The first thing we did to green our Christmas stockings was to downsize. Going from stockings that were almost 2 feet long from top to toe (!) to ones that were closer to 14" meant buying less to go in them.
I have to admit that I spend more now than I did when I was filling a stocking twice the size, but with less environmental impact and a clearer conscience. With large stockings -- and prior to starting our green journey -- I found myself raiding the dollar store trying to find enough cheap crap to stuff a stocking to its gills. Cheap crap with a high environmental impact that often got tossed in a junk drawer, broke, was given to Goodwill or sent to the landfill.
These days I don't have a specific formula or criteria for what goes in our stockings but I'm drawn to things that:
- Are homemade by me
- Are handmade by someone else
- Are useful
- Will last for a long time
- Help support those in need, like mothers in a third world country
- Support a small business
- Are made sustainably
- Aren't plastic
- Help the recipient to be more green
Flip & Tumble
My reusable shopping bags are far from matching or chic (they were all actually free or thrifted), but who says they can't be? I would never spring for a set of adorable matching bags for myself, but I think they'd make a great gift. One of the Mamapedia (it's like Groupon) deals last week was $16 worth of bags for only $8 (I can't promise that's still available) from Flip & Tumble, plus 5% of your purchase goes to a school of your choice.
Essential Journeys is a small business close to my own hometown in Asheville, NC. Driven by creativity and her love of the outdoors, owner Kimberly Masters developed a line of Lube for the Lips, Soap by the Slice and Lotion for the Body all made from natural ingredients.
Making the switch from shower gel in a plastic bottle to bar soap was one of the first steps we took in our green journey. To encourage that change in others, I love to give beautiful bars of soap as gifts. I'm doing a giveaway this week on my blog for a package of goods from Essential Journeys, so be sure to stop by.
What could be more divine than chocolate in your Christmas stocking? Helping farmers in Ghana!
"Divine Chocolate is made with only the finest quality, fairly traded cocoa beans from Kuapa Kokoo, a cooperative of smallholder farmers in Ghana. The cocoa is grown in the shade of the tropical rain forest, and slowly fermented and dried in the sun by farmers who take great pride in the chocolate company they co-own. Choosing delicious Divine gives you guaranteed pleasure -- and the farmers a guaranteed fair deal and chance to invest in a better future."For the chocolate lovers on my list, I'm betting that this will be a big hit!
Jewelry doesn't have to be expensive to mean a lot. I purchased the necklace above at our local Alternative Gifts Fair a few weeks ago from a group of sisters who do aid work in Ethiopia. One of the sisters lives there with her husband and children and brings jewelry made by Ethiopian women back to the US for her sisters to sell. I guarantee that a higher percentage of the profit from this $15 necklace feeds a hungry family than that of a $150 necklace purchased at a mall jewelry store.
While these sisters are not selling online at this point, you can find many similar pieces at Global Girlfriend. From $3.50 bracelets beaded by women in Kenya to $24 sterling silver earrings handmade in Nepal at a vocational training institute that provides impoverished women with craft skills, there is something for every style and price range.
Global Girlfriend also sells many other things including clothing, bags, bath and body products and their less tangible Gifts that Give More.
With the exception of my husband, we are all big tea drinkers in our family. Even the kids like a cup of hot tea in the morning! Celestial Seasonings is one of my favorite tea companies because they're local to me here in Colorado and because they do great things to support the community and the environment. A box of Celestial Seasonings tea makes a perfect inexpensive stocking stuffer.
And, thanks to Celestial, I'll be GIVING AWAY boxes of tea to THREE lucky Booth readers. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a stocking stuffer idea of your own. Winners will be chosen at random and announced next Monday. Be sure to leave us a way to get in touch with you!
In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few things I'd love to see in my stocking this year... :)
Spa Day in a Box by opheliasapothecary ~ $38.00
I'm in love with these stacking rings ~ $15 each ~ from cinnamonsticks. Mr. Greenhab and I have cheap "traveler" rings we bought on our honeymoon in Thailand because we didn't want to bring our real wedding rings. I'd love some of these to replace our travelers, and well, I'd probably wear them all the time. I'd love one of these with our names and one with each child's name too.
I am truly coveting this necklace ~ $29.50 ~ from Bella Mei Designs. The color combinations she uses are just perfect. Someone point this one out to my husband, quick!
Come back next Monday when I'll be showing you some of the handmade gifts I've whipped up so far this season.