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If you ask people what is important to them when it comes to being kind to the earth, you’ll hear an array of answers. Going vegan, conserving energy, reducing waste…they are all important.
The holidays can be a time for a lot of waste, with lavish gifts and meals. I’ve done some research to create a list of gifts and stocking stuffers that will make this Christmas merry, bright, and a little more socially responsible.
Farm Fresh Clothing is a family owned company that creates 100% organic cotton shirts while using eco-friendly, water based inks. The line is very simple, featuring top quality clothing that serves as great staple pieces for your closet. The fabric is smooth, soft, and washes very well, proof that sustainable is practically perfect in every way.
Natural Life is a bohemian style store that sells handcrafted accessories and clothing. Each piece is completely unique. Their dresses are soft and versatile with a generally loose fit, which is great for all body types.
Mata Traders is a design-driven fair trade clothing brand dedicated to help end global poverty. The company’s stylish, colorful clothes and jewelry are made by artisans in India and Nepal, providing a stable source of income for workers and their families.
Evolution Salt co.
Salt Lamps make rooms cozy, and balance the positive ions released by electronics. Evolution Salt lamps have natural cut, stone-like shapes, or more unusual options, like spheres or raindrops. The salt is pulled from more than a mile deep in Himalayan salt mines, then chunks are secured to rosewood. An open hole remains in the bottom for a light to be inserted for warming and releasing the lamp’s benefits.
When you discover chemicals you are exposed to when snuggling up in typical brand name sheets, you’ll understand the importance of going organic. Coyuchi or Syona sheets wash well, are soft and come in a variety of winter colors. Plush Saranoni blankets are a nice touch if giving bedding as gift; the patterns are unique and can be personalized.
The Kanata Blanket Company has many variations of faux fur, cozy, warm blankets. Their vintage throw looks as if it is made with leather and fur, but is actually vegan!
Kleen Kanteen pushes to rid our environment of the 500 billion plastic bottles we toss in landfills every year. Made with all sustainable materials, Kleen Kanteen containers come in all shapes and sizes, keeping contents hot for up to 30 hours, and cold for 100 hours. Even the coloring is natural.
YogaRat has a variety of fun packaged gifts for yoga lovers. Materials are eco-friendly while remaining affordable. The Rat Pad is a multiuse cushion for floor style workouts. Their yoga towel has “grip” feel and can assist in prevent slips during poses.
It’s ski season, and everyone needs to have proper layering gear before hitting the slopes, something I learned the hard way; a story for another time. You’ll need a base “thermal underwear” layer, an insulating coat, water resistant pants, a shell layer and great boots. EVO is an outdoor outfitter that gives back, investing in non-profit organizations, engaging with their communities and even offering paid volunteer time off for employees.
Cate and Levi
Itching get away from the mainstream toys aimed at kids? Where did the creativity go? Cate and Levi's “Be the Maker” hand puppet is a beginner’s level hand puppet kit that allows parent and child to create the toy together. Instructions are simple and materials are 100% recycled.
One gift I always received on Christmas as a child was a cozy blanket and a tin of popcorn. During my break from school, I’d cuddle my blanket, eat popcorn and watch movies. Popcornopolis has many fun flavors without artificial colors or sweeteners, which can be purchased in a cone or a festive tin.Tins can be upcycled as ornament storage.
Oliberte treats every employee with respect, protecting the rights of workers in Africa. They have provided substantial jobs to those in poverty, and profits from their product go back into creating more jobs. The quality of the product is as solid as their values; each shoe is made with Fair Trade and sustainable materials. The Toria women’s boot is a rustic lace-up that slides on easily and provides a protective, comfortable fit…especially in the winter. The Yabela pull-on boot reaches well above the ankle if more coverage is needed.
LOWA Boots are handcrafted in Europe, and are “cleanly” manufactured, following tight regulations on minimizing waste and pollution. Employees are also paid fairly. The result is a strong, earth friendly hiking boot for men and women. Veering away from fashion boots, the sporty footwear is more functional, but still attractive.
For the hiker or adventurer on your list, IceBug boots are made to have extra traction. While aimed at hikers and adventurist, these could serve the elderly well during the winter.
Bath and Body
New Leaf Konjac Sponges are effective in gently polishing and cleansing skin. New Leaf’s Bamboo Charcoal sponges exfoliate and infuse skin with minerals, while being extremely gentle. Soap isn’t necessary but can be used. The charcoal variation is particularly perfect for acne prone individuals.
Rainwater Botanicals products are locally sourced and organic. They started out making a popular healing salve, then things took off from there. Pumpkin chai is a festive scent, which you can find in creams and all-natural perfume.
Detoxing during the holidays is important due to stress, and maybe a few too many cookies. Zoe Natural Creations Dirty Dude salt bath pulls out impurities and reduces stress, with its main ingredients being a variation of salts, black lava, and soothing oils.
Many Hershey’s products have artificial flavors, so I found different options. Instead of buying mass-produced chocolate, try a quality fair trade brand, such as Equal Exchange, which also offers coffee, tea and other gifts.
Packaged in recyclable material, Glee Gum uses chicle, which is sustainably harvested, meaning trees aren’t chopped down. No artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners either. I’m a fan of their good old fashioned bubble gum.
B True Beauty Eyelash Enhancer is the perfect mascara replacement. With our makeup forward society, it’s exciting to see a line that enhances natural beauty. All natural, organic ingredients come in a tube identical to mascara, and thicken lashes. One stocking-friendly tube lasts for 6 months.
Coastal Classic Creations offers natural lipsticks with simple ingredients, and has a low hazard rating on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database. The less artificial coloring that ends up in those stockings, the better!
Lauren Brooke Cosmetics offers a full line of make-up products, each item being cruelty free and highly above EWG standards. Foundations and eye shadows apply smoothly, and lip colors are naturally vibrant.
I hope this gets your brain turning so you can finish your shopping and have more time to make snow angels, eat cookie dough and snuggle. Merry Christmas!
Karyn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.