Nov. 17, 2020
It’s been such an unusual year that everyone seems especially eager for the holidays. We can’t wait for get-togethers, even if they’re virtual, and holiday gift-giving, even if it’s delivered by a van rather than our own hands. As such, it’s a wonderful time to express your support of a healthy planet, especially with the gifts that you choose for your loved ones. Here are just a few eco-friendly ideas.
CUP O’ MUD
Mud/WTR has 1/7th of the caffeine in regular coffee.
Coffee alternatives seem to be all the rage this year - and it’s no wonder. Folks, young and old, love their morning ritual but don’t always love the accompanying jitters.
California-based Mud/WTR offers several drink blends made from mushrooms and a variety of other ingredients such as chai and black tea. Mud blends ayurvedic herbs, adaptogens and cacao to help you focus and have more energy plus immune support. Just 1/7th the caffeine of coffee so it won’t keep you up at night.
The company says, “Drink mud. A new ritual.” Try their Starter Kit for $40. It makes a unique gift and includes 30 servings of Mud, a rechargeable frother and creamer samples. Mudwtr.com.
Teasom’s hot tea bags are bleach free and compostable. Photo by Storyblocks.
If your giftee loves tea, check out Teasom, a tealightful shop in Dallas’ trendy Uptown West Village that we featured earlier in the year. Sisters Minji and Jahee Son run this local tea haven that will broaden your view on what is possible for such a classic, worldly drink.
Healthy, earth-kind, sugar-free, carb-free and truly tasty, you can choose from an assortment of specialty tea leaves and compostable tea bags to-go that are perfect for enjoying at home or giving as gifts.
Minji notes, “All of our teas can be made hot or cold. There's something for everyone here.”
A few warm-weather favorites are Southern Breakfast and Chocolate Boogie, which are both made with Black Tea, or the Calming Potion herbal tea or Green Tea Trio. Delicious!
Visit Teasom at 3699 McKinney Ave #510 in Dallas to see some of their holiday selections or shop online at TeasomTea.com.
An ideal companion to your morning repast is some good reading material. It’s also one of the best gifts that you can get for someone. How about signing them up for their favorite magazine or newspaper?
Consider buying an online magazine or newspaper subscription for your loved one.
Most yearly subscriptions are quite inexpensive and nearly all mags have digital options these days that can save literally tons of paper and provide your recipient with on-the-go entertainment. Digital subscriptions are also ideal during the pandemic to reduce contact with possible tainted magazines while waiting at the doctor’s or dentist’s office.
If you’re looking for a title that any greenie would enjoy, consider Audubon, Sierra and Texas Parks and Wildlife or perhaps the more radical Earth First! Journal. National Geographic is always fun and educational as is their junior version, National Geographic Kids. A few of my favs are Old House Journal and Reader’s Digest, both of which lean heavily green. Texas Parks and Wildlife
When you subscribe to any publication, even free ones, you’re also helping journalists and the magazines themselves stay in business and continuing to report on important issues.
Have a jazz fan in your fam? Dallas-based Olphactory Candles was founded by local detective Brant Anderson, who combines his passion for jazz with his love for candles. Each scent in this sophisticated collection was inspired by a jazz legend.
Olphactory Candles are vegan and made from coconut wax.
Scratched Vinyl is a nod to Theloneous Monk with notes of Vetiver, Bergamot, Dark Musk, Geranium, Mango, and Juicy Papaya. Eponymous Cole's Trane "PHunkPot" Mini evokes the essence of Lime, Coconut, Vanilla, Berries, Verbena, and White Grapes.
All Olphactory Candles are made from coconut wax and are non-toxic and vegan, packed in eco-friendly and reusable tins. Add one of their coolest ever T-shirts listing jazz greats and you’ll have a gift combo that sways to a beat all its own.
Candles range from $17 to $32. Tees are $25 each in white or black. Fitting for a black-owned business that seeks to unite us all with music and sweet scents. OlphactoryCandles.com.
Gumbies are made from recycled water bottles and repurposed rubber tires.
If you love the idea of clog-style wool house shoes but you are trying to avoid wool for ethical reasons, you’ll want to gift a few pairs of Outback Slippers to your friends and family, plus get a pair for yourself.
Made by Gumbies, the Australian company that is known the world over for their ethical practices, the Outbacks are made from recycled water bottles and repurposed rubber tires.
