The other day I was searching for a few children’s gift ideas and card ideas for Valentine’s Day that did not feel cheap and junky. It seems to me that most gift ideas nowadays are plastic and cheap looking but I wanted some ideas with a “classic” or “vintage” feel…throwbacks to simpler days when gifts were made to last and be treasured. I also wanted something candy free and I think I managed to find a few treasures that fit the bill. These were some of the gift ideas I bookmarked:
1. Felt Heart Boxes – These felt boxes are shaped like hearts and can hold small treasures. I also love the vintage, homemade feel of them. They look like something my grandmother would have owned.
2. OM Heart Figurines – How adorable are these?? Each of these little hand-molded clay statues has a name and a story, and stands as a totem for love.
3. Vintage Valentine’s Day Cards – These beautiful cards are works of art and they are 3D with moving parts so truly unique. I just adore the elephant one.
4. Felt Heart Pouches – Your kiddos can use these for pencils, money, or virtually any kind of treasure. The pouches are handmade of Nepalese wool felt with a heart motif and a zipper pull. Fair trade.
5. Alice in Wonderland Tea Set – If your little one loves tea parties then he or she will love this tea set inspired by the classic children’s book.
6. Heart Shaped Nesting Boxes – Each box has a special message! Place small treats and treasures in these lovely heart boxes with nostalgic vintage-style images and ribbon edging.
7. Gypsy Caravan – A lovely gift for either a boy or a girl this set is whimsical and cute. Ithas a richly printed cover and a small hitch on back to attach a wagon train. The wagon is pulled by a solid wood horse and driven by a solid wood gypsy/pioneer/outlaw.
8. Heat Sailboat – Love this!! Give your little sweethearts a sweet sailboat. This little boat is sturdy enough for a small child and can be used in the tub, or any body of water. A safe and non-toxic alternative to plastic bath toys, and for outings to the puddle filled park.
9. Vintage Hair Clips – These are fun and practical with a vintage feel for your classy little lady. They are hand-crafted from vintage Japanese silk kimonos and are shaped as “ume” or Japanese plum blossoms. Plum blossoms are a favorite motif in Japan representing early springtime. Each hair clip is one-of-a-kind.
Looking for some unique stocking stuffer ideas for the adults in your life that won’t break the bank or the planet? I have compiled a list of some of my favorites. I am not big on cutesy stuff or novelty items that have no real function in every day life. Yeah, that Santa that poops jelly beans is cute but I would not want to find it in my stocking. Impractical items just seem like a waste to me so everything on this list is functional and would be most welcome in the life of your treehugger. Or perhaps you are the treehugger and the recipient is not, don’t sweat, these stocking stuffers will work for them too.
Glass Straws: Very functional yet small enough for stocking and beautiful to boot. If you buy a set then you have an affordable gift for 4-5 people too. Greenies will love them and those who are not will be intrigued. I am a long time user and it is hard to go back to anything else once you see how lovely it is to drink a smoothie through a piece of glass artwork!
If you are worried about breakage try stainless steel drink straws.
Lip Balm: Perfect for men or women this time of year. I recommend Eco Lips.
Seeds: The gardeners in your life will love heirloom seeds varieties.
Recipes: This could be a sneaky way to help the recipient get healthier or maybe you know they will enjoy Aunt Esther’s peanut brittle you modified with a healthy twist. Either way you might want to get some blank recipe cards, fill them out, and give the gift of healthier, greener food!
Spices: Foodies will love to try new and exotic spices. Buy a bottle or two (in glass or stainless tins) and maybe attach the aforementioned recipe cards for meal ideas.
Gloves: Hand knit gloves can be found on Etsy and in stores. Try to find some made with organic materials or recycled materials. I found these fun Sock Monkey Fingerless Knit Gloves on Amazon (recycled materials).
Journaling Materials – Have a writer or journal lover you need to gift? Try some eco pens and poo poo paper (yes it IS paper made from animal dung).
Rechargeable Batteries: Did you give someone an electronic gift or give one to their child, that requires batteries such as a gaming system, clock, ect. Well this is the perfect companion gift…batteries that they can keep using over and over, saving resources and money! I like Eneloop personally and this charger and 4 battery pack is perfect for Christmas stockings.
Pine Cone Fire Starters: Make them yourself or buy them but if your giftee has a fireplace and loves a roaring fire these make a practical gift.
Eco Perfumes: Small yet fragrant and healthy for the wearer. I wrote a post with a few ideas here.
Soy or Beeswax Candles: Many people LOVE candles and soy and beeswax are better alternatives. Natural fragrance is ideal too. I am really liking Mrs. Meyers Clean Day candles for gifting. They come in a nifty tin that is perfect for a stocking and they are made of soy. This brand also sells glass candles with lids.
Do you have any ideas to share?
