I get invited to a lot of baby showers and that means I buy a lot of gifts for new moms. I think it’s really important to give eco-friendly gifts—better for the baby, mom and the environment.
To buy eco-friendly baby shower gifts always choose items:
• • · made from 100% natural materials that are chemical free, or
• • · made from recycled products, or
• • · that are Fair Trade products, or
• • · that are reusable or recyclable.
Most baby shower gifts fall into three general categories: practical, sentimental, or something for mom. Here are some suggestions and guidelines for finding eco-friendly gifts in any of these categories.
New moms to be often register for practical things like bottles, strollers, and baby monitors. Shopping for something off the registry is courteous and always appreciated. Go eco-friendly when you can. For example, choose something like clothing. Often the eco-friendly choice is higher quality—and frankly, more expensive—so mom will appreciate the upgrade.
Always look for fabrics that are 100% natural, chemical-free fibers. For toys, stay away from plastic and synthetic materials and opt for wooden or other natural materials. Another great gift idea is natural baby skin care products that are gentle for babies and great for the environment.
Sentimental gifts are a good choice if you have a close relationship with mom or she already has most of the necessities. Everyone always coos over handmade blankets, hats and at baby showers. These are a great eco-friendly choice because, of course, you have control over the types of materials you use to make them.
High quality books are a wonderful choice that will be used time and time again for years to come. Select books with particular meaning to you, or from this great list: Building Baby’s First Library: 25 Must-Have Books. Be sure to write a personal note on the inside cover with the date.
Personalized gifts are always a hit at baby showers. You can go with a classic gift like an engraved silver baby spoon, or add personalized embroidery to onesies or blankets.
Something for mom
Sometimes, a gift for mom is the way to go. Consider things like reusable nursing pads, a breast pump, comfortable all natural PJs, a baby care book, or a basket of all natural spa products to pamper herself.
Gift certificates for a massage or spa service will remind her to take care of herself which many new moms forget to do. Another great idea is giving her a gift card for a healthy meal delivery service that she can use after the baby is born when she’s going to be too tired to cook for herself.
What if mom isn’t into eco-friendly?
While it is important to look for eco-friendly baby gifts, you also want to respect what mom likes and values. Be sure to consider these questions:
• · Is she registered? If so, consider buying something off the registry.
• • · Does she have other children? If so, she likely has some staples of parenthood already.
• • · Is the baby a boy or girl? If the mother doesn’t know, or isn’t telling, you’ll need to stick with gender neutral gifts.
• • · Has mom picked a nursery theme yet? If so, you might look for something that coordinates.
You don’t want to force eco-friendly on her so if she’s not into cloth diapers, by all means, don’t give them to her. You don’t need to give bags of pampers either though. Instead select something like onesies or bedding, based on the answers to the questions above, where you have lots of great eco-friendly options.
When it comes to gifts I am all about the experience rather than “the stuff”. In fact, unless it is vintage Pyrex or Le Creuset I think I would rather not have to find a place for new trinkets, gadgets, or other products. I try to live with simplicity and minimalism in mind. I am constantly decluttering and pairing down. Accepting gifts that I don’t absolutely need makes me a bit anxious. It makes me that way because I am worried about where I will keep it (whatever it is) that is out of the way and I am worried that if I ultimately decide NOT to keep it, I will be wracked with guilt. I appreciate the thought and I adore you for trying but stuff just doesn’t push my happiness buttons.
So what does push my buttons? LIFE. Living life.
It may sounds simplistic but I am a simple gal. I love to experience new things and make memories. For that reason I would much rather have that gift card to AMC Theaters rather a gift card to Old Navy. I would much rather have a voucher for ziplining than I would a new purse.
For $25 or less I can dance the waltz, ride into the sunset on a horse, or try my skills with a sword. For $25 or less I can stuff myself with sushi, treat myself to bubble tea after my workouts every day for a week, or maybe even step into a kickboxing ring. And that is just this week. Next week I might have a whole different lineup of adventures to choose from. How so?
When Nerd Wallet asked moms what they would like to get for Mother’s Day under $25 I decided to go with a Groupon gift certificate or an actual Groupon deal purchased for me as a gift, ether would make me happy. Why? It’s easy really. Groupon allows you to try something new (food, entertainment, life skill, spa experience, etc) and support a local business (also very important to me). I don’t have stuff cluttering up my house and I have something fun to do…a new memory to make and treasure. I am also somewhat of a Groupon junkie already.
I took a quick look at what is available in my locale and saw these opportunities (all for $25 or less):
A haircut and highlights
Seafood dinner for two
A mani pedi
Ballroom dancing classes
Bubble Tea (Love!!)
An evening of bowling
A canvas painting class
Horseback riding lessons
A fencing lesson
A vegetarian dinner
More sushi… cannot go wrong with sushi
As I said, good food, good fun, or just some special pampering and me time. It is all available with a Groupon gift card.
What you rates higher for you? Physical gifts or experiences?
