I guess the holidays are officially here. I think our late Indian summer lulled me into a false sense of endless autumn, and made the sudden shift to sub-freezing temps, wind and snow pretty abrupt. I feel like I’ve been catapulted right smack dab into the holiday season…without a lot of time to prepare for the age old issue: what am I going to get my loved ones???
To help me simplify this year, I’m keeping it Simple & Green. My kids are beyond toys now, so maybe that makes it easier. But whether they’re in a home of their own, away at college, or still living with you, they’ll benefit from an active green role model with good ideas for all kinds of cool things to help them minimize their own footprint.
A no-brainer is the battery charger with a set or two of rechargeable batteries. I love this gift idea for an older child or preteen – who will no doubt be given some toy or gadget that eats up batteries for the next several years. How perfect for them to see how easy it is to avoid using regular batteries that are so toxic to our landfills. Their habits haven’t been formed yet – so it’s a great time to help them learn.
Another techno-learning gadget is the Kill a Watt, for those still dubious of the importance of energy savings. These cool things show you the operating costs of household appliances as well as calculating costs and forecasts by week, month and year. Plus they’re on sale right now and easy – just plug in – to use.
But my gifts won’t all be techno. Thinking organic bamboo sheets for my luxury-loving sister, and some herb tea and an electric tea kettle for my dear ol’ mum who’ll love finding out how much energy she saves using it – rather then turning on the stove to boil water. So last century!
For the young homesteaders in the family, twenty-somethings starting up their own households – I love turning them on to great green things they’ve never heard of, like the GreenWashBall Detergent. This innovative little ball cleans your laundry without using any soap! Don’t believe me? Just try it. I used these things when I was doing the laundry for my three kids –it works! And who isn’t going to chuckle finding a soap-less washball in their stocking?
Another fun one is to make a whole green home gift basket. Start with my favorite recycled newspaper baskets (a set of two is conveniently on sale!) then fill them with your favorite green household things like great counter top composters, water filters, natural cleaners like Bon Ami (do you all know how great that stuff is for cleaning sinks and tubs without chlorine???).
For the more elegant, like my sister, I’d fill a gift basket with natural beauty and bath things. Like the de~luxe bath salts, which is another favorite of mine and a great value; looks and feels like the much more expensive brands.
Or for your favorite hypochondriac, how about a gift basket of natural health and wellness goodies? Fill it with everything from the netty pot to Oscillococcinum Natural Flu Relief, — which is also on sale; or herbal cough drops and Breathe Easy Tea.
Need more ideas? How about a yoga mat made from earth-friendly materials, not only non-toxic, but latex-, PVC- and chloride-free and 100% recyclable and decomposable. My daughter will love that. But then she’d also love a BPA-free water bottle, Clementine natural art supplies art supplies or Weleda’s Wild Rose Moisture Cream. (Or maybe that’s just what I want.)
Sort of funny… I could go on and on with these ideas…and here I thought it’d be hard to figure out what I was getting everyone. Now I’ll just grab a good book for each of them, give a charitable donation in each of their names, and I’m done!