Friday, December 15, 2006

Dreaming of a Green Christmas?

by Karen

Stuff your stockings with these 10 under $10 good-for-the-earth must-haves:

1) Burt’s Bee’s Lip Shimmers - $5.49

Every mama on your list deserves at least one of these little tubes of happiness. With sparkle enough for the office or the playgroup, and a delicious peppermint undertone, Lip Shimmers delight in any shade (though, if you are olive-y, or over 12, like me, I recommend staying away from the kinda tarty – I mean frosty – opal shade.
Available at drugstores and natural food stores all over the t-dot.

2) Easy-Grow Organic Window Garden - $9.99
I pretty much like any task that begins with ‘easy,’ and this cute mini-garden that you grow yourself is no exception. Housed in a colourful little tin pail, your little seedling just needs a sunny nook and a bit of water before it rewards you with sweet-smelling blooms, herbs or greenery. I got mint bergamot and seriously, I'm huffing the darn thing, it smells so good.
Grassroots, various locations including 372 Danforth Ave.

3) Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? – Bill Martin/Eric Carle – $9.86
Ok, who doesn’t love Eric Carle? You might be sick of the construct that this book follows (it is the third in the What Do You See/Hear/See series), but chances are, your kid isn’t. This time around we are spying endangered species, like the panda and whooping crane, all presented in Carle’s engaging, impressionistic illustrations. and while some of the text doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue (though that macaroni penguin is darn cute), it offers a great opportunity to introduce your little one to creatures who, unless we do what we need to do, are likely soon doomed to exist only on the pages of books like this one.

4) Cocoa Camino Hot Chocolate Packets - $ .75
Hot Chocolate? Good. Fair trade, organic hot chocolate from Ten Thousand Villages? Even Better. Fair trade, organic hot chocolate from Ten Thousand Villages at $.75/package? The Best.
Buy lots - many won't make it to Christmas.
Ten Thousand Villages, various locations including 362 Danforth Ave.

5) Travel Mug - $7.50

No excuse for disposable: every coffee drinker should have a great travel mug. This stainless steel version is one of my favourites, from one of my favourite places, Mountain Equipment Co-Op. It sits snugly in most car or stroller cup-holder, has a closed handle so you can easily secure it to a strap or a handle (get a cute little purple mini-carabiner to make this all possible), and most importantly, accommodates a grande bevvy. Hey, stick a Cocoa Camino Hot Chocolate Packet in it, and you’re still under budget!
Mountain Equipment Co-Op, 400 King St. W.

6) Wooden Corker - $10
Oh the wonderful things my corker can do – it can cork a pot holder, or a sock for a shoe. It can cork a face cloth, or a doilie, y’know? It can cork a cute rug – how my corker can go!
Ok, that’s enough of that. If you know any crafty mamas (and I know you do), every one of them would love one of these in their stocking – in fact, give it to them early, and they can make their own! I love my corker because it is a no-brainer craft, and I can do it in front of the t.v. Also great for kids from about age 5 or so. Pick it up from Lettuce Knit in Kensington – I dare you to leave there without a skein of something awesome.
Lettuce Knit, 70 Nassau St.

7) Good Clean Fun Placemats - $9.99
Inspire creativity, foster healthy eating habits and help keep things neat and tidy with this gift set, including 2 colour on/wipe off placemats made of ‘plastic’ from corn, 10 disposable placemats, also for colouring and also 100% petroleum free, biodegradable and compostable, and 4 soy crayons to create masterpieces with. So cool!
Kol Kid, 670 Queen St. W.

8) Beer Cozie - $8.00
Seriously, you need one of these. My talented, lovely friend Knitrovert will make one just for you. How is this a green product, you ask? Well, it is handmade, so you are not supporting any big bad corporation, there is no packaging involved, and it keeps your beer nice and cold and cozy, so you know, you save on cooling costs. I have bought one of these for pretty much everyone I know. Just waiting for someone to get me one, so my beer can be nice and cozy too.
etsy, or talk to me and I’ll hook you up.

9) Audubon Singing Plush Birds - $9.99
I’m not a huge fan of stuffed animals, but these are cool. Sweet plush beanbag birds sing their authentic song when gently (or, in Bee’s case, not so gently) squeezed. We have the white-breasted nuthatch (obviously), but the new northern owls are pretty darn cute, so Bee might find one of those hoot hooting to her Christmas morning.
Treasure Island Toys, 581 Danforth Ave.

10) Give back.
Make a donation in your favourite person’s name to a charity of your choice.. $10 might not seem like a lot, but every penny helps. Here are a few green suggestions:
The Toronto Humane Society
Sierra Club of Canada – Ontario Chapter
Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation


Karen is a T.O. copywriter, blogger, crafter, wife and mother to the lovely and clever Bumblebee, 18 months. While not busy with any of the above, she enjoys coffee with friends and friends with coffee.


Her Bad Mother said...

Oooh the birds are awesome. I bought one when I was in NYC this fall, and WB lurves it.

Mouse said...

Scooter has a cardinal and a mallard duck. He enjoys them quite a lot.

And I second the Cocoa Camino hot chocolate--yummy and all kinds of good for the world and the environment.

crazymumma said...

I want that beer cosy and the travel mug. i don't drink much beer, but the cozy around my mug.....
And a corker? what is that?

Great suggestions!

sunshine scribe said...

I tried FIVE times to post a comment yesterday here and I couldn't. Usually I am not so persistent but I was so wanting to compliment you on this column. I have been really looking forward to your first installment and I wasn't disappointed. Love all these green christmas suggestions!!!

Lisa b said...

I got the hot chocolate and it comes in cannisters too!!!!!!!!

oh yesterday I tried to post that I was going to get it and thanks for the other tips

Mamalooper said...

Great ideas! Original, green and sooo not chain store commercial. Useful too.

something blue said...

Love Burt's Bee's Lip Shimmers. I'm wearing Watermelon!

We've got Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? and Strawberry approves!

That hot chocolate sounds dreamy...

knitrovert said...

awe shucks! thanks for the shout out. beer cozies for everyone!