I was compensated for my time writing this post by MayaMam Weavers.
The Holiday Season is about so much more than frantic shopping and gift giving. I was reflecting on this last month and came to the conclusion that I actually prefer Thanksgiving to Christmas because it isn’t so fixated on commercialism. If done correctly, it is about the simple, life giving work of making and serving. We gather ’round to give thanks and catch up. We stuff ourselves full of food that took hours upon hours to prepare, then settle in for a nap or an afternoon walk. We enjoy simple comforts and small reminders of why living is good.
When I considered gift guides for this Holiday season, I tried to strike a balance between offering useful shopping resources and creating something rooted in meaning and human connection.
Our gifts should be an outpouring of the abundant thankfulness in our hearts, not a wasteful exercise.
With that in mind, I’m prioritizing the work of artisans who work in ancient handicrafts, like weaving, and contemporary companies that value the individuality of handwork. I’ve become enamored with artisan work this year because it gives me great comfort to see beauty in human hearts and hands when there’s so much ugliness in the world.
Today, I’m offering two mini-guides featuring the work of MayaMam Weavers…
Brocaded Pillows, $195
Potholder Gift Set, $22
FOR HER (& HIM)
Blues Border Wrap, $44
Lightweight, multi season with hand tied fringe
Rolltop Backpack in Caramel, $125
Handwoven cotton canvas with water bottle pocket and front zip pocket.
Champagne and Pearls Scarf, $25
Hand woven with hand braided fringe
Stormy Blues Unisex Toiletry Bag, $42
Lined in waterproof ripstop nylon with suspender style tie-downs.
About MayaMam Weavers
Poverty and lack of infrastructure in the Mayan town of Cajolá in the western highlands of Guatemala have required more than 30% of the population to relocate to the United States. Founder, Caryn Maxim, met a small group of native Cajolans while volunteering in her hometown of Morristown, New Jersey. The relationship they formed with one another led her to go with them when they returned to Cajolá. They decided to partner together to create living wage jobs, particularly for women who were already fluent in the art of backstrap and footloom weaving.
The artisans are Maya from the Mam ethnic group, thus the name, MayaMam. Artisans have a say in compensation standards, have access to educational and vocational training, and are largely responsible for the design and running of the business. Caryn and the US team ensure that designs are marketable to US consumers and manage sales stateside. MayaMam is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.
Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.