Yes, it is that yuletide time of year again! Santa is making his list and checking it twice – who is on your holiday shopping list? Have they been naughty or nice? Whichever way you go, remember lumps of coal are totally organic!
All kidding aside, the holiday season gives us another opportunity to consider the circle of friends and family we love, our pets, neighborhoods and our communities at large. As more people become tuned-in to the challenges facing our planet we find that giving eco-friendly gifts is on the rise.
Those of us who are “green” and care about our environment, have all heard the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle.” It is in that eco-friendly spirit we compiled the list of the top 10 hottest green gifts to give or to receive.
- For Everyone: Reuseable Shopping Bags and Produce bags – The Italians and Europeans have long been shopping this way. Reusable mesh and cotton shopping bags were heavily used long before the introduction of the paper or plastic bag. This is the greatest gift idea of all; I mean really how many plastic bags can one person really utilize? Not only are these reusable bags are perfect for shopping, but they can keep your veggies and fruits fresher longer when you keep them in the bags and store them in the refrigerator. Easily cared for, never bleached or chemically treated – consider giving a set of five full-size shopping bags to the shopper in your life.
- For Everyone: 100 % Organic Chocolate Sugar Body Polish – there are two kinds of chocolate in this world, the external kind and the internal kind … and both of them are quite yummy! This winter, your dry, thirsty skin will welcome the silky smooth finish and glow you will get from using the sumptuous Chocolate Sugar Body Polish. You will feel totally euphoric and your skin will be invigorated by this rich, thick exfoliating sugar scrub that looks, smells and feels like a fudge batter! It smells so great, you‘ll be tempted to eat it! The Chocolate Sugar Body Polish comes in an 11.5 oz. recyclable PET jar. All natural, organic ingredients include Fair Trade CertifiedTM Brown Sugar/Cocoa Butter/Cocoa Powder, Aloe Vera Juice, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Honey and Essential Oils.
- For Everyone: Recycle a basket from your local thrift store or estate sale and prepare a Green Gift Basket filled with yummy organic home-made, eats and treats such as cookies, fudge, popcorn balls, banana nut or pumpkin breads, naturally sweetened candies, pestos, home-canned fruits, fresh organic fruits and nuts or even purchased items such as organic gourmet coffees and hot chocolate drink mixes.
- For Her: Along with the holiday rush comes the holiday stress. A great gift for that special lady in your life is a 100% organic cotton hooded bath robe and gift certificate to the best local spa. She will melt into the one-on-one pampering and exit dazzling just in time for New Year’s Eve. If she’s more of a “wired” girl, consider buying her the recycled canvas iPad case.
- For Him: We tend to think of men as DIYers … is your guy a gadget guy? If so he’ll be pretty geared up about our Watch Gear Cufflinks that are made from old watch parts, but really work, featuring two watch movements. Not the engineer or programmer kind of guy – then he might enjoy a natural shaving cream or oil that provides a close shave and has an awesome moisturizing, conditioning effect. Or is he more of a sports fan? You can always purchase tickets to his favorite sporting or entertainment event (you can even do this on-line, if you can’t fit it into your busy holiday schedule!)
- For DIY’ers in Your Life: Provide them with the materials to make: (1) a Necktie Wreath – using old colorful cotton neckties, (2) Teacup Candles, (3) Laundry Cup Wall Art – a starburst wall hanging made from old magazine pages and plastic detergent lids, or (4) books or guides for making cheese, wine, canning and freezing or other such “how to’s” that match their areas of interest.
- Perfect Hostess Gifts: It’s party time. You will likely be attending your favorite party this holiday season. A great Green Gift to give your Host or Hostess is a rich, full-flavor organic wine, and some rich, healthy, dark chocolate and strawberries to nibble on along with it. You might even volunteer to bring biodegradable plates for the gala! Some good chocolate choices include: ChocoSol Darkness Eating Chocolate, a rich, 75% dark chocolate that is stone ground with a very earthy deep flavor and texture which encapsulates the Mayan cacao of Southern Mexico. You can get the 3-Pack Organic Wine Package from Italy which includes a 2010 Pinot Grigio Perlage, 2008 Terra di Chieti Bianco Perlage and a 2008 Sangiovese Marche Perlage. Bring along fresh, organic strawberries from your local Farmer’s Market.
- Child’s Green Gifts: It’s the perfect time to demonstrate to your children your commitment to be eco-friendly in ways that are playful and fun for them. Absolutely great gifts for them include (1) Eco House by Wonderworld Toy – a wooden toy house, (2) Cardboard Astro Rocket kit, (3) ImagiPLAY Planet Pixies, or (4) Eco-Kids – Eco-Crayons to use on paper made from recycling banana bark. I suggest you shop around as prices vary widely online.
- Appliances and Equipment for Everyone: There are so many options now for going green with our electricity and applicance. More and more manufacturers are concentrating on developing products that make “earth sense.” Among the plethora of green appliance and technology gifts are (1) Rechargeable Batteries and Battery Chargers (some are even USB compatible rechargeable batteries and can be charged from a USB port on your computer while you are working!) (2) sewing machines for that creative fashionista in your life who can recreate the latest trend in a jiffy, (3) Kill A Watt 4460 EZ Power Meter – what a great idea, just connect this to any device in your home to this and you can see for yourself just how efficient the device really is! or (4) Solar Tea Lantern (single) or Solar Glass String Lights (multiple) Let’s get the party started by “lighting up our lives” with these solar delights. Purchase individual gorgeous hand-blown glass solar lanterns or a string of them and set the mood for any party – and best of all – you use no electricity at all!
- For Everyone: Consider purchasing a sponsorship in an environmental group, or an adoption from sources like (1) Defenders of Wildlife (“Adopt-An-Animal”), or (2) The Nature Conservancy (“Adopt-An-Acre”) Adoption ideas from the Nature Conservancy include: adopting a coral reef in Palau, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, or an acre in Africa, Australia, etc. for as little as $50.
With all this holiday cheer and gift giving, let’s not forget about Green Gifts for Your Pet: You can pamper your bed by purchasing organic cotton beds, new leashes, organic healthy treats, and a multitude of other fun pet gifts from e-stores like Abundant Earth. You will find a broad range of eco-friendly gift options for your pet at Abundant Earth.
You have bought for everyone else, what about your employees or coworkers?
Green Gifts for Your Employees and Coworkers:
- Reusable travel mugs – “help them help us” – to continue to NOT polluting our environment. Even employees who are NOT really focused on eco-friendly activities will appreciate the beauty and function of the Aquaovo Thermo-o. You will appreciate the absence of Styrofoam and paper product polluting our streams and rivers. The beautiful, all-glass water bottle comes with a removable filter so you can have tea without needing to waste filters or cups. The double insulation keeps drinks hot or cold without being sweaty or “too hot to the touch.” With a large mouth opening it can easily accommodate ice cubes and is easily cleaned.
- Give movie passes, concert tickets or sporting events tickets. Tickets are always in vogue and are a welcome treat, especially in a time when their money is being redirected to present buying, holiday parties and so forth.
- Food Gift Baskets from your local Farmer’s Market, filled with all the organic, fresh and seasonably available fruits, veggies and cheeses is always a great choice. You can prepare them yourself by recycling baskets from your local resale shop or getting great buys from your local Farmer’s Market for already made baskets. Dress them up with a pretty bow and give them with a joyful smile, and wahla, you have one happy employee!
Above all, please give yourself the gift of time, breath and a sense of knowing that you are making the planet a better place to live today, tomorrow and forever.
Your eco-friendly efforts never go in vain!
Happy shopping and happy “green” holidays.