A Political Guide to Gifting in 2019

Give the gift of hope!

Hope. It's the platform Obama ran on in 2008, and it worked. America danced in the streets – quite literally – when we elected our first black president that November. Now, after nearly four years of peak insanity in the White House, not to mention ongoing conservative control over Texas, hope is again sparkling on the horizon. Be it the November 2020 elections (may we flip the Texas House and the white one in D.C.) or Gen Z's earnest commitment to combating climate change, many of us are daring to not only hope, but fight. So this holiday season, forget the neckties, the candles, and the tacky popcorn tins. Let's gift with a purpose!

Save the Planet, One Gift at a Time

Maybe reusable straws won't really save the world, but at this point no effort seems too small, so consider gifting the environmentalists in your life – or, on the flip side, that one aunt who can't seem to quit bottled water – a few gifts that keep on giving.

Carbon Offsets: Everything we do, from driving to texting, requires energy and therefore impacts the planet negatively, so give the gift of countering our carbon footprints. Offsets work as cash donations to projects seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the globe. Terrapass offers gift cards (starting at $4.99 per 1,000 pounds carbon offset) and a Festive Bundle (10,000 pounds, complete with a holiday certificate, for $49.89).

Silicone Straws: The perfect stocking stuffer that'll cheer up both the receiver and the shoreline. Food52.com has our favorites ($25 per pack with cleaning tools and traveling cases).

Reusable Water Bottles: You can never have too many water bottles. For the athlete or hiker in your life, snag 'em an insulated Hydro Flask ($29.95-64.95), while S'well ($25-45) and a couple of cheap Target knockoffs ($5.99-8.99) make for easy drinking.

Cloth Produce Bags: For the person who's mastered remembering their reusable grocery totes, dare them to step it up a notch with these produce bags that won't leave the kitchen covered in small, difficult-to-reuse scraps of plastic. Try Flip & Tumble's set of five mesh bags for $13.

Let's Flip This Sh*t!

The effort to turn Texas a nice cerulean is well underway, and if the state turns, that means our 38 electoral votes could end up in the hands of the Dems' presidential nominee. (Dream big or go home, right?) So give the gift of a Blue Christmas.

A pre-holiday night on the town that gives back to the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee – the group chaired by Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, working to flip the House. On Tuesday, Dec. 10, THDCC is uniting with local rock band the Black Angels for a Ballot Is Set Party at the Belmont. Tickets are $50, and proceeds go to the campaign.

Texas – or Travis County – Democratic Party merch is the perfect present for the die-hard Dems in your life. Whether it's a rainbow RESIST tee from TDP ($30) or a "Vote Like You Give a Dem" mug from TCDP ($12), the receiver will wear it (or drink from it) with Pride, while you've helped fund the party's work statewide.

Self-Care for the Holidays

While we may dare to hope, it's still a long road through election season, and it seems everyone has a Trump-supporting uncle. For those already gritting their teeth before a homeward-bound holiday, gift them some sanity-keeping staples.

Ear Plugs: You laugh, but anyone who's had to listen to Great-Aunt Margaret go off on Hillary's emails or how immigrants are "stealing" our jobs knows just how clutch this present could be. For classy options, try Happy Ears ($11.50), or visit your local Walgreens for the basics.

CBD Gummies: They look like gummy vitamins – or candy – and they'll help take the edge off of any uncomfortable family dramas over dinner. We're particularly smitten with Lord Jones' gummies ($45-60) cuz they taste as good as they look, but there's no shortage of options, according to our Food Editor Jessi Cape.

Fault Lines: Portraits of East Austin by John Langmore ($29.95): This book is a real looker – and is sure to offer some solace to anyone feeling homesick for East Austin. Also, our very own Michael King wrote the foreword.

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