Holistic Valentine’s Day Ideas

by Tiffany in Green Holidays

Holistic Valentine's Days Ideas and Tips

The term holistic (or wholistic) refers to addressing the whole person…mentally, socially, and physically. We usually think of it in terms of alternative medicine that treats the whole person and not just a symptom or a disease as does conventional medicine. Valentine’s Day though is a wonderful time to embrace this concept as well – to embrace the heart, mind, and body of your sweetie. Here are some ideas for a holistic Valentine’s Day:

1. Go to a holistic spa for a treatment together, or buy such a treatment for your lover. At a holistic spa, you typically receive a massage of some sort – Swedish massages, hot stone, or reflexology perhaps?  Some spas offer beauty treatments and other pampering, romantic treatments. If you think your male partner may not be into spa stuff just sit and watch the movie Mansome with him first. If Justin Bateman and Will Arnett are down with it, how can he not be??? One of the best date nights my hubby and I had was a session at an acupressure clinic after dinner and before our movie. So relaxing!

2. Chocolate is holistic and appropriate for this romantic holiday if you get the right kind. It has to be very dark chocolate to reap health benefits and organic and fair trade if at all possible to address the social issues of making/eating chocolate. You would be horrified (I hope) to have blood diamonds but did you also know that the chocolate industry is is heavily involved in slave labor? Remember…dark, fair trade, and if possible, organic.

3. Prepare a romantic meal for two with local, organic food. A holistic philosophy embraces humanity’s connection to nature, and organic food grown locally, with its respect for natural methods and the environment, supports that idea. This is also a great budget idea if you cannot afford to drop $200 on a fancy dinner, which probably isn’t going to be organic or local. If you want to watch a movie at home you can always use Netflix to stream socially conscious movies too. There are many in their catalog.

4. Candles help set the mood on Valentine’s Day, whether it’s for a special meal or just time together. In keeping with the holistic theme, use soy candles or beeswax candles that are more environmentally responsible and non-toxic.

5. Natural essential oils can help set the mood with pure scents. Use these instead of artificially-scented candles or other synthetic smells. For ideas check out my post on Easy Ways to Use Healing Aromatherapy Oils in the Home, it has some ideas for scenting the home with plant oils.

6. Roses may be traditional gifts, but cut roses are rather wasteful. Give a live rose bush instead – the miniature, potted roses look very pretty and can be kept in a container or planted in the garden in the spring. This is the kind of gift that keeps on giving long after valentines. Other live plant ideas include indoor plants that will enhance air quality, or a tree seedling that can be planted in the spring.

7. Not all gifts have to be something you can hold in your hand. Give a gift that addresses your partner’s love of social justice by donating to a good cause in their name. Might I recommend WaterAid?

8. Give your significant other some homemade beauty aids, like a salt scrub or flax seed hair gel (mix 1 tablespoon flax seeds with 1 cup water, microwave for 2 minutes, steep for at least an hour, then strain). A homemade beauty recipe, holistic care book would be good too. For women I recommend Green Beauty Recipes and for men Whole Man: Unleashing the Potential of the Modern Man. Both are excellent.

9. Speaking of homemade, consider making your own Valentine’s treats that are healthy and holistic. Dip strawberries in organic chocolate, make homemade fudge, chocolate nests, or make these yummy Peanut Butter Carob Balls (can use almond butter instead of peanut butter too). Make your own pink icing with natural ingredients (cream cheese, egg whites, whipped cream, pureed strawberries, cherry juice, etc.) to make it more festive.

10. Purchase Valentine’s cards made from recycled paper, or make your own. Get creative and use scrap paper, or make your own paper from old newspapers and junk mail that have been shredded, soaked, and blended into pulp. Add some seeds to your homemade paper and you can plant them afterwards.

Have a happy and holistic Valentine’s Day!!


Unique and Vintage Valentine’s Gifts for Kids

by Tiffany in Green Holidays

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:

vintage valentine gifts ideas for kids

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.


Eco Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Adults

by Tiffany in Green Holidays

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?


My Zulily Shopping Wish List

by Tiffany in Green Holidays

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??

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

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Eco Friendly Options for Gift Wrapping

by Tiffany in Green Holidays

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!