Athena Holiday Gift Guide
Here at the Athena Center for Leadership, changemaking is always on our minds, and the holiday season is no exception. In a global market dominated by big businesses, many with questionable ethics and vague social commitments, it can be challenging to find gifts for loved ones that are meaningful and affordable while also supporting social good and making a positive impact. Curated with our mission in mind, this gift guide contains everything from books by some of our favorite authors, to Barnard-student led shops, and unbeatable experiential gifts
Some of the most powerful and meaningful gifts aren't always material. This year, consider honoring the important people in your life by making a donation in their name to a charity or non-profit organization. Check out some of our Barnard-centered suggestions below!
Thank you to Anna Kohlasch BC '22 for her help in curating this list and to Athena's Faculty Advisory Board member, Sandra Goldmark (Barnard's Director of Campus Sustainability and Climate Action) for curating the Shop Used section.
If you have an Athena/Barnard-related product you would like to add to this list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Good Your Money Can Do by Eva Yazhari: As you begin to shop for gifts this year, consider checking out Barnard alum and Leadership Council member, Eva Yazhari's book The Good Your Money Can Do, a guide to conscious investing and spending your money in a way that aligns with your values. At times philosophical and other times instructional, this book is essential for everyone from the casual shopper to the aspiring entrepreneur. Eva's book provides a great framework for shopping ethically and consciously this holiday season. To learn more about Eva's SPARK event with Athena check out the SPARK archive here.
- Controlling Women by Kathryn Kolbert and Julie Kay: With reproductive freedom being threatened throughout the United States, acting now to protect women has never been more important. In their new book, Kathryn Kolbert, founding director of the Athena Center, and Julie Kay share their experiences and insights, proposing new strategies to advance women's rights. For anyone who has spent the last several years banging their head over court decisions and setbacks, this book is for you. Learn more about the books and Kolbert and Kay's work in their SPARK with Athena (via the SPARK archive here.)
- The Color of Money by Mehrsa Baradaran: In this illuminating book, law professor and past SPARK speaker, Mehrsa Baradaran uses the history of black banking in order to explore the origins and persistence of the racial wealth gap in America. History lovers and political buffs alike will appreciate this new perspective on racial inequity and economic injustice. If you would like to view a recording of Mehrsa's SPARK event with Athena check out the SPARK archive here.
- Trust by Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri: Barnard alumna and world renowned author and translator Jhumpa Lahiri's latest translation has just hit the American shelves! In one of the most anticipated books of the year, Domenico Starnone gives readers a searing portrait of human relationships and human folly, perfect for any book lover and Lahiri fan.
- Zora Neale Hurston Boxed Set: Zora Neale Hurston, the first Black woman to graduate from Barnard, and one of the most iconic and important American writers of our time, has left her literary mark on the history of Barnard and the larger world. Celebrate her legacy and incredible body of work by gifting a boxed set of ten of her most classic works to the book lover in your life.
- Behind Her Vision: Women of New York City by Ashika Kalra and Jade Chen: A coffee table book that sparks vulnerable conversations about societal norms, imposter syndrome, career-defining moments, and more. It explores a rare angle on perseverance, creativity and innovation from the lens of pioneering NYC women.
- Alinea Investments: Alinea, a startup created by Even Halimi and Anam Lakhani, alumna of the Athena Scholars Program, is the first investing app to provide full transparency on companies' financials and values, emphasizing integrating social values with financial strategy. Alinea curates "stacks" that allow users to invest in a category of stocks such as "Clean Energy" or "Low Volatility." Gifting a stack is a great way to help new or cautious investors dip their toe in the water and explore the stock market!
- ArtShiNYC: Known for their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, many Barnard students run their own small businesses and online shops. One of our favorites, ArtShiNYC offers high-quality stickers, art, and apparel focused around positivity and happiness. Their products are perfect for everything from stocking stuffers to unique clothing for the stylish and inspired young people in your life.
- AxVBeauty: a non-toxic skincare and wellness brand founded by Asata Evans ’18. As a skincare enthusiast and woman with acne-prone skin, it was important to Asata that she created a brand with non-toxic chemicals that was safe for all skin types. She launched AxV Beauty in September 2020. Since then, the brand has been featured in both Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.
- A Diploma Frame: Celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2022 by gifting Barnard seniors a diploma frame and welcoming them into post-grad life! They will greatly appreciate it (written by a Barnard senior).
- Hanky Panky: Founded by Barnard alum and Athena Leadership Coucil Member Lida Orzeck, Hanky Panky is a luxury lingerie business that sells ultra-comfortable and flattering wares in all sizes and styles. Everybody could use a new pair of underwear, and Hanky Panky products are the perfect gift for every woman in your life. If you have extra school spirit, pick up a Barnard-themed pair of underwear in the Barnard store!
