

DEBRA: Yes. I think that’s always appreciated.

Let’s see, what else can we talk about?

I know what I wanted to mention. Anything that anybody on your gift list wants is probably available in a non-toxic form. And if you go to DebrasList.com, you can just spend hours on DebrasList.com, that’s my directory of toxic free products. You can go to all those websites and see all those wonderful toxic free products.

You have a lot to choose from that you’re not limited to what’s sold in your local chain stores. You can go online and you can find these wonderful toxic free products, and give those, and help support those small businesses that are offering these products that need to have your sales in order to stay in business.

So that’s something else that can be done. That’s DebrasList.com.

ANNIE BOND: Yes, absolutely. I was just thinking I have a friend who does have everything, just about she could possibly ever want. Then it comes to the gift that’s not a real gift. So what I did with her is I invited – she’s recently got re-married, and there’s a special retreat center near me. They had a really interesting sustainability week, and they’re both in the sustainability field.

And so I invited them to this place for a dinner with me. It’s very rustic. And so, camp style, you get in the line to get your food and everything. This is an enormously wealthy group. But it was so interesting, and then there was a great performance that night that was unique.

They had an absolutely wonderful time, and I felt like, “Oh, my gosh. I could entertain them [inaudible 00:34:34].” And that was a great gift.

DEBRA: I think so too. I love things like that.

We’re going to take another break, and we’ll be back with Annie B. Bond. We’re talking about toxic free holiday gifts. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd, and this is Toxic Free Talk Radio. So stay with us.

= COMMERCIAL BREAK =

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. Both Annie and I are clearing our throats today. And you’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio with my guest, Annie B. Bond. We’re talking about toxic free holiday gifts.

Annie, we’ve talked about so many material things. I would like to get back to what you mentioned earlier about celebrating winter solstice because that’s something that I’ve done for many years too.

The whole winter time at this time, there are so many holidays, and if you go back in history, every culture has had a holiday at this time. And when you’re – I figured out that all the holidays have five things in common.

One is being generous people with people who can truly benefit from our gifts. Another is to express love in ways other than material goods. A third is to celebrate the spiritual and social meanings of the holiday which I think that we often forget whatever the root is of the holiday that we celebrate from whatever our social orientation is. Then there’s something behind it besides consumerism. Promoting peace is a big subject, and spending time with loved ones.

And regardless of the holiday that we celebrate, those five things could be incorporated to make our holidays more meaningful.

So I’d like to know, what are you doing this year to celebrate winter solstice? I always do different things.

ANNIE BOND: For me, it’s more about the – well, one year I had an incredible time. I went down to New York. I like Upstate New York, and I went into New York to Saint John the Divine, and they had this amazing Mickey Hart Drumming Solstice even that was just an absolute spectacular thing.

That was beautiful. I don’t think I could do anything that would come up with that.

For me, it’s more about the light and the candles. I have had – I live in the woods, and I have an outdoor fireplace, and I often had fires at night and just sat out there. I had friends over, had mulled cider or whatever, mulled wine, had cider. If it’s warm enough, sat up by the fire.

That’s a really nice thing to do too.

What about you? What do you do because I know you’re more experienced with it.

I tend to be more about the decorations and the candles, [inaudible 00:41:08].

DEBRA: Well, it’s evolved over the years. It’s different every year. Sometimes it’s just a simple observance. I usually get a tree, an evergreen tree, and I don’t put ornaments on it. I just put lights on it because to me, the lights are the light of the spirit of life. And I put a star on the top.

When I used to live out in the woods in California, I lived in a small, rural community, where by the time it got to be this time of year, we’d already had a number of storms because it was right off the Pacific Ocean. And living in the forest, you end up with a lot of forest debris on the ground.

And we would just go around and pile up all kinds of fallen branches and take them to the community center. And we would have a day where we all got together, and made wreaths. I’ve learned how to make wreaths.

ANNIE BOND: That’s very nice.

DEBRA: And then as you would drive around in this community, in this little village, you would see the doors, everybody had their handmade wreaths that we had all made together hanging on their doors.

And I just loved that. I totally loved that.

ANNIE BOND: That is really, really nice. That’s some of the nicest things I’ve heard. I think that’s a lovely idea.

DEBRA: Thank you. The whole thing about the origin of the wreath is the circle of life. It’s showing that at this point where the sun is now the shortest day it’s remembering that the whole circle of life starts again.

And so all of these winter solstice traditions are all revolved around – you might have heard of the yule log. The whole idea of the yule log is to keep the light of the sun burning all night on the darkest night.

I don’t have a fireplace –

ANNIE BOND: My father was always bringing yule log. That was always so nice that he even thought of it. That was just awesome.

DEBRA: Sometimes it’s very quiet, and I just am by myself. And sometimes I’ve had big parties. And this year, I’m actually doing – I’m going to three parties. One in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.

ANNIE BOND: That’s wonderful.

DEBRA: In the morning, I’ve mentioned before that I’m a member of Toast Masters, and we’re having our Toast Masters’ meeting that morning because there’s a conflict at our regular meeting time. But our theme for the meeting is going to be winter solstice, and I’m the Toast Master, so I get to talk about winter solstice.

