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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
There are lots and lots of green toys on the market. I have posted about hundreds of options over the years and I have a constantly updated Green Christmas Gift Guide that highlights many of them. I like green toys from small family owned businesses and I like to support the larger companies who happen to make sustainable toys. More and more though I look for things that are unique and not likely to be found on any bestseller list on Amazon. Here are some of the gems I found this year at one of my favorite stores…Magic Cabin.
Ice Cap Game – Kids love games and this is one is especially cute but I like it because it may just be a great primer to teaching even the littlest ones about climate change. Players must balance some polar cuties (whales, bears, seals) on a precarious glacier, being careful not to upset the stack. Made of eco-friendly beechwood!
Gingerbread Baking Kit – Made of felt and oh so cute…much better than the crap plastic toys from Walmart that get squished and tossed in a month or cause kids to lose interest because they are so fake looking.
Cloth Baby Dolls – These are of Swedish design and made of cloth. I love that they are weighted to make them more realistic, like holding an actual baby. They are just flippin adorable too. I love their clothing and the fact that they can suck their thumbs. These are classic.
Most of the ornaments you see in big box stores are made of plastic. The shelf life of plastic (uh, forever) makes it a poor choice for those who want to keep the holidays green. Plus there is just something so cold and unholiday-like about plastic.
Better department stores are big on glass ornaments and that is a great alternative but they are pricier and generally not as favorable an idea for those with children and/or pets. Even storing them from year to year can mean wasted money via broken ornaments.
So what does that leave us with? Though homemade borax ornaments are fun and easy it typically means fiber ornaments and paper ornaments mostly. These options don’t have to be boring though. There are some options out there that have just as much style and pizzazz as plastic without the cheapo gaudiness. Many of them are throwbacks to simpler times when holidays were less about commercialism and more about time spent with loved ones and in celebration of the season.
Is it seven swans a swimming or seven maids a milking? Hard to keep straight. These hand-painted ornaments can be your reminder, with illustrations from “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Made of paper mache with a plastic hanging loop.
Every parent probably worries just a little about how much candy their kids are eating at Halloween. This is especially true since it seems to get stretched out beyond just the one day…parties at school, community parties, and of course the night you all go Trick or Treating and you literally go door to door begging for candy. Add it all up and they consume tons of candy this time of year.
We can of course get creative and come up with alternatives and I have many of these tricks in my arsenal to help reduce the candy loot in my own’s children’s lives whilst not being seen as an ogre mom. One of those tricks this year revolves around one of their favorite video games and a clever partnership between the ADA and PopCap Games. I happen to love this game as well so I was more than a little psyched to see this campaign.
Anyone wishing to give away PopCap’s hit game Plants vs. Zombies instead of sweets for Halloween this year can download free game coupons (redeemable for the full PC/Mac edition of Plants vs. Zombies) here. The game sells for almost $20 normally so this is a fabulous “Treat”! The download code can be used any time between October 30th and November 10th.
As you can see above they also have packets of trading cards you can give out too. They have the game code and various cards. I’m stocked up for Halloween. How about you?
Hi there! I am a green, paleo, crossfit mom of three. I am concerned about health, wellness, and sustainability issues. This is my life. This what I am passionate about. Come get to know me and feel free to connect. Enjoy!