- Jiggy Puzzles: Founded by Barnard alumna, Kaylin Marcotte, Jiggy produces beautiful, made to be hung, puzzles featuring art from a diverse cohort of female artists. These puzzles are perfect everyone from the avid puzzler looking for a new challenge, to interior design buffs looking for unique home decor. For a recording of and more information about Kaylin's SPARK event at Athena, check out the SPARK archive here.
- 'Little Women' directed by Greta Gerwig - a DVD: Directed by Barnard alum and winner of the 2011 Athena Award, Greta Gerwig, Little Women is our favorite cozy holiday movie that celebrates determined and independent women, in a feel-good classic. Little Women was previously screen at the Athena Film Festival in 2020. Consider buying the DVD or buying the movie on streaming services for a perfect, crowd pleasing family film for the holidays.
- Passes to the 2022 Athena Film Festival! This year, celebrate both the holidays and the Athena Film Festival's in person return by gifting film festival passes to your loved ones! Our diverse film lineup ensures that everyone will be able to find movies they love and be able to explore new genres and topics. This year we are also offering an online options, making film festival passes a perfect gift for everyone, no how far away.
- Photoshoot by Phoebe Jones '18: Whether it be headshots, family portraits, or wedding shoots, professional photography sessions are one of the most unique and special gifts you can give a loved one this holiday season. Check out Barnard Alum, Phoebe Jones' website for high quality offerings in the NYC area.
- MamaDen Events: Founded by Barnard Alum and Athena Leadership Council member Julianna Goldman, MamaDen is a wellness and togetherness space for mothers. MamaDen frequently hosts events to connect mothers and start critical conversations about motherhood. Check out their event list and consider gifting this unique experience to a mom in your life!
Some of the most powerful and meaningful gifts aren't always material. This year, consider honoring the important people in your life by making a donation in their name to a charity or non-profit organization. Check out the Athena staff's charity picks here.
- Brown Girls Doc Mafia: BGDM is an initiative that advocates for and uplifts women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary industry. Recommended by our Film festival Post-Bac, Genesis Quito '19, BGDM fights inequality in the film industry by building community, sharing resources, and advocating for its members.
- Global Press: Suggested by our Director, Umbreen Bhatti, Global Press is a non-profit that trains female journalists and hires them to cover their own communities. With bureaus in some of the world's least-covered places, Global Press is pushing innovative and independent journalism to promote narrative change and representative newsrooms
- Closer to home, as an alum who still relies on the community I had while I was a student, I’m so inspired by the work of Barnard Mutual Aid, a student-led initiative.
- The Resolution Project: A favorite non-profit of our Chief of Staff, Victoria Lesourd, The Resolution Project provides seed funding and mentorship to undergraduate students pursuing socially responsible solutions to issues around the world.
- Susie's Senior Dogs: Often overlooked by adopters, senior dogs are often in desperate need of care and affection. Suggested by our Program Manager, Erika Guzman, Susie's Senior Dogs is a nonprofit that brings awareness to the plight of homeless senior dogs and helps get dogs adopted and into safe and loving homes.
- Anjellicle Cats Rescue: Pets are clearly very popular in our office and our resident cat lover and owner Alisa Tchernigova, who serves as the Senior Programs Assistant, hopes you will consider donating to the Anjellicle Cats Rescue. ACR is a non-profit, no-kill cat rescue and adoption center in New York that helps cats find homes throughout the city.
Other orgs we support include:
- Barnard FLI Partnership Library: The Barnard FLI Partnership Library provides textbooks and books for low income and/or first generation students, working to ensure academic equity at Barnard. If you wish to contribute to the library, designate your gift to Barnard for the "Barnard FLI Partnership Library".
- VoteRunLead: Vote Run Lead trains barrier-breaking women to unleash their political power, run for office, and transform American democracy. We train women to run for office, and win.
- The Reading Team: The Reading Team is dedicated to enabling young children who are at high risk of reading failure to become strong and enthusiastic readers, writers, listeners, and speakers and to develop the skills, habits, and behaviors that will support their success in school and in life.
- Girl Be Heard: An organization developing, amplifying and celebrating the voices of girls and young women through socially conscious theater-making, storytelling and performance.
Buying - and giving - used is one of the biggest things you can do to reduce the impact of your holiday shopping. Here are some great online sites and brick and mortar stores around NYC.
- For Barnard students, faculty, and staff check out Rheaply, Barnard's online exchange platform. Just log in with your uni to post and find all kinds of items.
- For online shopping, check out ThredUp or Depop for clothing, AptDeco for furnishings (in the NYC area), Patagonia Worn Wear or REI Used Gear for outdoor gear and equipment, and Mercari for just about everything else.
- For browsing in person in New York, there are all kinds of amazing thrift and vintage stores, from Housing Works to Goodwill to Unique to BIG Reuse and so many more.
- For more tips, check out Fixation: How to Have Stuff without Breaking the Planet, by Barnard's Director of Sustainability and Climate Action, Sandra Goldmark