And then in the afternoon, I’m going to a permaculture party. And again, I’ve been asked to speak about winter solstice, and we’re going to be talking about how Stonehenge is a marker of the winter solstice day. And we’re thinking about how we could build a little Stonehenge in this woman’s yard so that it will line up with the sun that day.

ANNIE BOND: Nice.

DEBRA: Yes, and then in the evening, I’m going to just a regular Christmas party, but it has a little open mic event as part of it. And I’ve already told them that I’m going to sing my winter solstice songs because for years –

ANNIE BOND: That’s very good.

DEBRA: For years, I’ve been taking regular Christmas carols and re-writing the words. I have a whole [inaudible 00:44:22] of winter solstice songs now.

ANNIE BOND: Those are wonderful ideas. When you were mentioning about Stonehenge, most people don’t know this, but I did a sound healing week with a teacher in Vermont a number of years ago. And we went around to all the sacred sites in Vermont, of which are many.

DEBRA: I didn’t know there were any in Vermont.

ANNIE BOND: We went deep into the woods and found places where – on the winter solstice, the sun comes right through to where the stones are put. I have pictures of this teacher and people – they’re in the [inaudible 00:45:01] of winter right there on the 21st of December as the sun comes through these places.

It was absolutely mind-blowing that that existed up there. I was so blown away.

DEBRA: Well, one thing that I’ve been doing for years is where I sit, as I’m sitting right where I work and do this show at home. I face – the window faces east. And so the sun comes up every morning right through my window. And so I can see it over the course of the year moving across the horizon because out in different parts of my window.

And so I have a mark on my window where it comes up for winter solstice.

I have this dream that if I ever re-model this room, I’m going to put a little space right there so that on winter solstice, the sun is going to shine its light through the window.

ANNIE BOND: What a nice idea. That’s very nice. I like that. I like that a lot.

And of course, the other thing that we haven’t really talked about but which is certainly of huge value at this time of the year is doing things for others in the community. You started touching on it when you said I can give – this person I can go see them. We may have friends that are housebound or what have you, and to make that extra effort to help – to see what you can do to help them, or to work in your community helping the homeless or whatever. That’s just a – there’s a huge, cold [inaudible 00:46:28] coming across the country right now. And I just saw somebody post on Facebook for $20 you can buy these sleeping bags that you can give out in cities, to the people – they’ll have a place to go.

There are lots of things like that.

I always recommend people just do what resonates to them. It’s not like, “I have to go do this.”

It’s like, “What do you want to do?”

Maybe you want to work in a soup kitchen. Maybe you want to buy a bunch of sleeping bags. Whatever works for you is really always the best thing,

I think.

DEBRA: I think so too. And I always try to keep in mind that this really is a season of giving even though people like to receive gifts. But it’s really about me feeling thankful for the abundance of my life, and feeling like I want to be – well, I give all year in a lot of ways.

But really, at this season, it is about giving. And so, it’s like where is there something that’s needed. What do I have to go give?

For me, singing this year, as I mentioned before, is a big thing. And right here in my community, we don’t a lot of people who are going out caroling and bringing that Christmas cheer, wearing our deacon’s costumes and all those things.

We’re going to go out and sing, and people are going to smile. And that’s bringing happiness to our community.

It can be as simple as that.

ANNIE BOND: That will definitely do. I just had another thought that I think would be a fun thing to plan for future years. We all know that climate change is going to be really tough on agriculture.

And so if you garden, you can start saving your seeds and then give those seeds to people for holiday gifts which would be a really wonderful gift.

DEBRA: Absolutely. And seedlings too, if you’re planting seedlings.

ANNIE BOND: Absolutely.

DEBRA: Annie, we only have about a minute left. It goes by so fast. So is there anything else that you’d like to add that you haven’t said?

ANNIE BOND: I think it’s really about – every time you start going into your head about Christmas like, “Oh, my god. I got to do this. I got to buy that.” Just go into your heart instead and what’s meaningful here? What would make a difference?

And then I just go in the right – it helps you go in the right direction.

DEBRA: I think so too.

ANNIE BOND: I think that would be one way.

DEBRA: Well, thank you so much for being with me, Annie. And we’ll have you back in January, and we’ll talk about True Food, your book, True Food.

I just want to remind everybody that you can go to DebrasList.com, or you can just go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com and go up to the top of the page and then the navigation bar, it says “shop” and you can go to there to find all kinds of toxic free products for everybody in your family, everybody you know, whatever.

If you’re looking for anything from a bar of beautiful, handmade soap, to clothing, to water filter, anything that you’re looking for to give for gifts, you’re probably going to find the toxic free version on Debra’s List. And you’ll also get a lot of good ideas.

You can also give people a couple of my book, Toxic Free, which will help them understand how to remove toxic chemicals from their homes and their bodies.

Just so much. There’s so much out there. So look for things that are toxic free, and give them, and enjoy the holidays.

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