Waste Not! Green Gift Guide

December 11, 2012

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I am a wastophobe, which means December used to induce a Grinch-like symptom by which presents appeared to me as nothing but measured degrees of landfill potential. With this special neurosis, the delight of unwrapping a colorful, cozy scarf could easily be overwhelmed by the seconds-later guilt wrought by the pile of tissue paper, box, lid, wrapping paper, and god-forbid—ribbon—that it came in. Cantankerous, I know, but maybe you can relate. It's an unfortunate consequence of eco-consciousness, especially because in our proselytizing, we wish, of course, only to convey that at all times being green is pure bliss.*

But! It's fun to give. So I've changed. Now I simple seek gifts that may save lives, that keep on giving, or that can be used up, eaten up, recycled, or require no shipping or wrapping at all. And if one does, you can bet it's coming from me in a brown grocery bag-turned-wrapping-paper diddy, tied with threads of rattan, topped with a bougainvillea flower from my yard. Besides being bio-degradable, it is actually very pretty. Even I would like it. So here are some green, animal/planet/health-conscious gift ideas that won't end up in landfills, but rather do some good. Enjoy giving. Happy holidays!

1. "Adopt" an animal, $10 and up Sponsor a rescued farm animal or even an elephant (lunches and medical kits available, too) from a reputable organization in a friend or family member's name. This is so great for kids! The recipient receives an email, picture, or other sweet note, and you make two animals happy—the adoptee and your loved one.

2. Yoga Passport Card, $30 I can't think of anyone who couldn't benefit from a good yoga class. This gift certificate allows the recipient to try yoga classes at multiple participating studios in their neck of the woods. Or for the more ambivalent friend who might only attend one class and never go back, just Google "yoga + zip code" to find a local studio near them and a single-class gift certificate.

3. Longevity Warehouse Gift Card, $25 Encourage superfood ingestion! Get a gift card or pick out products at the Longevity Warehouse—raw cacao, medicinal mushrooms, and tons of other superfoods and super herbs from the highest-quality source you can trust. Check out the immensely-popular Immortal Machine drink mix—a blend of non-GMO vegan superfoods and herbs that tastes like a chocolately Yoo-hoo! Riiiidiiiiculously good...kids love it!

4. Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About, $1 and up Kevin Trudeau's best-selling book is a great buy for your friends who are doubtful about alternative health and healing. Geared toward the mainstream, this mind-boggling book is filled with simple lists and enumerated explanations that make it an easy read.

5. Food Matters Online Screening, $4.95 A must-see documentary you can watch online—accessible and captivating. Food Matters uncovers the "sickness industry," providing viewers scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally. Features interviews with key world leaders in nutrition and natural healing who discuss how the right kind of foods, supplements, and detoxification can be used to heal chronic illnesses.

6. Forks Over Knives DVD, $19.99 Forks over Knives examines how degenerative diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. The film focuses on the the personal journeys and work of Dr. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

7. Earthlings DVD or pack, $17.50 and up This documentary is a must-have in any vegan’s lending library. Buy a single DVD or a pack as a gift to other activists to have on hand for the veg-curious people they come across time and time again. Viewer discretion advised.

8. The 30-Day Vegan Challenge with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau A multimedia online program featuring premium written, audio, and video content to give recipients the support they need on their journey towards optimal wellness and compassion. Click “The Perfect Gift” button to purchase the program as a gift subscription for special recipients.

9. DIY Recipes Look up recipes for homemade vegan or raw granolas, jams, pies, cookies, brownies, kombuchas, etc. If you have an herb garden, dry some out, blend, and pack as gifts for spice racks or teas. You can buy fillable tea bags or simple glass jars from your local kitchen supply store (if you're at a loss, there's always Cost Plus, the Container Store, Sur La Table, Crate and Barrel, etc). Wrap the jars with rattan ribbon or string and tuck in some flowers.

10. Essential oils and non-toxic body care
Introduce your friends to the wonderful world of non-toxic and cruelty-free body care products—share your favorite body oils, cremes, botanical perfumes, moisturizers, etc. A tiny glass bottle of treasured oil provides a loved one some aromatherapy for everyday well-being or for stress, migraines, and pick-me-up dabs of energy when needed. Encourage the recipient to keep a vile in a purse, on a desk, or bedside for spontaneous use. Heavenly! Check out some of the best: •Persephenie: Hand-made botanical oils, body care, and perfumes. Sample bags are very affordable. Rose Paka creme is to die for. •Living Libations: Everything is amazing. Best Skin Ever Seabuckthorn is my favorite for dewy moisturizing and/or makeup removal.

11. Mushrooms in a Box Kit, $19.95 Founded by two college kids who bucked corporate America in favor of mycology, Back to the Roots is a growing company that recycles coffee grinds as a base for DIY mushroom-growing kits. These guys will send you a self-contained box that will grow up to 1.5 lbs of gourmet oyster mushrooms! All you have to do is mist! SO great for kids—it's hard to resist tasting something you've grown yourself!

12. Organic heirloom superfood seeds, $5 and up With their mission to "replant paradise on Earth," how can you not love Blackbird Naturals? Gift someone an incredible variety of superfood and immunity food seeds to plant in their gardens—they'll reap the rewards all year long.

13. DIY Kombucha kit, $50 There's no wrong in enabling a Kombucha addict. This everything-you-need kombucha tea kit will pay for itself in no time—especially if you live so close to your friend that you can make them share their batches.

14. Good news, $20 (buy 1 subscription, get 1 free!) Tired of bad news? Subscribe to YES! Magazine and get international good news you won't hear in the media. Non-profit, independent, and subscriber-supported, YES! Mag delivers powerful ideas and practical actions to your door (on 100% post-consumer waste, chlorine-free paper, no less)! Imagine that? The world is looking better already.

15. A Scent of Scandal candles, $15 Get your friends to think of the bees by gifting them an alternative to beeswax candles. These beautifully scented candles are made of soy wax, how cool?

*To preempt the "See?-Even-you-think-being-green-sucks" comments, I wish to say that at this moment I am enjoying the sight of a hilarious squirrel outside my window while sipping a cold-pressed organic green juice and having the best time ever.