If you’re a tea drinker, you may be wondering what to do with all those leftover tea bags. This has only recently become a concern in our house. Before we started brewing our own Kombucha (fermented tea) we were just occasional tea drinkers, maybe a cup of sleepy time tea all around once a week or so. My 12 year old would also make iced tea here and there. We just composted our tea bags. As the quantity grew though I decided we might find some other uses for them. Here are a few things you can do with your used tea bags:
#1 – Compost. Tea bags compost beautifully in your garden or compost bin. Simply add them to your compost heap and let nature takes its course. If you have rosees you can also break open the bags and spread around the base of your bushes. Roses LOVE tea!
#2 – Under eye soother. Used tea bags, particularly chamomile bags, can be cooled and placed on achy, puffy eyes for a wonderful soothing relaxant. Works great to soothe pink eye too.
#3 – Use on sun burns. Peppermint tea bags are great for sunburns. Let them cool and then place the bags on the burnt areas. You can also place the bags in your bath water and soak!
#4 Dry Poison Ivy. Use a wet tea bag to rub on affected areas and allow to dry. This helps dry the area out so that it can heal faster.
#5 – Use on cuts and razor burn. Used tea bags are also great on cuts and bruises. You can use any variety but green tea, peppermint and chamomile have good soothing qualities.
#6 Scented sachets – If you like strong, fragrant herbal teas then open the bags after brewing and spread the contents on newspaper to dry. Add the dried tea to homemade perfume/potpourri sachets.
#7 Add to potted plants. The bags can be added to pots just above the drainage layer at the bottom. They will retain water allowing you to water less and they will leach valuable nutrients into the soil for the roots.
#8 Clean house. You can rub tea bags on mirrors and windows to get rid of hand prints and smudges. Tea can also be used to clean the toilet. Just give the bags a second soaking in the loo and 30 minutes later, scrub as normal. No chemicals!
#9 Soak smelly feet – Add multiple tea bags to some warm water and soak feet for 20 minutes. Perfect for when the kiddos play outside all day with no socks on!
#10 Hair conditioner – Re-soak your tea bags in some warm water for 10-20 minutes. Use that water to do a final rinse of your hair. This will condition it and make it super soft.
Do you have any creative reuses of your own to share?
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time then you know I am a big time movie fan. My first job was at a movie theater (which I then became manager of) and this was by design because a job perk that I got to see as many free movies as I wanted…me and unlimited friends and family. For years I saw just about every movie released. I often think it would be nice to get a movie theater job again because movies have become so expensive. Heck, I would gladly take on a part time job picking up popcorn and mopping up sticky soda pop if it means I get tons of free movies again. I have been cleaning up snot, puke, and other gross stuff as a mom for years. That would be like a vacation.
For me it is all about the story. Movies transport me to another world and I get to live someone else’s exciting, dangerous, and inspiring life for a couple ours. I love my own life too, don’t get me wrong, but ever since I was a kid I have just loved living in the fantasy worlds created in books and movies. I have already started my mental list of movies that I absolutely must see this summer and at the tippy top is the animated eco film called EPIC. I am sure it will be the block-buster movie of the summer for families.
It looks to be the ultimate in story, fantasy, and fun while also having a hugely important message about the environment and stewardship. We have to get messages like this across to kids in a way that really reaches them and resonates with them. It is getting harder to do with all the distractions that abound today but I think this movie will accomplish it. If I can pair my love of movies with my passion for environmentalism AND take my kids along for the ride…well sign me up for opening day!
EPIC is a 3D CG adventure comedy that reveals a fantastical world unlike any other. It is made by the same geniuses who brought us ICE AGE and RIO (which we all adore) and it tells the story of an ongoing battle between the forces of good, who strive to keep the natural world alive, and the forces of evil, who want to destroy it. A young girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe and she teams up with an elite band of leaf warriors and a crew of comical, larger-than-life figures, to save their world…and ours as well. This film stars Beyoncé Knowles, Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Christoph Waltz and Amanda Seyfried. It comes out May 24th.
Team ENERGY STAR is currently running a promotion (much like they did last year) to get kids excited about energy efficiency and they are doing a clever tie in with EPIC. They are hoping to help kids associate their own actions to save energy with protecting the planet, just like the heroes in the movie. Maybe they won’t find themselves in a fantastical world where they have to fight alongside leaf warriors but their actions DO matter. They DO make a difference.They can do their part at home, every day. This ENERGY STAR initiative is really about empowering kids (and families) to protect the climate and reduce pollution with easy, money-saving actions.
So how do you get started? Well, you probably already care about these issues and are working towards energy conservation as a family already. To join ENERGY STAR though and make it a focus this summer, visit their web site and download all the interactive materials they have for us, including a nifty Action Kit and a Home Check-Up list. Children are also encouraged to share their energy-saving stories. If they decide to do so then they will become eligible to win some great energy-saving electronics that further reinforce the message that saving energy can change the world.
So are you ready to make it a team ENERGY STAR summer and see the movie EPIC as a family? I know we are!
Watch the trailer below…
DISCLOSURE: I will receive four tickets to see EPIC in exchange for writing about this amazing initiative.
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!