I name my readers. I’ve always done it. I have created semi-fictitious reader profiles that are amalgamations of people I know. I keep them in mind as I write, and I write as though I’m talking to them. I think about what they’d want to know, what questions they’d have, what would keep them reading.
This is why my writing ends up being rather conversational. I’m talking to Alex the Budget Conscious and Babs the Simplicity Focused and Dora the Green Newbie and Jonah the Deep Greenster.
I embraced my habit of reader profiling particularly as I was writing Soap & Soul. I kept my reader profiles handy to make sure I included topics and stories that each of them would like to read.
Gifts for My Readers
Now that the book is out, I think about each of them and hope they find the parts in the book meant for them. With that in mind, I’ve put together these ideas for gift bundles, based on the book, with pages bookmarked relevant to each interest, and building from there a fun basket of items that are right up their alley.
The truth of the matter is, these are all different people within myself as well. I am The Reader and The Gardener and The Animal Lover and more. In that same vein, all of the ideas below are bundles I would love to receive. I hope they help you put together gifts for loved ones in your life.
Basket 1: For the Story Lover
This is for the person who can be found each evening tucked into a favorite chair, lost to the world around them, traveling far and wide through the pages of a book. I was writing the chapter openings and narratives throughout Soap & Soul for them. These stories are what brought the book to life for me as I wrote it and what made the book much more than a collection of recipes.
Of all the stories I tell, I find The Kitchen chapter about my parents to be the most fun, and the Afterword about our family transitions to be the most poignant. I felt I had been given a precious gift when my family allowed me to tell our stories as I remember them, for as in every family, we each have different experiences with the same situations.
Ideas for The Reader’s Basket
- Soap & Soul
- Bookmarked to page 141: The Kitchen, the story of my parents.
- A cozy wrap
- Fuzzy socks
- Heatable rice bag
- A local artisan-made mug
- Fair Trade tea, coffee or cocoa
- Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Chocolate
Basket 2: For the Animal Lover
This is an easy basket for me to put together because I have always lived with furry friends. In The Backyard, I tell stories of my beloved black lab Tucker and his antics, from bringing us “gifts” to his joy of baths. Then there’s Sadie, our one-ear-up pup, the most dog-social dog I’ve ever known, who came to our house during my writing of the book. While she has settled into a young adulthood, her appearances in the book are all about the exuberance of puppyhood!
Ideas to put in The Animal Lover’s Basket:
- Soap & Soul
- Bookmarked to page 186: The Backyard
- Treats (Freeze-dried salmon bites are paws-down my bunch’s all-time favorite)
- Food & water bowls or Treat containers (I never buy nice ones for my pets. Would be nice to have stylish ones!)
- Sturdy & coordinating harness/leash/collar
- Coordinating apparel for human and animal (Yes, these exist!)
- Bow ties and Flowers that slide on to collars for dressy occasions! (I recently saw these! Super cute!)
- Journal for recording funny pet anecdotes
- Animal-lovers water bottle
- Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for bath time (Peppermint and Eucalyptus in my house)
- GIY* No-Chew Spray (The recipe’s in the book! 2/3 c. Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/3 c. white vinegar)
Basket 3: The Gardener’s Basket
I am an eager if not always tidy gardener. I rather garden in spurts. Fortunately, nature picks up my slack and keeps things going while I’m away. Gardening is therapeutic for me, digging my woes into the soil and watching them come up beautiful. I marvel at the magic of nature that produces beauty and sustenance out of thin air. It awes me every time.
I always return rested from time I’ve spent pruning and weeding and mulching and watering. Like I have synced with something larger than myself. I discuss this also in The Backyard chapter, which opens with the John Burroughs quote, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
Ideas to put in The Gardener’s Basket:
- Soap & Soul
- Bookmarked to page 193 (Garden Spray) or page 152 (Produce Wash)
- Trowel and pruner (My husband gave me sturdy ones that I’d never have bought myself, but am so glad to have!)
- Plant labeling stakes
- Spray bottle with recipe to make the Garden Spray
- Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap to make the Spray (I suggest Peppermint)
- Gardening apron
- Kneeling pad
- Journal for recording plant successes and failures as well as planting diagrams and schedules
- A sturdy harvesting basket (Mine is one of my favorite gifts I’ve received!)
Basket 4: The Pampering Personal Care Basket
While most days my morning personal care is all about getting it done, I so enjoy the days I can take my time, caring for more than the basics, soaking, exfoliating, moisturizing, breathing deep, relaxing. Remembering the simple but impactful steps of self-care. As I care for my physical body, my spirit unwinds as well. This is the whole intersection of external and internal.
This basket contains not only some tools for body care, but also the reminder and the permission to slow down and take some time for ourselves.
Ideas to put in The Personal Care Basket:
- Soap & Soul
- Bookmarked to page 45: Recipes and How-Tos for Body Care
- A homemade batch of GIY* Sugar Scrub (on page 56)
- A loofah or body brush
- Essential oils for personalizing all the GIY recipes
- Gloves and socks for overnight hand & feet treatments
- A lavender rice bag as a reminder to breathe deep and relax throughout the evening and night
- Dr. Bronner’s Castile (Almond is my favorite) or Organic Sugar Soap (I switch between the Peppermint or Lemongrass Lime)
- Dr. Bronner’s Arnica-Menthol Balm (Seriously, put this in there. You need one, too.)
- Dr. Bronner’s Hair Crème for deep hair conditioning and light leave-in styling
Basket 5: For the New Parent or New Baby
These are really two separate ideas because the needs of new babies are certainly NOT the needs of new parents! However, both groups need lots of extra love as they embark on their adventure together. And even if it is not the first baby for the parents, they need hefty doses of TLC. Thinking back on the arrival of each of my three, they were all different and I was different. With the first one, the focus was on the baby. With the second, I was suddenly outnumbered for most of the day and needed a little more support. With the third, baby and I were pretty evenly matched in our needs.
With my first duckling, I was a complete sucker for all that the marketing machine said I needed. Afterwards I realized that babies are pretty simple and don’t need a whole lot of products.
Ideas to put in The New Parent/New Baby Basket:
For the Baby
- Thin cotton “flour sack” blankets (I totally underappreciated the usefulness of these when I first received them. Get them)
- Cuddly stuffy
- Simple bright toy
- Board book (Guess How Much I Love You? is a personal favorite)
- Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soap in Unscented or Lavender
- Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Organic Magic Balm (I so wish this existed when mine were born!)
For the parent
- Slippers for late nights with baby
- A cozy blanket
- Gift cards for meal delivery/house care/yard care
- Personal vouchers for babysitting for a parents’ night out
- Tea (or something stronger)
- A bundle of the Dr. Bronner’s Magic Chocolate
- Dr. Bronner’s Lip Balm (My fav is the Orange Ginger)
- Dr. Bronner’s Hand Sanitizer
- Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner (This will clean all manner of messes!)
A running theme through the book is Green-It-Yourself, or the idea of taking control of what’s around you and personalizing products to your style or preference by making them yourself. These basket ideas absolutely BEG to be GIY-ed. What would you add???
- 15 Ideas for Consumable, Sustainable & Homemade Gifting
- Gift Tags for Gifting Dr. Bronner’s
- About my book, Soap & Soul
Sal Suds cleaner shows >60% biodegradation after 28 days per ISO 14593