Every year, it is always my hope, dream, and belief that I'll get all of my holiday shopping done before December 1st. I think one time - ONCE - in the past fifteen years has that dream actually become a reality.
Most of the time, it's just about now that the reality of the calendar hits and I grab my mouse and we click our way through the list. (I rarely shop in stores anymore because all the OMGCHRISTMAS is a little much even for this extrovert.)
Some friends and I are sharing our top picks for gifts this year, and I decided to go back to my crunchy roots with some gift choices that are either natural or eco-friendly (or both!) for your family and friends this year:
Natural & Eco-Friendly Gifts for Family and Friends
As someone who is constantly fighting the battle against kiddo-clutter, some of my favorite gifts are the consumable kind.
Earlier this year, Nature Box sent me a box of their yummy, healthy snacks. Unfortunately, shortly after that I found myself in the throes of morning sickness and never shared a full review with you all, but I have to say I was super impressed with this service! The idea is that for around $20 a month, you get a box of snacks (and recipes!) of foods that contain no HFCS, artificial colors, or artificial flavors.
As a gift for families with children, this is one of those fantastic things that can be opened, consumed, and off you go!
Kiwi Crate - $19.95 per month; gift subscriptions for 3, 6, and 12 months
Similar in concept to Nature Box is Kiwi Crate - only instead of food consumables, Kiwi Crate offers a box of fun projects for kids to work on. These look like the perfect choice for a family with preschool and early elementary aged kids.
Arterro Art Kits - prices vary, $12.95 - $26.95
This is one company that I can personally testify is FANTASTIC! I've ordered four or five Arterro kits for the girls and we have never been disappointed with any of them! Beyond putting together some really fun kits that encourage immense creativity in children, Arterro is wholly committed to sustainability. Their materials are the kind of high-quality, sensory-pleasing things that allow kids to understand they are making real art.
We are huge, huge, huge fans of Arterro and I would recommend these kits for anyone with kids that are early elementary age and above!
Finally, if you are shopping for gifts that are more natural, more open-ended, and more eco-friendly, two companies I've had great experiences with in the past are A Toy Garden and Bella Luna Toys. I could get lost for hours browsing their sites, and they both have wonderful service. A few years ago, something I ordered for Christmas was out of stock, and Sarah - the owner at Bella Luna Toys - emailed right away and worked with me to figure out a replacement. Great, great places to support with your holiday shopping!
Men can be a little challenging to shop for if you want to keep it natural or earth-friendly, but I do have a few suggestions.
A little while back, I wrote at Simple Homemade about how the classic art of wet shaving is healthier for skin and for the planet. If you want to help get the man in your life started in this approach to shaving, you might consider a kit like The Art of Shaving The 4 Elements of the Perfect Shave. Kits can be a great way to ease the learning curve of getting started!
If you are looking for more of an investment kind of gift, I always recommend looking at the bags created by Satchel & Page. Based in Austin, Texas, this company uses American-sourced waxed canvas and oil-tanned leather to hand-craft these beautiful bags. If the man in your life is needing a sturdy laptop or tablet bag that will last for years to come, I don't think you can go wrong with Satchel & Page!
For almost a year now, I've been droooooling over the beautiful designs at Studio Jewel. What really makes her gorgeous jewelry unique is that many of her pieces are eco-friendly and all of them are handmade. So many pretties to lust after, and she created Gifts Under $100 and Gifts Under $50 sections to guide your shopping.
One Mango Tree - clothing, accessories, gifts. Prices vary.
I'm a happy One Mango Tree customer for many reasons - excellent products, locally-sourced materials, and commitment to economic empowerment. They say it best on their website:
At One Mango Tree, we believe that economic empowerment provides the foundation necessary for achieving sustainable peace and development. Our model revolves around this belief, going beyond fair trade to create jobs and improve quality of life in some of the most challenging environments in the world.
It's been exciting to watch this company take off! Their catalog is now bursting with all kinds of wearables, some of which are wonderfully on sale now. I've shopped with them before and I highly recommend OMT!
Gadanke - journals and kits ranging from $8 to $20
I love the work that Katie does at Gadanke. She truly believes in the power of story in each of our own lives and has created a line of handmade journals to encourage each of us to capture our own stories at any given time. Though different themed journals abound, I am sure the She Journal from Gadanke would make a lovely and unique gift for any woman in your life. Additionally, all papers used in the journals are made from recycled paper - the majority of which are 100% recycled!
Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Products. Prices vary.
Who doesn't love a little pampering present? Though Earth Mama Angel Baby's selections are mostly geared toward women in the mothering stage of life and for their little ones, you can find all kinds of organic bath and nurturing products that would be suitable for many. The best news is every product they carry rates a 0 for toxins in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Skin Deep Database. Good for bodies, good for the planet!
Thanks for letting me share some giftable ideas for you this season. One last thing I wanted to mention:
This is a great time of the year to register for Pure Charity. Pure Charity allows you to contribute spending dollars toward the cause of your choice. All you have to do is install the Internet browser widget to be notified when you're shopping at an affiliate, and also register your credit card. This way, all of your Christmas shopping at most major retailers (think Walmart, Apple, Best Buy, Target, Forever 21 etc.) will give you a percentage of your purchase back - right into your Pure Charity giving fund.
Pretty cool, huh? I love when ways to do good are so easy!
Hopefully you are inspired to discover ways to give crunchy-ily to even the soggiest people on your list this year. And if happy-hippy-crunchy-tree-huggin' gifts just won't do, check out these ideas from some of my friends:
The Blah Blah Blahger: Gifts for the Wine Lover
Nish Happens: Gifts for the Adventurous
O My Family: Gifts for the Preschool Boy
Sarah Bessey: Sarah's Favourite Things
Kelly Sauer: Photography Gifts
Fried Okra: Stylish Gifts
Love Well: Gifts for Teens
LoveFeast Table: Gifts for Him
Joy in this Journey: Healthy Gifts