10 Holiday Gifts that Support CLA Aggies
Shop at businesses owned and operated by College of Liberal Arts former students to support fellow Aggies with your holiday shopping this year.
By Rachel Knight ‘18
It’s the holiday season, which means it’s also the holiday shopping season. Aggie entrepreneurs, with degrees from the College of Liberal Arts, offer goods and services that make ideal holiday gifts.
CLA former students use their liberal arts education to offer something for everyone. Ranging from restaurant gift cards to sporting goods, and from books to pet photography sessions, these gifts are as intriguing as the Aggies you’ll support by purchasing them.
Six years after starting their farm, Amanda Light ‘18 and her husband opened Ronin Restaurant in downtown Bryan. Their goal is to connect people to their food by connecting the food they serve to their farm. Ronin quickly became one of Dean Matthews’ favorite Bryan College Station restaurants, as you can see in her Instagram posts. Treat your loved one to a fabulous meal at Ronin with a gift card this holiday season. (Treat yourself to wings made using this Ronin original recipe).
Before the first home football game in 2020, Chris Valletta ‘00, an Aggie football letterman with a degree in communication, teamed up with the 12th Man board of trustees to send a Mission face mask and neck gaiter to each 12th Man season ticket holder. Mission was co-founded by Valletta, Dwayne Wade, and Serena Williams. Their masks, gaiter necks, hats, towels, and other products are designed to keep you cool while doing what you love. They’re great for yard work, hot Texas summer days, and staying cool while working out.
Founded by three Aggie friends (one is a former CLA student who studied political science) 12 Fires Winery aims to bring Aggie values to the Texas wine industry. Their wine is made with Texas-grown grapes at their winery, which is located outside of Johnson City near Fredericksburg. You can purchase their wine as a gift directly from their website or from Aggieland Outfitters.
Delight the people on your holiday shopping list who are young or young at heart with award-winning childrens and young adult books by Kathi Appelt ‘79. Watch Appelt read a few of her picture books on the College of Liberal Arts YouTube channel for a small sampling of her work and talent.
Tony Cornett ‘80 has a wide range of jobs on his resume – print journalist, PR man, TV news anchor, Koozie brand manager, and entrepreneur. His invention of the Duck Bill money clip, a money clip designed to work more functionally rather than serve as a piece of jewelry, was a stroke of Aggie genius.
This Pulitzer Prize winning title was written by Caleb McDaniel ‘00, ‘01. McDaniel’s book titled Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Resitution in America tells Henrietta Wood’s story. Wood was born into slavery, taken to Cincinnati in 1848 and legally freed; abducted and sold back into slavery in 1853; remained enslaved in Robertson County near Hearne, Texas, throughout the Civil War; regained her freedom and returned to Cincinnati in 1869; and in 1870 sued the man who abducted her and sold her back into slavery. There’s more to her story, but you’ll have to get a copy of McDaniel’s book to read it!
Mikey Grebe ‘19 unexpectedly found himself following in his mother’s professional photography footsteps while studying at Texas A&M University. While his mom’s work captures the whole family, Mikey’s work focuses on one beloved furry member—the family dog! Schedule a surprise portrait session for your loved one’s pup or give them a framed copy of a photo from their fur baby’s photo session.
StoryKeeping helps capture the stories that become your legacy as they are passed down from one generation to the next. The company was started by Clinton Haby ‘02. Haby is a talented videographer with extraordinary interviewing and storytelling skills. His talents and dedication to detail turn your loved ones’ life experiences into cinematic quality family heirlooms on film. Book a StoryKeeping session to capture a loved ones’ story this holiday season.
Katherine Kimball ‘17 turns her pain into poetic and illustrated art in her first book titled Truth and Poison: Lessons in Heartbreak. You can purchase a copy of her book (which contains poems that she’s written, illustrated, and published since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic) on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble to help someone else find peace and hope in their own 2020 struggles.
Dawn Husted ’06 is the author of five books that have been sold worldwide and editor in chief and founder of Yaupon Berry Press. After gaining 10 years of professional writing experience and five years of publishing experience, she started Yaupon Berry Press. Her Aggie owned company is located in Bryan College Station, and offers professional proofreading, editing, and writing for authors and small businesses. Give the gift of the written word in the form of one of her books or the services she offers through Yaupon Berry Press.
Don’t see your business or product on our shopping list, but think you should? Tell us a little about yourself and your business by filling out this online form!