Zulily is a deal site that offers amazing prices on everything from kids toys and clothing to women’s clothing, shoes, and home decor. It also happens to be one of my very favorite places to shop because the prices are amazing AND they often have greener product options mixed in among the more conventional. In November I bought some workout clothing, a couple toys for my my youngest kiddo, and some kitchen items like my now beloved cast iron skillet. I consider myself to be a VERY savvy online shopper and I know good deals when I see them so Zulily keeps me coming back often.
Zulily asked me to make a Christmas wish lift of the stuff I would love to get for the holiday and I will happily oblige. This is some of the stuff they are currently selling that makes the grade for me…
Vibram Shoes – Okay sure I already have two pair but who could begrudge me a new pair in a color I don’t have? I wear them to exercise in but also to just where around town and around the house. They are so comfortable and healthy for your feet.
Camellia Market Tote – It could be my purse, my gym bag, my poolside bag or a shopping bag. I only know that I love it and it is made of natural materials.
The Sassimi Black Lanai Eco-Chic Flare Lounge Set made of bamboo. It look comfy and yet attractive, not at all frumpy. It is not all that easy to find pajamas and lounge wear (for adults) made from sustainable materials either. That it looks rather sexy gives it bonus points too!
The Green Tea Lover Eco Cup is adorable! I am not much of a tea drinker but I would love to start making some and bringing it with me for chilly winter days. My husband has his coffee and I always feel so left out! The cup is made of ceramic and silicone.
The Wok is ceramic covered and something I have been wanting for awhile…a Wok that is. I want it so my husband (who has the Asian cooking genius) can make me a delicious Asian stir fry for lunch every now and again.
Have you tried Zulily yet??
Gift wrapping paper with all it’s bright colors and beautiful design is often hard to resist. Yet it is also expensive and wasteful to produce and use. Why use resources to produce beautiful paper that will end up ripped to shreds and thrown away only a few weeks later? Should we just go without wrapping the gifts that we give to others? Most people like to give gifts with some sort of embellishment so you may want to consider cheaper “recycled” gift wrap options. Thoughtful touches and embellishments to your gift can be accomplished by reusing everyday items. The gift should be the one to do the talking right, not the paper it is wrapped in? Of course!
When wrapping a gift for a child or the big kid at heart, save the funny section from your Sunday newspaper. This will make your gift interesting, fun and may even cause the gift recipient to chuckle.
Consider reusing old hat boxes, wooden cigar boxes or tins as gift boxes. If you do this, all you need to do is add some old curly ribbon and wrap it around the box or tin and voila! This will give your gift a unique classic look.
Other eco-friendly options include reusing wallpaper, maps and magazine pages. The use of brown paper grocery bags as gift wrap will give you the chance to bring out the artist in you (or your child). In order to this, grab a handful of colored pens, crayons and stencils and create your own designs.
Many people wrap gifts using reusable items. This includes squares of colorful fabric or old vibrant sheets, which you can often find at thrift stores. The use of blankets and scarves will make your gift unique, eco-friendly and beautiful. The recipient can also use the wrapping! If you are unsure of how to make fabric wrapped gifts attractive check out Wrapagami: The Art of Fabric Gift Wraps a book with complete instructions and tutorials for fabric gift wrap works of art.
Use pieces of nature to accent gifts, these items include: seashells, leaves, holly berries, painted pine cones, and other objects of nature. Highlights these accents by using bright red ribbon, light use of glue and add glitter to give your gift some sparkle. If you need tissue paper, use shredded material from a paper shredder.
Don’t let the cost of gift wrapping, or its wastefulness, take the fun out of it for you. There are many eco-friendly ways to wrap gifts. The DIY (do it yourself) approach will allow you to be creative, reuse old items and have fun. Tis the season to be creative, save money, and do something good for the environment.
If you are looking for something easier, perhaps something ready made but no less green and reusable, I like some of these options:
Set of 3 Santa’s Large Fabric Christmas Gift Bags - Can be reused year after year to wrap your children’s gifts and they say ‘From Santa”. Too cute!
Reusable bags! If you bought Disney toys then look for a Disney tote bag to to put the gifts in…same for Angry Birds, Star Wars, or Lego. For adults there are obviously more fashionable prints. Then depending on age, the recipient has a convenient toy storage bag or a grocery shopping bag after they unwrap their gift.
Reuseit also has tons of very pretty fabric and reusable wrapping ideas, like the ones below. Check them out too!
For more eco holidays ideas check out the Green Holiday Blog Carnival at Retro Housewife Goes Green.
