Sunday, December 9, 2012

Green Gift Guide: Environmentally Friendly Gifts for Any Occasion

Holiday Gift Guide
I know that shopping for holiday gifts can be hard and sometimes frustrating, so I have made a list of some of my favorite environmentally friendly gifts to give & receive. There are tons of environmentally friendly products out there, but I don't really feel comfortable recommending products that I don't own or haven't used, therefor all of the products I list I either own or have used on multiple occasions (aka I know someone who owns them and am probably being an annoying moocher). 
This is a terrarium on the larger size, but you can get
much smaller (or larger) ones if you want.
- Succulent Terrarium: I love The Juicy Leaf (right around the corner from me in SoCal) and Skinnyskinny! Okay, somehow I managed to find two very interestingly named businesses......but regardless, they create gorgeous terrariums! These are lovely decorative plants ranging from $35 to $200, that will last a lifetime and are much more environmentally friendly than purchasing a bouquet of roses or orchids that have been sprayed with pesticides and potentially shipped in from the other side of the planet. So you decide, beautiful succulent terrarium that lasts a lifetime......or scary, drugged up flowers from someone's backyard in china.
- Vegan & Green candles for $30; I like either SkinnySkinny or Vance Family Soy Candles: I know that it might be harder to find vegan and earth friendly candles, but it is important not only for the planet but for your own health. Most regular candles produce a toxic soot that you can't see, as well as harmful aromatic compounds such as benzene and toluene that linger in your home and get inhaled by all who are near. Even high end brands have been found to have traces of lead in their wicks, which as we all know is highly toxic and should be avoided at all costs. On top of this, it is just more sustainable to use a vegetable or soy based candle because they are sustainable, and come from renewable sources, whereas standard candles come from a petroleum byproduct (aka where gasoline comes from) and this is obviously not sustainable.
Gorgeous Agate Coasters & Plates from Vivaterra
- Agate Plates & Coasters from VivaTerra: This is pretty straightforward; these coasters ($59 for set of 4) and plates ($65) are simple agate rocks that have been cut and polished, which is much more environmentally friendly than the materials and production that go into producing most standard coasters and plates. Not to mention these agate products are breathtakingly gorgeous!
- Reusable Water bottles, thermoses, or food containers from Klean Kanteen: I know that their products are on the pricier side, but they are one of the few companies making reusable food and drink containers that actually uses eco-friendly materials and production methods. My logic is if you are trying to do the earth a service be using reusable food and drink containers, you might as well buy them from a company that values environmentally sustainability in their practices as well; otherwise you are giving money to a company that doesn't give a you know what about the cause that is motivating you to buy their product.......a little hypocritical, no?
- Mini Meyer Lemon tree from Vivaterra: This is a great gift if you know that this person is into cooking or uses a lot of lemons. It is obviously an eco-friendly gift since it is a live plant that will continue to grow and produce fruit, and it is a dwarf version which means it can be kept indoors as a decorative plant rather than having to eventually be planted (although you could do this if you wanted to). Obvious advice: if the person doesn't like lemons or already has a lemon tree, this is probably not the gift for them......but you probably already figured that one out.
Soooo good....
- Root of the Earth Bowls from Vivaterra: These bowls come in many sizes and range in price from $39 to $140. They are made from "discarded root balls" of old trees, whatever that means.......but who cares, they are gorgeous and look even better when filled with fruits and veggies! Yay!
- A juicer, I recommend the Breville Juicer: Yes, this is a relatively intense gift; but if you are looking for a big gift for someone in your life that is all about health and fitness (and doesn't already have a juicer) the $240 is well worth it. Plus you can probably pier pressure your loved one who you give this to into making you any juice your heart desires..... or at least that's what I would do ;)
- Vitamix Blender: Any blender from the Vitamix Family of Blenders is an awesome gift, and it's not just for fitness fanatics. Chefs love these as much if not more than avid smoothie drinkers. You can use the blender to make hot and cold soups, nut butters, doughs, hot and cold sauces, and yes, smoothies. These blenders are far more powerful than your everyday blenders, and will blend up things that would cause any other blender to let out a loud moaning/screaming noise and die. These blenders run from $380 all way through the $700s, but they are well worth it!
- And now for an obsession that is especially close to my obsession prone-heart....Alkemie Jewelry: Alkemie Jewelry is an environmentally and sustainably focussed jewelry company that makes amazing jewelry from 100% reclaimed metals right here is Los Angeles. Their designs are gorgeous, intricate, unique, and so detailed that it might just blow your mind. Their jewelry is not the cheapest, but it is well worth it for the quality and artistry of their pieces. I have a ring and a bracelet from them, and they look exactly the same as they did when I bought them over a year ago, so they don't do that wierd thing where they turn black or rust. I'm sure there is a more scientific term for that gross thing that happends to bad jewelry, but let's be real, you all know what I'm talking about.
- Framed Picture of you & them in an Environmentally Friendly Picture Frame: This is a great way to add a personal touch to a gift for someone that is hard to shop for. It is also a good budget friendly option since all you have to do is print out one photo and find an environmentally friendly picture from (or make your own)
- Any of the Cookbooks from the Happy Herbivore Family of books: There is The Happy Herbivore Cookbook, The Everyday Happy Herbivore, and Happy Herbivore Abroad. I absolutely love these cookbooks and have made almost every recipe in the first two, and am working my way through the third. The recipes are ridiculously easy, but they definitely don't taste like it; somehow Lindsay manages to create layers of flavor in her dishes without tacking hours on to the prep time of the recipes. Just a reminder, I will be doing a giveaway of Happy Herbivore Abroad later in December, so stay tuned for that!
- A Healthy Vegan Cookbook with lots of comforting recipes would be Appetite for Reduction: Another great vegan cookbook that I just recently finished cooking my way through. This book has a very diverse mixture of recipes, all of which are healthy! The recipes range from light & delicate to hearty & filling and that is why I love this book.
- A Great Non-fiction book, I would recommend Born to Run: This is a New York Times bestseller and has been around for a few years. If you are even remotely into running, mysterious athletic tribes of people that have been cut off from civilization for hundreds of years, nutrition, or just really intense story-telling, then this is the book for you.
It is so much more than a running book, in fact I would describe this book first as a story that follows what seems like a wild goose chase for a lost tribe of people in the copper canyons of mexico, and then as a revealing look into human nature and the nature of love, and lastly as a story that has running woven all throughout.
- An autobiography on anyone who the gift receiver is interested in, I would recommend Eat & Run: This book is an autobiography of Scott Jurek (world famous ultra runner) that is compelling and inspiring. The book has a lot about running throughout, since Jurek is after all an ultra runner, but it is not only about running. One thing I loved is that Jurek ends each chapter with one of his favorite recipes.

I hope you all have fun shopping for gifts for the Holidays! Just remember that as long as your heart is in it, it doesn't matter if a gift cost $5 or $500, because your loved ones will appreciate your thoughtfulness! ........I know I would ;)

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