A meaningful gift to give this Christmas

With Christmas just around the bend, Monkeybiz is an organization that you need to hear about. Through them, disadvantaged artists from South Africa create beautifully beaded creatures and are able to provide for their families. A few weeks ago, my three-year-old and I attended a very colorful, creative, inspiring, expensive and delicious sale event held over two days at one of the Wychwood Barn studios.

Colorful because each adorable animal is beaded in a unique pattern with a rainbow of colors. Creative because no two animals are the same.

Inspiring because you can see the hard work that was put into each piece and understand how each one sold represents a family that will be helped (Each one is signed by the artist).

Expensive, because they have to be. (Well not really that expensive, think of where else you might spend that $50… an item of clothing? Then think how far that $50 is going to take one of these artists and their families!)

Delicious because Eat My Words is the Canadian importer of all creatures Monkeybiz and they make an addictive mini cupcake.

My daughter eats her way through three in the time we are there declaring the raspberry her "most favouritest."

Eat My Words is a wonderful organization, run in part by my friend Sacha Grierson, that bakes delicious and beautiful cupcakes, cakes and treats for gift giving and special occasions. A portion of each sale goes to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which helps HIV positive women, children and their families with care and support.

We spend what feels like 15 minutes choosing a little friend to take home. Every few minutes my daughter proclaims a different one her “most favoritest!" By the time we settle on a flecked pink, blue, green and yellow giraffe for her, a brown, yellow and red elephant for her brother and a handful of Christmas ornaments for gift giving, we realize a good hour has gone by… the very reason that my husband has decided not to join us on this particular outing and many others like it.

We leave the studio with love in our hearts, animals under our arms and sugar icing smears on our hands and cheeks.

No snowflakes yet, but with our Monkeybiz finds, our loved ones are sure to find something one-of-a-kind and meaningful under their trees this year.

Monkeybiz animals can be purchased at their downtown studio located at 300 Campbell Avenue, studio 209. Call 416 489 7700 for hours.

Liisa Winkler is one of Canada’s biggest supermodels and mother of two beautiful children. Her blog appears bi-monthly at Postcity.com.

Article exclusive to TRNTO