When I walk through the holiday gift isles of conventional stores I often have to snicker about all the items spotlighted on shelves that I would personally find absolutely useless if I found them under my tree. At best they are just useless to me, at worst they are toxic to my health and that of the planet. Gift baskets full of smelly mainstream soaps and lotions with body glitter come to mind, heavily wrapped in plastic of course. Also those giant makeup and perfume gifts sets that are so prevalent. These are the type of products that will often get buried in a box inside the linen closet. Or maybe they get left under the bathroom sink never to be touched again until a few years down the road when we wonder what the shelf life is on blue eye shadow…
I say bypass all that crap and get your loved ones and friends something outside of the mainstream…something that will help them to be their healthiest and most vibrant selves. We can give gifts that nourish our bodies and spirits and those are the gifts that are truly meaningful. They tell our loves ones in no uncertain terms that we want them to be around for a very long time.
The gifts I have compiled below will be most welcome in the home’s of most healthy living enthusiasts. They are always on the lookout for new ways to get and stay healthy. I would adore any one of these personally. Yet these gifts will also work for those that haven’t jumped on the health and fitness bandwagon yet. They might just find the encouragement they need!
Healthy Living and Giving Guide
Squatty Potty – Okay maybe this wasn’t the best one to start off with. Your loved one might think you are nuts if they aren’t already into the sometimes quirky ways of healthy living enthusiasts. But if they are into heath they will know just important it is to have healthy bowels and this little potty gadget is designed to help them have healthy eliminations.
Never says love like giving someone a product that will help them poo better right? If this one isn’t brave enough for you though you might try a Colema Board instead.
Happy Light – Give the gift of happiness by gifting a mood light. These lights have been shown to be very effective in treating seasonal depression due to lack of sunlight during the winter months. I have one myself that I put on my work desk. I swear by it.
Magnesium Oil or Bath Flakes – Most of us are magnesium deficient and it causes a whole host of problems…fatigue, insomnia, menstrual cramps, migraines, and tooth decay just to name a few. Taking supplements helps but our bodies have a hard time absorbing this all important mineral orally so topical application should be done as well. Just spray some oil on before showering or take a bath with the flakes. The results are amazing.
I recommend the Ancient Minerals brand. It’s all I use.
Earthing Starter Kit – Remember my post about Earthing and how our physical disconnect from the soil is actually hurting us and making us sick?? Well this great kit gives you a mat that you can put under your computer desk or wherever you frequently sit and a sheet for your bed. They “ground” you to the earth and heal your bioelectrical circuitry.
Healthy Kitchen Gadgets – Giving gifts that will the make healthier eating and cooking more easy and accessible just make good sense. I have a long list of recommendations for Real Foods Kitchen items that I think all healthy kitchens need. It has everything from my beloved Vita-Mix, to cast iron, to Ball jars. On my list for this year? The Cuppow lid that fits on Ball jars and turns them into sippy cups for the whole family.
Many of these items can be found second hand too. I often get vintage pyrex from family during the holidays because they know I love it and prefer it to plastic or teflon coated baking dishes. See below some of my early Christmas presents to myself…Fire King bakeware and a foodie oil painting, bought at auction.
Hand Crafted Kitchen Gifts – Not all items need to be mass produced though. There are some items you can make yourself or buy from craft sellers. My picks? A hand sewn cast iron skillet handle cover or a tea and coffee cozy.
Water Alkilizer - Cancer thrives in an acidic body and acid does a number on our cells in general. This is why it is important that we eat a variety of alkaline foods to counteract the acids ones we may eat (meat, grains, dairy). It is also important to make sure our water is on the alkaline side and these nifty filters do just that.
Water Purifier – Taking a step back it is also important to make sure our drinking and cooking water is healthy and free of contaminants that make us sick like lead and chlorine. I have and love the Zuvo UV/Ozone Water Purator Water Filtration System.
Salt Lamp - These lamps are made of natural salt crystal from the Himalayan mountains and they work much like the air ionizer/purifiers that I have in my home. They purify the air by emitting negative ions into the air and the light is therapeutic to reduce stress and increase energy. They are gorgeous too!
Fitness Equipment – Even the most avid gym goers occasionally like to get their sweat on at home. Some good gifts include cast iron kettlebells or maybe an eco yoga mat for yoga or doing planks.
Healthy Cookbooks – You may need to know a little about the diet of the giftee but a healthy cookbook is always a good bet. For vegans and vegetarians I recommend Crazy Sexy Kitchen. For meat lovers I recommend Practical Paleo and Paleo Slow Cooking. For Asian food lovers I recommend A Spoonful of Ginger.
Gift Certificates for Healthier Living – Lots of options here! Try a GC for grassfed meat stores, coconut oil products, supplements suppliers, gym memberships, Whole Foods, or even a CSA Membership.
I hope this helps you find the perfect gift. Skip the glitter body lotion and go for something that promotes health and wellness instead. Or if you are commonly the recipient of such gifts, forward this post to your family and friends. Enjoy!