General Gift tips
- Consider shopping at stores that operative in more environmentally friendly and socially conscious ways
- Rather than searching for a present that may never be used, could you give your time instead to help with decorating, gardening or a big clear-out?
- Do gift swaps as an alternative to conventional gift giving
Where to get your gifts
- Try flea markets, antique jewelery and vintage shops for gifts.
- Charity shops have some great quality finds -apart from being good value, they are recycled and, obviously, help charity! Plus it takes more effort and thought to find something rather than going into any old high street shop.
- Look at The Green Directory gift section
Crafty Ideas for Gifts
- The perfect gift for birdlovers is this Luxury Wild Bird Hamper which contains a wonderful assortment of treats to encourage birds into your garden this winter and help keep them cared for and fed.
- Give a funky pencil case or set of pens made from recycled tyres and CD boxes!
- Buy renewable energy for a friend. Or present him/her with a Stylish Pocket-size Solar Powered Charger!
- Assemble a Turn the Tide gift basket with compact fluorescent light bulbs, forms for getting rid of junk mail, delicious recipes and a note about how the recipients can log on to www.turnthetide.org and see exactly how much of a positive impact they're having on the environment.
- ABC Home & Planet Foundation allows altruistic givers to choose which cause their "gift of compassion" will benefit, from African rain-forest conservation to reading classes for Afghan girls. Donate money toward buying a cow, hen, goat, or chick through Heifer International, the Arkansas-based nonprofit that provides livestock and sustainable agriculture training to alleviate hunger and poverty in more than 45 countries.
- Global Warming Mug: Each mug is covered with a map of the world. When you pour in a hot beverage, the mug shows what happens when the world heats up and the oceans begin to rise... Land mass disappears before your very eyes!
- TOMS shoes: with each pair you buy ($38), a pair of shoes is donated to a child in Argentina on your behalf. And what's also comfortable to know is that the shoes are produced in Argentina under strict 'no sweatshop' criterias, made from local materials such as canvas and leather. Women, men and 'tiny' shoes are available (online as well as in stores across the US) in all sorts of colours and patterns as well as a limited hand painted graffiti edition by Tyler Ramsen.
- Restroom reader - toilet paper printer: this device hooks up to your computer wirelessly, and prints random RSS posts right to your toilet paper. Whats the eco aspect here? Well, it's printing on paper that you'll be flushing (or composting) anyway. It also integrates “biometrically” with your toilet bowl. When you sit, it’ll weigh you, and according to the result, deliver your customized feed.
- Give a gift of time - rather than searching for a present that may never be used, could you give your time instead to help with decorating, gardening or a big clear-out?
- Give an environmentally friendly, PVC-free Yoga mat made from plant-derived materials. See Gaiam Natural Rubber Yoga mat.
Gifts for kids
- Buy fairtrade toys www.fairtrade.org.uk
- Kids will have great fun with these bubbling and fizzing Tinti Bathwater Colours. Bathwater colours are made with panthenol, sea minerals and plant extracts. They only colour the water not skin or the bathtub.
- Get kids outdoors with this Animal Tracks Casting Kit, with which they can identify the track as well as take a cast of it.
- Give earth-friendly school supplies from Green Apple School Supplies
- Let your kids get hands-on experience of the frog life cycle with a Grow a frog kit. Your kids can watch the natural metamorphosis of a leopard frog who both hops on land and swims in water in a realistic rainforest-like habitat that provides a safe and healthy home for the tadpole.
- A Knitting Nancy for French Knitting is still a fascinating toy replete with childhood memories
- Appeal to your kids penchant for bugs as well as science-fiction with the AntWorks Space-Age Ant Farm, which was designed by NASA scientists to test ants in space. No food or water needed!
- Box of dress up clothes: Old dresses, high heel shoes, cowboy boots, collared shorts, and millions of other fun outfit ideas can all be found at thrift or second-hand stores have great selections.
- Upside-Down Day: Let kids set the day’s agenda (with parental supervision). Take off your watch, wear pajamas under your coat to the movies, eat dessert for breakfast, the list is endless when kid’s creativity
is in control.
Great Valentine Gift
A gift for the love of your life on Valentine's Day should tell that person how much you love them. Give them a gift that shows how much you love them by making the gift yourself. You are not only giving the gift itself, but also the time and thought that went into crafting the perfect gift for them.
When you think about the person you want to give a gift to, what is the first thing that springs to mind? Do you think of outdoors, quiet moments, reading, or some other activity? The gift that matches that thought is the one that will most closely match your love. After all, if you took the time to know them well enough to know what they like, then you know them well enough to find a gift that is perfectly matched to them.
If your friend likes to read, you could pick up the latest best seller, or a book you know they have been wanting, but haven't purchased for themselves yet. If you add a handmade bookmark your gift has just become even more special. Bookmarks can be made from almost anything: A flower pressed and then glued to a strip of cardboard. A crocheted bookmark is unique, and as individual as the giver. Perhaps you picture them playing cards, or a board game. How about making a wooden box to hold the game pieces? A deck of cards for them is thoughtful. Stitch a bag from denim or other heavy long wearing material, add his or her initials and you have created a wonderful gift for someone. To make the bag, simply cut a piece of material that is 2 inches wider and twice as long, plus 4 inches. Stitch up the sides, turn the open top over, and put in a one-inch hem, thread a ribbon through the hem to create a drawstring bag.
Cooks usually appreciate cookbooks, but instead of running out and buying the first cookbook you find, create one of your own. Copy favorite recipes that you think they might enjoy having. You could copy the recipes on to 3X5 cards, and add a small box to contain them, or print them up and put them in a binder. If you like add a kitchen gadget that you know they want, or would like. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
If the person is very sports orientated maybe a set of tickets to a game they would like to see, or an autograph of their favorite player. If you are reasonably skilled knit a sweater or cap with their favorite team logo on it. A scrap book with pictures of them playing football, or baseball. You could even create 'newspaper' articles to go with the pictures for a truly creative gift.
If you picture them sipping wine while watching an old movie, a bottle of good wine, a couple of glasses and a video of a favorite movie is perfect. Customize the wine glasses with their initials using paint formulated for glassware.
If your friend is a fan of puzzles, consider having a photo blown up, mounted and cut into a jigsaw puzzle. This would be fun, and unique. Or if you are good with words create a crossword puzzle, or word search puzzle that uses words that have special meaning for you both.
If you use your imagination you can create a meaningful gift that will remind the recipient of you every time they see it. Enjoy the chance to surprise someone with the perfect gift on Valentines day.
- Make gift tags from last year's Christmas cards
Other bits and bobs
- Give 'Save Cash and Save the Planet' by Friends of the Earth. www.foe.co.uk, save cash save the planet
- Buy from Eco-Labels
- Save cash and save the planet www.savecashsaveplanet.co.uk
- The Green Providers Directory links to hundreds of eco-friendly, unique gifts and gadgets not available in the shops