There’s no denying it—December was a crazy month for me as it was for virtually everyone leading up to Christmas. In my case, I was finishing up my last semester of university (!!) and could hardly even pause to enjoy the festive atmosphere until my final exams were over, much less tackle the long list of Christmas shopping that comes with being from a big family. It doesn’t help that malls in Calgary at Christmas are voracious consumers of your time—it’s not uncommon that more of it is spent finding parking than actually shopping. As such, I was really grateful this year to have found some beautiful gifts for some of the girls in my family at Alora. All of their product can be found online and is shipped for free! This month they also set up a boutique for two weekends at Calgary’s Market Collective, where I was able to find other really unique gifts for family members that you won’t find in a mall.
My sister and my cousin absolutely loved their jewelry from Alora, and my mom the ornament that we of course hung on the tree. All the pieces were made from recycled brass but looked so beautiful in the way that they had been recrafted. What I love most about Alora jewelry is the message and thought that goes into each piece. Skylar’s necklace says “blessed” and perfectly captures the phrase that she so commonly uses. The square-shaped necklace (“Eban”) I gave to Sarah symbolizes safety and security, something that has been a newfound theme in Sarah’s life in the last couple of years and even just in the last few months. The heart-shaped necklace, called “Sankofa” and which translates to “go back and get it,” symbolizes learning from your past or going back to your roots. I had originally planned to keep this necklace myself but when Sarah saw it she gushed about how much she loved it and I decided to give her both! It’s really neat that “learning from your past” has also been a big theme for Sarah. Sharing the meaning behind the jewelry was such a wonderful aspect of giving it to her! And from an aesthetic standpoint, Sarah told me that she “loves long necklaces,” which are perfect for layering and for casual wear with t-shirts and jeans.
Another thing I love about Alora are the values that it stands for—“to provide socially responsible, handmade, locally produced ethnic fashion and home accessories for customers with discriminating tastes.” The creativity of the designers is evident in every piece, as is the importance of meaning—so many items on the website are accompanied by detailed explanations not only of how they’re made but also of what they represent. Most importantly, Alora values family—it was started by a mother-daughter team! And family is truly the most precious gift at Christmas. I am so thankful for the time spent with my mine in the last few days.
Wishing you a lovely holiday season, a happy New Year, and many new adventures 2015.