When we first discovered The Novo Project we were taken by both the site’s artful, free-spirited design and it’s strong sense of humanity. It felt like an experiment we wanted to be a part of. We’ve been reading ever since as founders (and best friends) Jenna Bush Hager and Mia Baxter share everything from backstage fashion week photos to interviews with people like AIDS activist Mary Fisher. If there’s one thing that inspires us about these two New Yorkers with Texas roots, it’s their bold refusal to define themselves by just one cause (fashion, activism, literature, entertaining, etc.) Instead, they care about all of these things. And that makes us believe that we can, too. So without further ado, let’s hear Jenna and Mia’s take on stylish giving (and some that will make you feel good, too!)
1. For the love of THE BOOK: My mom is a librarian, and as an avid reader myself, I love giving books! First editions, and antique books are lovely for special occasions. Coffee table books are also a favorite. I adore these classic book sets redone by designer Coralie Bickford-Smith for Penguin Classics.
2. Give the gift of MUSIC: My favorite gifts are events — intimate evenings, dinners, and even trips. It’s always more memorable to spend time doing something with those you love. I particularly love giving tickets to concerts. (Bowery Ballroom is a good resource if you live in NY, Ticketmaster for all over the US.)
3. Gifts that DO GOOD: My cousin Lauren started this amazing organization. I carry a FEED bag everywhere. These make great gifts for colleagues and friends! They look great, and feed kids up to a year. I particularly like the FEED Joy Stocking for the young in your life!
4. Give the gift of FOOD: I’m a fan of giving the gift of food, especially in a season when we entertain so much. Murray’s Cheese is a delicious place to order an array of cheeses for those you love. As a cheese-addict, I approve.
5. Favorite HOLIDAY SONG: I love Christmas songs redone by Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and Elvis, but also, who doesn’t love Mariah Cary’s All I Want for Christmas is You?
6 and 7. More gifts that DO GOOD: Mia and I worked for UNICEF in Latin America and were able to see their life saving work first hand. What’s better than giving a gift that changes lives? (Jeweled candle holders and Global Kids card)
8. Gift for FRIENDS: My favorite scent in the world makes for a perfect gift for friends, colleagues, and host.
9. Gift for my MAN: I adore everything Jenna Lyons has done for J. Crew. This tie clip is a perfect example of modernizing men’s wear.
10. Give the gift of LIVE THEATRE: I also love giving tickets to shows in New York. My sister and I are going to The Heiress this weekend, a recent gift for our birthday.
11. Give the gift of HEALTH: I am in love with Soul Cycle, which is currently in both New York and LA, and has plans to spread nation wide. I love giving classes to friends, so we can spend time working out together.
12. Give a gift that’s HOMEMADE: I paint and glitter antlers at my ranch in Texas and give them as gifts (photo above!). They make for a great holiday table top decoration. If an you don’t have antlers available, handwritten letters and scrapbooks are a way to give sweet homemade gifts.
4. A great piece of CLOTHING: I’d like to cozy up with something from Wool and the Gang.
5. A fun KIDS GIFT: Musical toys from Vilac.
6. An UNEXPECTED CARD: The Red Sacred Heart Card from Beau Ideal Editions.
7. On my WISH LIST: Carl Jung’s Red Book
9. A thoughtful GIFT CARD: I’ve really enjoyed receiving cards to Whole Foods in the past.
10. A great ACCESSORY GIFT: Bright hosery from Fogal.
11. A good STOCKING STUFFER idea: Box of Almond Soap from Santa Maria Novella.
12. On my WISH LIST: Organic Avenue Cleanse
Finally, we asked Jenna and Mia one last question about their holiday traditions:
CS: What do the holidays mean to you? What’s your favorite thing about this time of year?
Mia: This time of year is really about celebrating our precious life and the people who make it meaningful. If we can embrace the parties and lights and cheer, it’s a magical time of year. I’m not of a particular religion but I’m a spiritual person — so I like to think of the tree as the Wishing Tree…call up the Spirits…give thanks to new and old heroes… dance and be merry and drink spiced rum!
Jenna: The holidays mean, simply: family. And giving. It’s the time of the year when we express love, and give of ourselves the way we should all year long. [My favorite thing about this time of year?] Everything. I love the way the holidays smell, sound, taste. I love being with friends and family. I adore the anticipation in the air in New York, the way the lights add to the already energetic city.
Thanks for dropping in, ladies! We can’t wait to see where The Novo Project will go next.