Since launching the Outbacks in 2017, Gumbies has recycled more than half a million plastic water bottles! Built to last for many years of use, Outbacks can be worn indoors or out and are completely vegan, yet have the look and feel of soft, warm wool.
$40 per pair in men’s and women’s sizes plus free shipping when you order over $50. Gumbies.com.
OK, if my kids are reading this, here’s my gift of choice - a countertop odorless worm home and biomorphic composter that converts all of your kitchen waste into useful fertilizer/soil. It also looks like a piece of modern art!
The Living Composter converts kitchen scraps into composted soil.
The user simply adds veggie tops and peels, tea bags, grass clippings, paper scraps and other organic material into the biovessel, leave it for a few weeks while the worms do their munchy work - and then harvest rich, composted soil.
Red wiggler worms are not included but can be bought online or at most garden centers. Visit Uncommon Goods.com to learn more about this unique Living Composter. $199. UncommonGoods.com.
PRETTY IN PINK
If countertop composting isn’t your thang, how about this big boy, uh girl, for your patio or yard.
The Envirocomposter Mini Composter is 21.5-inches high and marketed as “the cutest composter in the world.”
No more hiding an ugly compost heap, this jewel will look gorgeous in any setting. The bright pink color literally screams green and is certain to be a one-of-a-kind gift that won’t soon be forgotten. Made by Envirocomposter, one of the longtime brands in the compost industry, they offer a large and small version in both pink and black (if you want to be boring).
To use, simply add 75 percent green material such as kitchen scraps and grass clippings to about 25 percent brown material such as leaves, paper scraps and even toilet paper rolls (see video here) and you’ll have awesome dirt in about two months.
Both Envirocycle Composters sit on their own base that makes it easy to roll the unit every few days, thereby mixing the contents. The base can also collect compost tea for use as an added fertilizer.
$259.99 for the standard and $189.99 for the mini including free shipping from Envirocycle.com.
Sow True Seed is a North Carolina-based company dedicated to preserving and promoting heirloom plant varieties.
Each seed combo comes in a reusable tin.
Founder Carol Koury is a lifelong gardener and food activist. Her seed collections make wonderful gifts for both seasoned gardeners or newbies.
Choose from several combos including Medicinal Herb Garden, with Basil, Calendula, Echinacea, Hyssop and St. Johns Wort, or the fun Pizza Garden with Roma Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Walla-Walla Onions, plus Oregano and Basil. There’s even a special Children’s Garden that features silly-shaped plants that will delight any youngster.
Each combo is packed in an adorable and reusable tin with prices that range from under $10 to just over $20. SowTrueSeed.com.
If you’d rather give live plants this season, Painted Flower Farm is a small family-owned nursery in Denton that specializes in native and adapted Texas species. It’s a plant lover’s paradise, filled with both unusual and familiar varieties such as milkweed, bee balm and elderberry.
Painted Flower Farm specializes in native and adapted plants.
Staffer Taylor Phillips invites, “We’re open and welcome everyone to come by. Feel free to walk around the nursery and greenhouses. You’ll love it!”
Taylor says that their succulent room, filled with cactus and aloe vera, is a customer favorite, plus their plethora of houseplants also make great gifts. In addition, the company offers a wide variety of herbs that can be given now as indoor plants and then transplanted outdoors come spring.
Gift certificates are available if you’re not sure what to buy. Be sure to call before heading to the farm as their hours may vary now due to Covid. PaintedFlowerFarm.com
WRAP IT UP
Whatever gifts you choose, be sure to wrap them in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. Wrapping scarves, reusable bags and boxes, and even yesterday’s newspapers or magazines are just a few ways.
Wrappily wrapping paper is printed on repurposed newspaper presses.
Sara Smith, founder of Wrappily, combined her love for the printing business and her disdain for waste by creating eco-friendly wrapping paper that is sustainably-produced and recyclable. According to the company’s website, over the holidays, about 227,000 miles worth of wrapping paper gets thrown away, enough to circle the world 9 times! Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled because it's dyed, laminated, or contains non-paper additives. What a waste!
The Hawaii-based Wrappily takes their eco-friendly mission to heart, using under-utilized newspaper presses and vegetable-based inks to create gorgeous designs that are both city-recyclable and compostable. Even their ribbons are green!
Order online at Wrappily.com. Be sure to check out their clearance page too for some amazing deals :)
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