E’s selection of great gift ideas from stylish watches and organic tequila to gift baskets, craft kits and the best-rated smartphones.
FOR BABIES AND KIDS:
Your Inner Eco Artist
Discovery Boxes from Green Kid Crafts are imaginative and eco-friendly. With recycled paper and ribbon, natural materials (like wool yarn, colored sand, clay and wood) the crafts keep waste to a minimum while promoting artistic tendencies in making (in the Feathered Friends Box) a birdhouse, bird puppets and a scope; or a dragonfly family, bug wings and a bumblebee wand (in the I Love Bugs Box). Dinosaur and Outer Space Boxes are also available. greenkidcrafts.com
I’m a Little Earthworm…
BeginAgain makes quality, no-frills toys that are meant to hold up under use and encourage imaginative play. They build their toys from a host of plant-based materials in efforts to rid toys of oil-based plastics (they don’t believe in battery-powered toys either). Their charming Earthworms grasping toy ($10.99)—able to bend and twist—is made from beads of plantation grown rubberwood painted with child-safe paint in yellow, blue, red or green, suitable for ages six months and up. beginagaintoys.com
Phone It In
If your teen doesn’t already have a smartphone, it’s a good bet that it’s high on his/her holiday wish list. Why not get one that’s low in toxic materials? The site GoodGuide rates products based on environmental impacts and company social practices, and gave its highest rating (out of 707 phones) to the HP Veer 4G WebOS phone (around $100). The WebOS is super compact—more square than rectangle and just over three inches long when closed—and has a sliding QWERTY keyboard that’s best for smaller fingers. The site HealthyStuff.org meanwhile, run by the Ecology Center, tested 36 mobile phones for 35 chemicals and elements and found the least toxic phone was the Motorola Citrus (around $100)—which is small, simple and uses a digital QWERY keyboard. It also features 25% post-consumer recycled plastic, is free of PVC and brominated flame retardants and comes packed in an eco-friendly box.
The Time is Now
Watches are great go-to guy gifts, and from style to sustainability there is nothing quite like Sprout which uses materials like corn resin, organic cotton, fish leather (a byproduct of the fishing industry), bamboo and cork to create some one-of-a-kind watches. We like the silver oversized numbers atop a cork dial on one of their Tyvek-strap watches ($55) which features a corn resin (corn-based plastic) case and looks sturdy enough for everyday wear. Like all Sprout’s watches it features a mercury-free battery and a percentage of proceeds benefits environmental causes. sproutwatches.com
In the Spirit
Drinkers will delight in a stunning bottle of Plata Tequila from Clase Azul (around $75)—a clear tequila made from 100% organic blue weber agave that’s allowed to mature nine years before being slow-cooked in traditional ovens and then fermented, double-distilled and thrice filtered. With sweet overtones and a bit of peppery bite, the tequila is both smooth and memorable—as is the clear glass decanter in Clase Azul’s signature shape, complete with an agave medallion. claseazul.com
There’s a lot to love about olives: The olive tree is the symbol of peace; its leafy branches once crowned victors; and the olive itself has been revered as a fruit for thousands of years for its health properties. Kiss My Face pays homage to the mighty olive in its All Olive Collection ($29)—a basket of paraben-free, phthalate-free skincare items designed for skin nourishment that includes an Olive and Aloe Moisturizer; a tin of Olive My Body body balm; a Pure Olive Oil Soap Bar; Olive and Aloe Moisture Soap and Green Tea & Bamboo Moisture Shave. kissmyface.com
There are plenty of lip tints, balms, sticks, glosses, shimmers and shines competing for your gift-buying attention. But the Love Your Lips Color Quench Lip Tint Trio ($18) from Pacifica provides a different spin. The colors are rich, the smells pick up on the fruity but understated scents of their candles and lotions, and the tints are good for your lips, with coconut oil, vitamin E, and rosemary leaf extracts. The colors—Guavaberry and Blood Orange—offer different takes on red, while the Coconut Nectar provides a pale glimmer that gives lips a touch of frost. pacificaperfume.com
Spa in a Crate
An Organic Gift Crate ($59.95) from Vermont Soap Organics is like an organic spa in a (real wood) crate. If you choose the Lemongrass scent theme (you can also choose Country Lavendar or Unscented) you’ll find nestled within the recycled shredded paper a moisturizing Shower Gel in Sweet Orange that smells like a Creamsicle; Lemongrass Zen Foaming Hand Soap and a Lemongrass bar of soap—a mere whiff of which will help the tensions subside; a tin of Certified Organic Pure African Shea Nut Butter perfect for chapped lips or dry skin; a jar of unscented bath salts; a loofa scrub; a nail brush; a wooden soap dish and a bottle of their Aloe Castille Liquid Soap which can be used for cleaning body, hair, laundry or woodwork. All their products are made with a combination of organic ingredients and essential oils and extracts. vermontsoap.com