My Favorite Green Gifts

There are so many places to find unique and eco-friendly holiday gifts and projects that we never have space for all of them in Natural Home. Our November/December issue featured a lot of great ideas, but I thought I would supplement them here with a few of my favorites:

1. This site is just awesome. Take a look at the homepage and you will find beautiful recycled-glass ornaments, a cute clutch made of recycled billboards, classy cufflinks made of vintage typewriter keys (perfect for your favorite editor!) and a Movable Lights Menorah made of stone and beeswax candles. One item I ordered from the site last year was a cuff bracelet made of an old Beatles record. With everything from décor to furniture to pet items, the company’s products are affordable, funky and earth-friendly.

2. You may have seen the Terrakeramik tea pot we featured in the November/December issue, but I wanted to mention this company again here. Their lead-free, natural and oh-so-stylish kitchenware is fired using a special energy-efficient process. The company also uses recycled paper and packing materials, is fueled by renewable energy and uses nontoxic glazes. Some of my favorites include the coffee mugs and the colorful candle holders.

3. There are more and more sustainable clothing outfitters out there with stuff that is green and super trendy and stylish. The nice thing about organic clothing is that, in general, it’s made with higher quality materials, meaning it will last longer and hold up better than other items. Since I can’t decide which company is coolest, I’ll list a couple of my favorites: Loyale, a NYC-based company offers really fabulous pieces in organic cotton and bamboo knits. And another that’s a little on the expensive side but worth it for classic dresses and coats is Mon Petit Oiseau, an L.A. company that uses all-sustainable materials, energy-efficient fixtures and light bulbs and has banned bottled water, instead supplying each employee with a reusable water canteen.

4. Making gifts look great for the holidays is always an issue–I want to wrap my gifts but not with wasteful, not to mention often cheap- and generic-looking, discount gift wrap. Paporganics makes really lovely organic, hemp and recycled-content wrapping papers and greeting cards. It’s a little expensive–about $5 for two 24-by-36-inch sheets–but it’s also beautiful in print and texture. As we mentioned in our November/December article “Dreaming of a Greener Holiday,” reusing gift wrap is a great idea and one I really enjoy. Use old magazines and cut out photos, squares of old gift wrap or funny headlines and stories from newsprint to make your gifts a personalized collage. And it’s good in more than one way: I once spent quite a while wrapping a gift for my boyfriend that had magazine cut-outs of all sorts of things he liked. He said it was really cool and I stupidly said “yeah, I didn’t want to spend $4 on wrapping paper.” He said, “Oh, I thought you were putting extra time into my gift but really you’re just cheap!” I guess my point is that reusing old paper is a great idea whether you’re concerned about your gift’s appearance, the environment or just your pocketbook.

5. OK, my last favorite holiday gift item? Of course, a gift subscription to Natural Home magazine! I mean, I don’t just say this so the magazine will reach more people. Just think about it: This gift is totally earth-friendly, being printed on 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper; it keeps coming all year long; and it gives your friends and family easy ways to be good to both the environment and their own home and health. Yeah…it’s a good one.

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